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Community Spotlight

Community Corner: Isodidacta

Issue 013
Community Corner module image showcasing crops of three pieces of art by @iso_didacta depicting the Primordial, a Flood-infected Forerunner, and a young Bornstellar
Photo of Alex
  -  2 months ago

Welcome back to the Community Corner, the series where we spotlight and interview individuals in the Halo community about all things to do with (you guessed it) Halo—and their specific niches as creators.

Last month, we were joined by Halo Grassroots member and streamer Alyek to learn about her journey with Halo over the years and reminisce about memorable moments at HCS.

This month, as we're less than two short weeks away from the release of Halo: Epitaph, the next novel by Kelly Gay that will see the return of the Didact, it seemed only fitting to speak with an artist who is well known for her stunning illustrations of the Forerunner era, and shares a similar handle with a beloved character within that mythos: Isodidacta.

Welcome, Eva! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us about all things Halo. But first of all, introduce yourself—who are you, what do you do as part of the Halo community, and where can we find you online?

Hello, I like to go by Eva on social media. I make fanart in my free time. Halo has many facets that have yet to be explored visually—those areas of ambiguity are where a majority of my inspiration thrives.

Currently my fan art can be found on Tumblr and Twitter.

Art by iso_didacta of the Primordial with the Didact next to him for scale

How did your great journey with Halo begin?

I was introduced to Halo 2 at the age of eight. After a long day of running across the desert with my friend and sibling, we came back into my friend’s trailer to cool off… where her mother was playing Halo 2 on the couch in their living room. In silent awe, we all watched her play.

Finally, she let us take turns playing Slayer. We spent the next hour taking turns shooting at each other poorly. I left their home completely enamored by Halo.

Later that year, my father bought us the console and game for Christmas. That's where everything began for me.

I have a feeling that I might know the answer to this, but are there any specific areas of the series that you really gravitate towards—campaign and story, multiplayer, the expanded universe, Forge, etc?

Haha, yes. Although I love all of these aspects, the story and campaign are where I mostly gravitate towards. Halo is incredibly rich with storytelling.

Art by iso_didacta of Bornstellar-Makes-Eternal-Lasting

What are some of the things that really draws you into the Forerunner elements of the Halo universe?

Greg Bear’s writing drew me in. I had always loved Halo, but his work brought an entirely new perspective to the Halo universe for me.

What are some of your favorite pieces of Halo media and why?

Silentium is currently my favorite book, while Halo 2 is my favorite game.

Silentium has a magnificent sense of scale. Reading through the various perspectives of those final events was horrifying. How this book concludes the trilogy is compelling.

Halo 2 was my first experience with a Halo game. The storytelling was impressive, following the Arbiter through his story was a pivotal experience for me as a child.

Art by iso_didacta of Chant-to-Green

Do you have a favorite Halo character—both in general and a favorite character to draw?

Many characters in Halo have left impressions on me for different reasons, but my favorite to draw are the characters who don't have a current presence in the games. I want to flesh them out and help bring a face to them for others. I enjoy trying to capture their personality. There is a lot of artistic freedom in the fringes of Halo lore!

Tell us a bit about your journey as an artist—how did you discover your love for it and what are some of your major inspirations?

I have been drawing my entire life, but my parents are responsible for encouraging my passion. I wouldn't have gotten this far without them.

A majority of my early inspiration came directly from concept art. How much thought and effort is put behind every design we see in the final product.

Adam Adamowicz and his work on The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles made a huge impression on me at a young age. Currently there are too many sources of inspiration I draw from to list specifically!

Do you listen to music when you go into “artist mode”? What Halo tracks are on the drawing playlist?

I listen to a lot of music, but game soundtracks work wonders for staying focused. Some of my favorite Halo tracks are:

Requiem, Nemesis, Legacy, Awakening, Warrior World, The Beauty of Cortana, Deference for Darkness, Neon Night, Impart, and A Spartan Rises.

Do you have a favorite medium to work with—and one you’re eager to explore working with more? For instance, you’ve done some amazing short animations for some of your Bornstellar pieces!

Thank you. Animation is an incredibly useful skill to have, and one I am still learning.

Currently, digital art is the dominant medium for me. A few paintings do begin as small pencil sketches, before they're painted over in Photoshop.

How do you think your art has evolved over time?

My art has evolved a lot over time. I had no experience with digital art until I was 18, when I was given my first laptop and tablet. It was after the artbook for Destiny released in 2014. I knew I wanted to pursue game design as a career and those tools where critical for that path—gaining access to this new medium it was incredibly freeing for me.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share with other artists out there who might just be getting started?

I have many, too many to fit here.

There's an abundance of free resources available online to explore. Tutorials, programs, and even mentoring from senior artists. You do not need a secondary education to pursue a creative career in the game industry.

I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Halo World Championship event back in October after having shared around some of your artwork internally and making it our mission to tell you how much we loved it! What was the experience of being in the same hall as Keith David like?

It was a pleasure to meet you as well! And thank you, I do appreciate that.

It was great to see Keith, Jen, and Steve on-stage. Their skill is phenomenal. Sunrise on Sanghelios was one of the highlights of that event for me. I'm grateful to have seen it in person.

What are some of your favorite pieces of Halo artwork?

All work done by Sparth, Paul Richards, Gabo Garza, and Daniel Chavez. Their expertise and instinct have left Halo with a library of remarkable art.

What’s are some of your favorite pieces of artwork that you’ve done (be it from Halo or something else)?

My current favorite Halo piece has to be the first-person perspective of Bronstellar’s hand. It was incredibly rushed, but I'm pleased with the result. It's simple and efficient. The early chapters of Cryptum will always elicit a bittersweet feeling for me.

Art by iso_didacta of Bornstellar's hand reaching towards the Didact's Cryptum

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I think people who aren't familiar with me could find this interesting? For the last five years I've worked in the gaming industry as a concept artist which practically dominates my life day-to-day and makes drawing in my free time inconvenient. All the fanart I've made has come from a stubborn passion!

Thank you so much again for joining us here by the calm shores of Djamonkin Augh, Eva! Before we let you fade back into the Domain, do you have any parting words to share?

Thank you for having me, I'm so happy to have the chance to be featured here. I'm excited to finally get my hands on Epitaph in the near future.

Be sure to check out Eva's artwork on Tumblr and Twitter!