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Interview with Cillian Clifford

Previous Post | Monday, 16 October 2017 | Reading time: 8 minutes | Next Post

Could you tell us something about yourself?

Hi everyone - my name is Cillian Clifford, I’m a 21 year old hobbyist artist and electronic musician, and an occasional animator, writer and game developer. I go by the username of Fatal-Exit online. I live in rural Ireland, a strange place for someone so interested in technology. My interests range from creative projects to tech related fields like engineering, robotics and science. Outside of things like these I enjoy gaming from time to time.

Do you paint professionally, as a hobby artist, or both?

Definitely as a hobby. I consider digital painting to be one of my weakest areas of art skills, so I spend a lot of time trying to improve it. Other areas of digital art I’m interested in include CAD, 3d modeling, digital sculpting, vector animation, and pixel art.

What genre(s) do you work in?

It varies! Hugely, in fact. Over the past two years on my current DeviantArt account I’ve uploaded game fan-art paintings, original fantasy and Sci-Fi pieces, landscapes, pixel art, and renders of 3d pieces. I also occasionally paint textures and UV maps for 3d artwork. Outside of still art, I also animate in vector and pixel art styles. I also occasionally make not-great indie games, but as you might guess, most never get finished.

Whose work inspires you most -- who are your role models as an artist?

A wide range of artists, often not particular people but more their combined efforts on projects. I will say that David Revoy and GDQuest in the Krita community are a big inspiration. Youtube artists such as Sycra, Jazza and Borodante are another few I can think of. Lots of my favorite art of all time has come from large game companies such as Blizzard and Hi-Rez Studios. Also game related, the recent rise of more retro and pixel based graphics in indie games is a huge interest of mine, and games like Terraria, Stardew Valley and Hyper-Light Drifter have an art style that truly inspires me.

How and when did you get to try digital painting for the first time?

My first time doing some sort of "digital painting" was when I was about 16-17. I did the graphics design work for a board game a team of us were working on for a school enterprise project, using the free graphics software and a mouse. It took ages. However the project ended up taking off and we ended up in the final stage of the competition. After that was over (we didn’t win) I decided digital art might be something to seriously invest in and bought a graphics tablet. For a couple of years I made unimaginably terrible art and in 2015 I decided to shut down my DeviantArt account and start fresh on a new account, with my new style. This was about when I found Krita, I believe.

What makes you choose digital over traditional painting?

A few things: Firstly, I could never paint in a traditional sense, I was absolutely terrible. At school I was considered a C grade artist, and that was even when working on pen and ink drawings, a style I used to be good at but have since abandoned. I never learned to paint traditionally.

Secondly, I can do it anywhere. In my bedroom with a Ugee graphics monitor and my workstation desktop, or lots of other places if I take my aging laptop and Huion graphics tablet with me. Soon I’m looking to buy a mobile tablet similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro, that’ll let me paint absolutely anywhere.

Thirdly, the tech involved. So not only am I able to emulate any media that exists in traditional art with various software, I can also work on art styles that aren’t even possible with traditional. As well as this, functions like undo, zooming in and out of the canvas, layers and blending modes, gradients and bucket fill, the list goes on and on.

I can happily say I never want to "go back" to traditional painting even though I was never any good at it in the first place.

How did you find out about Krita?

That’s a hard question. I’m not absolutely sure, but I’ve an idea that it might have been through David Revoy’s work on the Blender Foundation movies, and Pepper and Carrot. I was looking for a cheap or free piece of software because I didn’t want to use cracked Photoshop/Painter, and I’d already used GIMP and, and neither were good for the art I was looking to create. I tried MyPaint but it never worked properly with my tablet. I did buy ArtRage at some point but I wasn’t happy with the tools in that. It came down to probably a choice of Krita or Clip Studio Paint. Krita had the price tag of free so it was the first one I tried. And I stuck with it.

What was your first impression?


At least I think it was. When I first tried it everything just seemed to work straight off. It seemed simple enough for me to use efficiently. And the brush engine was simply amazing. I don’t know if there’s any other program with brushes that easy to customize to a huge extent but still so simple to set up. I first tried it in version 2.something so it was before animation was added.

What do you love about Krita?

Mostly, the fact that it works to use for most things you can throw at it. I’ve made game assets, textures, paintings, drawings, pixel art, a couple of test animations with the animation function, pretty much everything. I feel like it’s the Blender of 2d, the free tool that does pretty much everything, maybe not the 100% best at it, but certainly the most economical option.

The brush engine like I said before is one of it’s best assets, it has one of the most useful color pickers I’ve used, the inclusion of what is the feature-set of the paid plugin Lazy Nezumi for Photoshop for free, the fact that the interface can be there when you need it but vanish at the press of the button. Just loads of good things.

The variety of brush packs made by the community are also a great asset. I own GDQuest’s premium bundle and also use Deevad’s pack on a regular basis. I love to then tweak those brushes to suit my needs.

What do you think needs improvement in Krita? Is there anything that really annoys you?

The main current annoyance with Krita is the text tool. I just hate it. It’s the one thing that makes me want to have access to Photoshop. And I know it’s supposedly one of the things being focused on in future updates, so hopefully they don’t take too long to happen.

Another problem I had with Krita happened last year. It’s been fixed since, but it’s certainly nothing I’d like to see happen again with V4 (Which I worry is a possibility). Basically what happened was when the Krita 3 update came out it broke support for my Ugee graphics monitor. Completely broke it. I had to either stick with the old version of Krita 2.9, or when I wanted to use tools from V3 I had to uninstall my screen tablet drivers, install drivers for my tiny old Intuos Small tablet and use that. Luckily, later on, (about 6-8 months down the line) an update for my tablet drivers fixed all problems, and it just worked with my screen tablet from then on.

What sets Krita apart from the other tools that you use?

Ease of use, the brush engine, the speed that it works at (even with 4k documents on my pentium powered laptop), the way it currently works well on all my hardware, the price tag (FREE!), the community, and some great providers of custom brushes (GDQuest and David Revoy’s in particular). Even though I’ve since stopped using Krita for pixel art and moved to Aseprite (only because their pixel animation tools are more sophisticated towards making game assets), I believe it’s the most suitable program I have access to for digital painting, comic art, and traditional 2d animation.

If you had to pick one favourite of all your work done in Krita so far, what would it be, and why?

This is a hard question because I feel I am a terrible critic. If I had to choose it’d probably be Sailing to the Edge of the World II – from my Sailing to the Edge of the world painting series I made for a good colleague of mine. I also included the latest painting in that series, though I believe the second one was the best. Even though it’s been maybe 8 months since I made that painting it’s still one of my best.

What techniques and brushes did you use in it?

If I remember correctly I used mostly David Revoy’s brush-pack. The painterly brushes were used along with the pen and ink brushes and some of the airbrushes. To be honest it’s been so long since I made it I’m not 100% sure. I may have also used some of the default brushes such as the basic round and soft round.

Where can people see more of your work?

My DeviantArt(where I post the majority of my art): My twitter (where I post some of my art): And my newest place: Tumblr (Not much here at all):

Anything else you'd like to share?

I’m working on resurrecting my Youtube channel at:

As of the time of writing this it’s mostly just home to my music. However I’m looking to expand it into art, animation and game development, with tutorials and process videos. I’m certainly hoping to post some Krita reviews, tutorials and videos on how it can be used in a game development pipeline over the coming months, as well as videos of other software such as Blender, Aseprite, 3d Coat, Moho, Construct 3, Gamemaker Studio 2, Unreal Engine 4, Sunvox, FL Studio Mobile and others.