An Interview With Claudia Schröder (PinkyPills)
This week I got to speak with the extremely talented artist Claudia Schröder AKA PinkyPills. Claudia is a freelance character artist working in both publishing and game development. I heard of Claudia through their work with the Five Nights at Freddy’s game series. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we did!
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this week! Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
PinkyPills: Hi, I feel very honored to do this! I am a self-employed 2D concept/character artist, and I work for game developers and publishers as a freelancer. I live in Germany.
Aaron Iara: I absolutely love your art style. You really have a knack for making your art come to life. That picture of Bojack Horseman you recently posted was phenomenal, by the way. How did you learn to make art and develop your style?
PinkyPills: I grew up with all those great 80s and 90s cartoon shows, and obviously those had an impact on my style. I just love 2D animated characters! They are more alive to me then any actor could ever be.
As a child, I always drew a lot. I imagined all kinds of characters but back then, there was no such thing as online communities. So I had no chance to compare or educate myself the way people can do it these days. I never had specific lessons in drawing either, I studied basic Graphic Design. I guess it is really this old practice-makes-perfect-thing.
Aaron Iara: Persistence is key!
I have been a diehard Five Nights At Freddy’s fan since the beginning, and I am really happy to see you working on FNAF projects. How has your experience been with the franchise so far?
PinkyPills: When I experienced my very first jumpscare while watching a let’s play video, I knew I had just discovered something special. Five Nights at Freddy’s is such an exceptional and innovative series. Scott Cawthon lifted the Horror genre on a whole new level with these games, and I love seeing the franchise branching out.
Of course, it is a dream to work with the team, even though it means you can’t join some of the community activities anymore, like the whole theorizing thing. People would always think you know something!
Aaron Iara: I feel the same way about the series. Scott Cawthon is my hero when it comes to independent art and media. The fact that he tells this very cryptic story across many mediums (games, website coding, image manipulation, etc.) is amazing. It is one of the most creative experiences I have ever taken part in.
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making art? How do you overcome them?
PinkyPills: I have often self-doubts, or I am frustrated and not satisfied with my own work. It is important to get some distance then. I have a lot of very good real-life friends, and we are doing all kind of crazy stuff together and laugh a lot. After a fun weekend, you can see your project with a pair of fresh eyes.
Aaron Iara: Self-doubt is a big issue for many of the creators I talk to. I experience it myself all of the time. This website is just over two years old, but I have been trying to get myself to make it for almost a decade. It is a shame that our minds can trick us into thinking we can’t achieve what we love.
Making art takes a lot of time and effort. What do you do to keep yourself productive?
PinkyPills: It is important to structure the working steps and make a proper schedule. I always ask my clients if and when there is a deadline before I start. Then I know how much I can go into detail and where to set the buffers. Knowing what exactly I have to finish each day helps me to stay focused on bigger projects.
Aaron Iara: I agree! I personally excel when I have a workflow or schedule in place. As a independent creators, we often have to juggle many balls to get everything done. Having a good schedule helps with that.
I know that you have been working on the Five Nights At Freddy’s graphic novel. Making comic books often involves work from many creators coming together. How do you approach collaboration and working with other artists?
PinkyPills: For the Five Nights at Freddy’s Graphic Novel itself, I was the only artist and also wrote the script. Scholastic was guiding me through the process and taught me a lot (this was my very first Graphic Novel). There was a separate colorist, but sadly I was never in touch with him.
I enjoy working in a team though. Before I became a self-employed artist, I worked in a small game studio. There were 12 people in the office, and we all worked together – artists, coders, game designers, and management. It was a bit chaotic at times, but also very productive and we made good games. Sometimes I miss those days.
Aaron Iara: I didn’t know that you wrote the script as well! That is really awesome. Since the graphic novel is based around The Silver Eyes I had just assumed all of the writing was done by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley.
It sounds like you have had a lot of diverse experiences in your work between freelance and difference companies. I believe that it is really important to try out different work structures and learn how to work collaboratively.
How do you foster creativity? Do you work at it, or wait for inspiration to strike?
PinkyPills: I have no problem with that! My head is always full of ideas, and I am writing them all down because I am scared that I would forget them. I never had something like an art block. My problem is more that I want to do too much at the same time.
Aaron Iara: I am the same way. I keep lists and lists of ideas for projects. I have a stack of notebooks in my house dating back to high school. I find that writing down all my ideas helps get it out of my head and focused on my current project. Also, forgetting a good idea is the worst, haha.
What advice can you give to those who want to start making their own art?
PinkyPills: Get started and just give it a go! You don’t need expensive tools or education to create art. Start with the basics, see what you like, what is fun to you and don’t listen to criticism. Draw for yourself, for fun, and not for anybody else.
Aaron Iara: That is excellent advice. I am also a big fan of the DIY mentality. I grew up in my local punk rock scene, and the DIY ethic is something that has always spoken to me.
Do you have any upcoming projects, releases, or events you would like to discuss?
PinkyPills: Currently, there are only things I can’t talk about, sorry! But it looks like there is definitely cool Five Nights at Freddy’s stuff coming out in the future!
Aaron Iara: That sounds great! Hopefully, you will get to go to some comic conventions with The Silver Eyes graphic novel. I always see great pictures of Five Nights At Freddy’s cosplay online. I am sure you would be a big hit at cons!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! Please tell the readers where they can find you and the work you do.
PinkyPills: Thank you too, this was a blast!
Check Out Claudia Schröder (PinkyPills)!
A huge thank you to Claudia Schröder for taking the time to speak with me this week. I am super excited for the Five Nights At Freddy’s graphic novel.
Make sure to check out PinkyPills at the following locations: