Date Posted: 06-07-2020

Artist Rune Flynn talks art and inspiration!

From performing music to chasing tornadoes, this fascinating illustrator and storyteller from Florida took a more scenic route into creating art. Cubicle 7 is thrilled to have Rune Flynn as one of our talented freelance artists. His many talents add an extra layer to his extraordinary artwork. Rune’s artwork presents a striking visual narrative which is the perfect complement to the engaging text in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound.

TTRPGs are all about storytelling, ultimately, so I feel personally that the images we make for these games should have just as much of a capacity to inform those stories as the lore itself.’

Howdy, I’m Rune. I’m an illustrator from Florida. I’ve been freelancing with Cubicle 7 since January 2019. I primarily work on portraits, props and character art. I’ve worked on multiple lines for Cubicle 7, the most recent of which is Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound

Working with the art team at Cubicle 7 has been incredible. They’re some of the most skilled, passionate creatives I’ve ever met. Everyone here clearly loves what they do, and there is so much care and attention to detail in their work. Not only are they devoted to their craft, they’re devoted to helping each other, and that’s significant in a career field that can be very  competitive. I’m so thankful I work with them. I learn something new every day.

I’d love to tell you that I’ve always wanted to be an artist and that this was all part of some careful plan, but that’s not the case. I stumbled through my twenties with no idea what I wanted to do with my life after an injury pulled me out of a music performance scholarship for clarinet and oboe. Though I enrolled in art courses at a local college afterwards, I spent most of the time I should have been in class either chasing tornadoes or sneaking the figure drawing skeleton up onto the roof of the arts building in various seasonal costumes. I’ve also worked in emergency telecommunications and dispatch. 

So, I didn’t really take art seriously until about 2016. I’d actually been about to quit drawing when I made a thread on the /r/WoW subreddit offering to draw people’s character portraits. That threw me into making fanart of WoW characters instead. Then I got involved with the Critical Role fan-artist community and started playing 5E. Sometime in 2018, I saw a call from Cubicle 7 on Twitter looking for artists. I applied, thinking, Well, it’s a long shot, but wouldn’t it be cool to work with Cubicle 7? 

So, here I am, and truthfully, I’m actually kind of new to all of this.

I’ve always loved fantasy and sci-fi, though. I’m a third generation Trekkie and a huge LOTR nerd. I’ve been drawing my own characters and making up my own worlds since I was a kid. 

Since I grew up as a homeschooler in the Deep South, Dungeons and Dragons was right out. My first formative collaborative storytelling experiences weren’t TTRPGs, they were MUDs. MUDS are multiplayer text-based roleplaying games and accessed via Telnet. As a dyslexic autistic kid, my social options were pretty limited. I ended up logging thousands of hours on a MUD called Melmoth, learning to tell better stories with the help of the friends I made there. My first TTRPG wasn’t even a proper TTRPG, it was Vampire the Masquerade! My group played in secret in the back of a roller rink during Tuesday Christian Skate Night. Vampire murder conspiracies and Christian pop music were a pretty surreal combination. Around 2004, I found a group of kids running 3.5 and Pathfinder. I’m still quite fond of the sketchbooks from that era. They’re awful, but heartfelt.

To be honest, I don’t really think of myself as an artist. I think of myself as a storyteller and something that’s probably closer to an engineer than an artist. I like to solve problems, and my creative process tends to be pretty logical. I’m not someone who relies a lot on inspiration or emotion. When I go to create a character or prop, my first questions are always along the lines of: ‘Who is this? Where have they been? What do they do? How do they work?’ It’s probably an odd mindset for someone who makes art for fantasy worlds, but I feel like the more believable a character or an object is the more immersive the world becomes.

TTRPGs are all about storytelling, ultimately, so I feel personally that the images we make for these games should have just as much of a capacity to inform those stories as the lore itself.

The Trade Pioneer in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound (shown above) is a good example of my design philosophy. There are so many little objects and details on him, and each one of them has its own little lore tab in my head. How he got them, why he keeps them, and, of course, his Mustori has a name (Ink) and his own origin story. A notable example being that the Trade Pioneer has not one, but four methods of telling time and/or identifying his direction on his person. The vials of Aqua Gyranis are posted on his shoulder for easy reach. Not just because of their value as currency, but because of their capacity to heal others. 

I have synesthesia, so music informs a lot of my colour choices. I often trawl through music when I’m working on a new concept, or need help deciding what colours to run with. The Trade Pioneer (and a few others) even have their own unofficial playlists.

Outside of my work here, I spend most of my time playing Destiny 2, needle felting and pretending to be an elf in various TTRPG stream games on the weekends.   

I’m really excited to see what we get to create next, thanks for reading!

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