Sunday, July 12, 2015



Joe Slucher is an illustrator working in the publishing and game industry. He came to Cincinnati from Kentucky to attend Art Academy of Cincinnati and has remained her ever since.  He’s worked as a concept artist, sequential artist, illustrator, and art director at various times. He has created artwork for popular games such Hex TCG, Outcast Odyssey, The Strange and Numenara. He lives with his amazing wife and son who put all other wives and children to shame.  His dog is pretty awesome too.

Location: Covington, KY
On the Drawing Table: I’m currently working on a YA book cover that I’m pretty excited about as well as a couple gaming illustrations for Monte Cook Games. Between all of that I’m working on a piece for my Patreon.
Coming out soon: Monte Cook Games will soon be releasing their Cypher System rulebook which I have some work in. Alderac Entertainment Group will be releasing a card or two I made for Legend of the Five Rings.

How did you get your start as a professional artist? 
I started off by taking on some commissions posted on a forum.

Describe your work. 
 I primarily work for roleplaying games and video games using digital tools. I would say my style targets young adults so it doesn’t stray into photorealism much. People most often comment on the light in my artwork so I suppose a defining feature of my artwork revolves around capturing light effects more so than designing characters. 


Tell about your workspace. 
My studio is probably larger than it has any right to be. Luckily I have the best wife ever who allows me to hog the entire downstairs room in our house. Somehow my work stuff still fills the room. Any glare on my computer screen will give me headaches so I have curtains and sheets blocking out the windows. My digital work station consists of a cintiq, printer, scanner, training DVDs, and art books. On the traditional art side of the room I have a monstrously huge drafting table given to me by Clem Robins. Under it and scattered around the room are lots of reference material such as swords, tunics, skulls, robes, boots, toys, etc. I also have a cooler there which keeps several pounds of clay moist. My lights, tripod, lightbox, prints, and shipping materials are on this side of the room as well.


What are your favorite materials digital and traditional?
The only traditional materials I use anymore are mechanical pencils and Laguna WED clay. I mostly use Photoshop with Lazy Nezumi to create my artwork but I have started experimenting with Paintstorm. On some occasions I will use Zbrush to create reference.

What’s your typical workday/work session like?
My work day starts in earnest at about 8:30 after I have dropped my son off at daycare. I start off by taking care of e-mails that I wasn’t able to get through before my son woke up. If I’m excited about what I’m working on then I’ll only take a 30 minute lunch. If I’m finding the work draining then I’ll take an hour lunch. I’ll often work another hour from 10:30-11:30 pm.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?
If I enjoy the content or am particularly happy about how a piece is progressing then I don’t need motivation. Sometimes there’s work that I have to drag beaten and bloody across the finish line though. In those cases, I find having Netflix, podcasts or audiobooks play on the laptop next to me helps. It gives me a reason to stay in my seat despite wanting to do things other than my work.

What is your dream job?
My dream job is still freelancing but I wish I was working alongside other artists. I think artists can improve so much faster when they’re working side-by-side with others.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
My sketchbook is for life drawing sessions and thumbnails. I never sit down to draw without a purpose so there’s never any doodling in them.

What do you listen to while you work?
I constantly have something playing in the background. I listen to an insane mix of music on Pandora that spans music I like and do not like. Unfamiliar music seems to keep me the sharpest while I work.  As far as podcasts there’s Hardcore History, Ninja Mountain Podcast and a movie review site called Double Toasted. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks through the local library app and I like to keep that as a mix of topics. The most recent audiobooks were Ender’s Game, Bossypants, Food, and Rogues.

What are you reading/listening to on Audible?
The last thing I listened to on Audible was Everlost by Neal Shusterman.

Who are your artistic influences?
The artists I loved in early high school are probably the ones that really determined what my work is like today so I would say Ron Spencer, Michael Whelan, and Wayne Barlowe.

What do you do that is not art related that inspires you?
Playing video games, reading books, listening to music and watching movies can always work as inspiration. New knowledge can also be inspiring. Sometimes I’ll learn about some strange bit of biology and it inspires and influences my thoughts on a creature design. In college I was pretty interested in anthropology so that was really influencing my art at the time.

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
I don’t know if it counts as career advice but I once had a well-known and accomplished artist tell me that I was pretty terrible but it was nothing that working 12 hours a day couldn’t fix. He didn’t mean it as an insult and I didn’t take it as one. I respected his opinion and spent so much more time improving OUTSIDE of class than I probably would have otherwise. I’m very grateful for being told I wasn’t any good.

What is your favorite color? 

How can we best follow your art online/on social media?


  1. Always a treat to see your stuff, Joe. So happy to get the behind-the-scenes perspective!