Interview mit Soe (englisch)
Name: Soe Gschwind
Residence: Berlin (Germany)
Soe 'soe(tchi)' Gschwind is graphical artist and commentator for GameSports. Additionally to this task field she takes over the stage commentation of GameSports supported Events in Germany (e.g. WCG National Final Germany 2010). Recently she earns a lot of prominence due to her StarCraft II model speeddrawings, means peintures in fast motion. Her drawing videos earned about 50.000 views and acquired a lot of international vogue.
MyStarCraft.de: Hello Soe! We already know your face and your creative streak, but could you briefly introduce yourself?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: My name is Soe. Not my nickname, but one of my given names. My nickname "would be" soetchi, but that never really caught. I keep using it anyways *grins*. I was born in the USA, I'm half russian and I grew up in Switzerland. I work in Berlin for three years now, for GameSports / Freaks 4U, where I was hired as a moderator and host. In the course of the first year we noticed my interest in graphic design and drawing, which is why I started a schoolarship [Editor's note: The German vocational education system is way
complicated, don't worry] as "Media Designer for Digital & Print, Concept and Design". Long name, sounds important *laughs*. I'll finish next year. To not blow the scope of this: If you want to learn more about me, visit my website www.soetchi.de and read the AboutMe. I put everything important down there.
MyStarCraft.de: Your speed drawings really made an impact. How does that make you feel and does it motivate you to make more stuff like that?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: They made an impact, indeed. I was totally suprised, because I made those a while back and didn't really intent them for the broad public. I really just drew those in the middle of the night for fun. It took a few hours and I shared them with my friends via Facebook. When our site asked me if we could make them into content to pass the beta-pause, I didn't make much of it. I thought "What the hell, another 50 people seeing my videos." We put them on own3D.tv, our hosting plattform, so we didn't have to use my private YouTube channel. They got a considerable amount of hits after all. I was happy about that, but that was it. A few days later, people went sending me links going "Oh, gratz, you made it to GosuGamers", "You're on TeamLiquid", "By the way, Blizzard postet it". That was totally
unanticipated. It really surprised me.
On one hand, of course, I'm happy about it. I read every single comment, partly to my regret. A few comments where freaky, others funny, sometimes insulting. I think I got pretty much everything from accusations that I couldn't draw to marriage proposals. Quite a few of the latter, by the way. I'm really greatful for all the feedback but it feels a bit weird. I didn't have control over any of this, because aside from our own site, nobody asked my permission. That's what made it so surprising.
Oh, and I also agree to some of the comments saying 80% of the viewers where only interested in my face. Some called me an attention whore. The reason I include my face, though, is that in the past, people wouldn't believe that's me drawing. Unsurprisingly, accusations of me stealing the drawings were also on the list. The problem was people watched the video but didn't read the description. For the Zealot, I used the pose of another image which I credited in there, name and everything.
And yes, I do trace the drawings, which makes a lot of sense if you draw on bleed proof paper. You can't possibly draw with a pencil on this stuff. It's coated paper that's also immune to erasers. So I do a scribble first, slip it underneath and start drawing. It's kinda like with watercolor. Also, people were suspicious about me starting with the colors and doing the outlines last. That's also to do with the color-consistency. They behave like watercolor and would bleed into the outlines, so I do color, outlines and another layer of color. That does the trick. In my old videos, I didn't include the scribbles because they were 4-5 hours long. I'll leave them in from now on, though, so questions like that become obsolete.
To sum this up: I'm greatful for all the interest and all the nice comments but also incited to prove all the negative ones wrong. We'll see how the next drawings go. As of now there's a poll running on MyStarCraft.de where you can vote what I'm supposed to draw next. I thought a poll was a good idea after I got drowned in PMs that contained suggestions about that. You can still participate there.
MyStarCraft.de: And then, there was this clay model ...
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: Yes, the clay model was fun. It was my first clay model above the age of six, by the way. I was riding the bus with a colleague the other day, shortly after seeing another Tim Burton stopmotion movie, looking at a few scenes from Corpse
Bride -- listening to the singing-scene because I really like that one. And suddenly, I felt like doing a stopmotion movie myself. How long could it take? So I was talking to bukKkk in the bus, and he said "Head to the supermarket and get some 1¤ modelling clay. It's good." I went there and had a look at my color choices. They wouldn't do. They didn't even have brown. I bought it anyway, planning to try and mix the colors, which worked out more or less well.
The problem with 1¤ clay is that it isn't really the most sophisticated stuff. It will stick to your hands more than anything else. In fact, it got everywhere but where I wanted it to be. I had to use toothpicks until I ran out of clay. All in all, minus the mixing and trying to get the stuff out of my hands and onto the Hydralisk, it took me 30 minutes. Not very long, but a lot of fun. Next time, I'll get proper modelling clay and some wire, so I can work in some details. It wasn't so bad with the Hydralisk, come to think of it, I even managed to give him fangs and scythes, which were annoyingly hard to get on there. It just was a lot of fun.
By the way, the reason I killed it! It wasn't malice, just salvation *laughs*. The kids-clay wasn't exactly long-lasting. When I was done, I tried to make that stopmotion but the thing just fell apart. An arm went off, an when I got it back on it cracked in the middle. Then the head went missing. I thought I'd rather relief it from it's sorrows. That murder was an act of love! *laughs*
MyStarCraft.de: How long have you been into art before your start in Berlin?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: I'm into art ever since I can hold a pencil. That was my 24/7 activity, drawing wherever possible, regardless if it was fingerpaint or carving into the sand with a stick. When I was eleven, a school project gave me the opportunity to decorate a wall. That was pretty cool. Oh, and I participated in every available comic-contest, where I won a lot of things. Art-class, too, I took
everything I could get. I've pretty much always been into art, I even wanted to become a comic artist, inspired by all the Disney and Marvel comics and of course mangas. I got a considerable collection of those at home. The passion never wavered, I'm still reading and collecting every kind of comics, japanese style or american mainstream or stuff like Calvin and Hobbes. I' a big fan. Way back, I made shirt designs for a friend of mine who owned a store and sold them. That was fun. I even wanted to study art and went to the [university of applied sciences] after failing the entrance exam twice. But that was for something else, as an interpreter. Thanks to math, I failed. I made it with my second attemp, but then everything went differently and all of a sudden I was in germany and a moderator.
MyStarCraft.de: And ended up in eSport. Do you anticipate the time when StarCraft II goes retail and commentating becomes relevant again?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind:Yes, absolutely! A game that's finally properly mainstream. I mean, WoW was mainstream, too, but it doesn't really give you a lot of options other than content-shows that you can only pull off so long. So we dropped those, even if they've been a lot of fun. Then I started casting Quake Live, which offers the weekly G Data and ZOTAC Cups. That's been a real blast and it still is. It's gonna stay my main game, I think. In between, I tried to do WarCraft III. Some of you might have seen it. It frankly was an epic fail. I know I didn't do really well. That's the fault of my missing preperation time and having to moderate it all by myself. If you haven't played the game, thats not exactly an advantage. I'm happy to be able to try another RTS-Title, StarCraft II. I hope the preperation I've had and still gonna have will suffice. I played it a lot and already made some test-casts. I hope to get a better start here, so I'm facing it with a positive additute.
MyStarCraft.de: What's the impression you got from playing and what perspective do you see for the game, especially in eSport?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: I see a great perspective. Contrary to what you can read on the Forums, I think the game is already pretty well balanced. If you dont know what you're doing, you can't win. Unlike in Warcraft III, you don't have the luck factor here. There, Grubby just gets every useful item and the game has been decided. Your creep route is definitely relevant, but in StarCraft II you don't have the luck factor at all. You just have to be good.
Myself, I really suck. You can find me all the way down at the bottom. I managed to rise from Copper to Bronze -- even as high as Silver, but fell back down pretty quickly. Regardless, I'm having fun and I think thats good for a game. If people that aren't really good have fun, too. In other games, like Warcraft III or Wolfenstein, I started and completely lost my motivation somwhere into the third game because I didn't stand a chance. I'm a lot more motivated with StarCraft II even though I don't know if it has that effect on other people.
There's another factor on top of that: I chose Protoss because they're simply pretty. Thats girls-talk now, I know *grins*. I really like the graphics, it's very detailed. I probably wouldn't have played StarCraft: Broodwar. I'm no actual RTS fan and the graphics compare to Mario on the Gameboy. StarCraft II has been attractive from the beginning. The pretty "PewPew" of the Void Ray or Prismatic Beam were the first things that got me. After that came the variety of possibilities and strategies it offers. I'm absolutely fascinated by how the professional players implement those. You make your own attemps at that, but they don't work out.
Anyway, the game is looking into a big future. Evidence for that is the amount of people who already played the game. I don't think it's just the hype. It will be like that for a while.
MyStarCraft.de: Which unit would you like to have a plush version of?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: Plush-Version? *grins* I think the Protoss are all kind of adorable, but not really plush-worthy. My favorite unit is the Void Ray, which I would make a model of if I could. Including the powers of flight and the beam, of course! I think a probe would be great.It would make for an awesome pillow, compact and fat as it is. Aside from that, probably Baneling.. they're round, too. Yeah, Baneling or Probe
MyStarCraft.de: And when can we expect the according speed drawing?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: I already did a baneling! I drew a lot of those but they're still scribbles, I don't have anything prettier yet. I will, though. The next speed drawing is still voted upon on the MyStarCraft forums.
Looks like it's gonna be Thor. I'm more or less happy with that. A Thor looks great, but mechs give me trouble with all their straight lines. I lose
concentration and the lines end up going nowhere and it will look pretty weird. Let's see, if i blow it I'll sell it as something completely differnet and the vote will have never existed.
MyStarCraft.de: It will be a while until the release of StarCraft II. How are you going to spend the next week, whats on scheudule?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: Quite a lot. I'm gonna commentate the WCG Germany 2010 National final live with our team. There'll be Trackmania, Guitar here and some other stuff. On top of that, there's a few Quake casts and the ESWC Broadcast next week. There's also the Trackmania 24 Hour Race from Competo, which I'm gonna cover the entire time. If you've seen me on the DreamHack Summer broadcast last weekend, you know a bottle of ice tea will keep me going 12 hours.
Then there's TMT, a Trackmania racing league. I'll cast at least the later, bigger games starting with the quarter finals. Before GamesCom in august StarCraft II will be released and I hope I'll still have enough time left to prepare. I'd like to apologize in advance because the first casts aren't gonna be perfect. I will give my best to improve quickly. I hope for a lot of viewers.
MyStarCraft.de: Any regards or something personal you want to close with?
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: I'll just give out regards to everyone.
Soe 'Soetchi' Gschwind: Yeah, just generally every Person ...and... animal. Regards to everyone and everything and most of all thanks for all the comments, the flood of emails and PMs and everything i got - I even got mail! I wanna thank you with all my heart! Not to forget the people that went for criticsm rather than just brown-nosing me. I'm always open to feedback like that. And thanks to the so-called haters that motivate me to keep going as well as my supporters. I want to thank our entire team for pusing and hyping the videos. And finally thanks to my boyfriend that always supported me and whom I love more than anything *grins*.