Community Spotlight - iDrawHomer
This week’s Community Spotlight features something of a household name, although you may not yet know the man behind that name. Michael Atniel AKA iDrawHomer is a Twitch streamer, pirate aficionado and an animator on The Simpsons, specifically working as character layout artist for Homer Simpson! As a fan of his art streams, we wanted to know more about his love of Sea of Thieves and the wonderful crossover art he’s created. Join us as we ask!
[Q]: Can you tell us a little about what got you into gaming?
[A]: I have had a love for gaming since my very first home console… the Atari. Yes, I’m that old. I was about four years old and had no idea about what went into creating these games, but I knew at that age that video games were going to be a part of the rest of my life.
[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves? Do you have any favourite Rare games?
[A]: Who wasn’t a fan of GoldenEye?! That game opened the next stage of my gaming life into FPS games. I remember when playing multiplayer I would HAVE to have the top left square or else I wouldn’t play. Out of all the games I have played, that game is still one of the top 10. So yeah, you could definitely say I was fan of Rare before Sea of Thieves.
[Q]: What other games are you currently playing? Any favourites?
[A]: With the limited time I have to game as a ‘Responsible Adult’, when I am not sailing, I am usually playing other adventure/puzzle-style games… and of course some good ol’ mindless running and gunning in CoD.
[Q]: What brought you over to Sea of Thieves and its community?
[A]: Plain and simple… pirates! Ever since I can remember, from the days of watching Disney’s animated Peter Pan, The Goonies, Treasure Island, Hook, the list just goes on… I have been fascinated by the pirate life. This also led to many different Halloween pirate costumes as a child and in my adult years. Sea of Thieves opened up that door for many people with the same love of pirates to live that life as if we really were pirates!
Michael loves everything pirate-related and was drawn to Sea of Thieves from the start!
[Q]: What are your thoughts on the character design in Sea of Thieves?
[A]: At first, I was not thrilled that the trailer showed cartoony characters running around. I was hoping for something more realistic and authentic. That opinion quickly changed within the first few days of playing Sea of Thieves on release. I have come to love the style and I simply can’t imagine it looking any other way. Honestly, it’s one of the most beautiful-looking games out there.
[Q]: Any favourite memories from your appearance on our Weekly Stream last year?
[A]: I think the mutual respect for our careers just made the whole experience memorable. They were a fan of what I do, and I was a big fan of what they do. It would be a pleasure to sail with Jon or Joe, or anyone at Rare for that matter, as I am such a fan of their work.
[Q]: You’ve been streaming too, and taking part in some wonderful charity streams. How have you found life over on Twitch?
[A]: Without Twitch and all the events with Sea of Thieves, I would not have built such an amazing community of people or met other communities who are just as amazing. It is because of this platform I have made some meaningful friendships on the seas. Streaming is also a great way to share my love for this game and help anyone who has questions about the game, or some cool inside info on the ‘Captains of the Damned’ Tall Tale that people wouldn’t know about unless they’ve been on the ride.
[Q]: Your Deep Sea Homer drawings are wonderfully colourful and creative. Do you take inspiration from Sea of Thieves and your experiences playing, or just draw what comes to mind?
[A]: Drawing for social media gives me freedom to draw these characters outside of the show. So I take inspiration from everything. My love for Sea of Thieves shows in my drawings because I literally can’t stop thinking about this game. If I was not working for The Simpsons, you better believe that streaming SoT and making art inspired by it would be my goal.
Michael’s artistic talent shines through in his incredible original and crossover fan art.
[Q]: As an animator, do you have a favourite in-game emote, and what emote would you like to see?
[A]: I love them all! I only wish we could equip them all. But my favorite might be the Bilge Rat Dance.
It would be cool to see emotes that work alongside other pirates. Like a high five or handshake emote that won’t trigger until a pirate accepts the prompt. Great way to make friends with new buccaneers!
[Q]: Thinking back, are there any standout moments for you in Sea of Thieves since you started playing?
[A]: The biggest standout moment for me was recently winning the #SoTShot competition. It was a goal of mine for a long time and it’s been amazing getting to use those beautiful sails while adventuring.
[Q]: What are your favourite additions to Sea of Thieves over the past year?
[A]: So, the latest update hits very close to the heart for me. Being born and raised in Southern California, Disneyland is only a stone’s throw away. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been my favorite of all Disney rides for as long as I can remember. I have always wondered what it would be like to jump off the boat and explore the sets while getting lost on my own pirate adventure. I may or may not have cried a little bit with the third Tall Tale of the new update – when my dreams of exploring the ride finally came true. I can’t thank Rare enough for making this finally happen for me!
Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life finally let Michael explore the sets of the iconic Disneyland ride.
[Q]: What are your greatest achievements in a game, Sea of Thieves or otherwise?
[A]: My greatest achievement in this game has to be the Golden Hour Sails, I am still in awe. My next goal is to win a few more so I can have the ‘Artist’ Title. I think that would be fitting considering my occupation!
[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate and ship name, what would they be?
[A]: I have often thought about this. I would have to name it after Homer Simpson’s iconic car design… ‘The Homer’.
[Q]: What kind of other hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: When I am not gaming, I am working and when I’m not working, I usually relax by playing music or catching up on movies that I have been wanting to see. Because of my career and gaming, I’m sitting down a lot, so I also enjoy going out for walks or even a trip to the gym a few times a week.
[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: One fun fact is that I got hired right outside of high school to work on The Simpsons. So I never actually went to art school until years later when I went back to learn Computer Animation. I have also worked in animation on a few games including Mafia 3 and NBA 2K16, where I was a Cinematic Character Animator on both.
That concludes our latest Community Spotlight! Thanks to Michael for talking to the team – we can’t wait to enjoy more art streams, crossover fan art and, of course, new episodes of The Simpsons. Bonus points if we ever spot a Sea of Thieves Easter egg in an episode! In the meantime, there are plenty of previous Community Spotlights for you all to check out, along with everything in our Community Hub.
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