2 months ago - Hippy - Direct link
If you listen closely, you can still hear the squeals of joy erupting out of me like a weird, terrified pterodactyl thing from chatting with our latest Community Focus. Meet Kasiapeia, an incredible artist that has made her mark in our community in a beautiful and inspiring way with her outstanding Destiny 2 art (with a healthy dose of hilarious memes sprinkled in). And she’s a Titan, so you know she’s a total badass.  
Sorry, can’t hear you, Hunters!  
Just kidding. But seriously, she’s got some incredible advice for blossoming artists, some sweet ideas on taking the whole fantasy element to a whole new level, and she talks raiding like a pro. Meet Kasiapeia!  
Thanks for chatting with us today, Kasiapeia! Let’s start off easy by telling the Destiny 2 community a little bit about yourself.  
Kasiapeia: Hello! My name is Kasiapeia, but everyone calls me Kas. I'm a game designer and professional artist by trade and spend most of my time making and painting cool things. Cool things largely being high fantasy, sci-fi, and (obviously) Destiny-related. 
I actually got into Destiny right at the start of Warmind when my friend told me about a cool game he'd heard about that he thought I'd like. He marketed it towards me as “Mass Effect but as an FPS with more dress up," and hey, that pitch worked real well. I painted my first ever art piece for Destiny shortly after blowing through the entirety of the Red War campaign (quickly followed by a weekend marathon of Curse of Osiris and Warmind), but it wasn't until Season of the Forge that I really found my footing in the game. I met my first friends from the Destiny community who ran me through my first ever raid: a Last Wish run where I got the One Thousand Voices Exotic weapon on the first try (sorry!), and I've been raiding consistently ever since. I guess somewhere along the line, my fixation with this game stuck. Last year, I made a goal to paint at least one Destiny-related art piece every month, largely motivated by that sweet AOTW emblem and a group of Destiny community artists who've become some of my closest friends. 

You had me at Mass Effect, not going to lie! Your art style is incredible. What was that creative journey like for you?  

You're too kind, really! I think Destiny really did scratch the part of my brain that grew up on Star Trek and Lord of the Rings with the mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Something about it really seems to nail that common middle ground. I think it might have to do with my background as a fan artist for Dragon Age when I was younger, which had me practicing painting armor all. the. time! Rather poorly, granted, but it definitely laid the groundwork for painting Destiny's fantastic armor sets. I'd like to think that my metal painting is my best and most popular art technique, but I think that title probably goes to the cardboard sculptures I've been making as of late. 
Interesting story about the cardboard work: that actually started way back in ninth grade, when my art teacher had us make cardboard sculptures for an assignment. I don't think he entirely predicted what I'd do with the techniques he taught us nearly ten years later, seeing as I've been making prop guns and armor (I don't think he'd have let me do that in art class, sadly). What started out as an art assignment turned into, "Man, this would be really easy to make in real life," which turned into making use of an obscene quantity of cardboard I've accumulated from several moves—and many online orders—into what is probably the next step in my career as an artist. Something about the recycled nature of the medium and its limitations really speaks to me, in a way.
It’s hard to see so many amazingly talented people struggle to find their “thing” when exploring art. Any tips to offer people just starting out in their artistic adventure? Any lessons or frustrations early on that you faced that helped make you a better artist?  
It's been said a thousand times over, but really the best advice is to try to make something (even if it's a small little sketch or just figuring out a concept) every day. It's a wild amount of work, but pushing yourself to make things, even if they're bad, adds up. That, I think, combined with really making use of resources from other artists, will really, really help people who may still be figuring out their niche. There are so many absolutely incredible artists online (especially those in the Destiny art community) who are always sharing their processes, techniques, and free resources. You should absolutely make use of it! Art, especially for fan-artists, can be just as much about a community as it is about the actual art itself. 
I think my third piece of advice would be more of a secret than an actual tip: if it feels like you don't know what you're doing, it's okay. The rest of us don't know what we're doing either, even if it looks like we do. Art is chaotic and messy and difficult, but keep taking on those projects that are out of your skill range. Even if it doesn't turn out the way you wanted, one day, you'll be able to look back and make it look the way you wanted to all those years ago. 

You’ve talked about a Destiny art community hub before quite a bit, can you tell us a little bit more about that and how that microcosm of creativity has grown?  
I wish I could take credit for that, but I really feel like a lot of it has been a result of some amazingly talented artists taking me under their wing back when I really started trying to get involved in the community. I owe a few people a debt I can never repay for their kindness, especially the Bungie developers who followed and interacted with my posts back when I first started posting my art on Twitter. Without that motivation and encouragement, I don't think I would've continued posting my work. I still remember all of your names a year on, and I don't think I'll forget them.
But as for how to build a community, I think it really is as simple as just talking to people (my introverted self's absolute worst nightmare). There's a (sort of tip) I saw years ago about the psychology of making friends, which basically said: show up to the same place consistently and talk to the same people. I really think that sort of transfers over into online spaces too. Getting involved in community fan projects is a great way to make friends. I'm terribly self-conscious, but I'm always pushing myself to send in applications to art events and various other projects that I think I'm vastly underqualified for on the off chance I make it in (and it pays off more than you'd think). 
Building resources is trickier. A lot of artists' libraries consist of reference photos, digital assets such as brushes or textures, an understanding of art theory, and the like. I don't think people need to go to school for it (though admittedly, I do not have a degree in game development, so take my words with a grain of salt), but building up a folder on your computer with your favorite images or even setting up a Pinterest board can do wonders to give you that extra push when you're feeling stuck. And always ask your artist friends for advice too! Most artists love helping other artists work through their art blocks, if only so they can avoid dealing with their own, and the Destiny art community is one of the best for helping each other out. 

That’s sound advice on community building, and I’m glad you mentioned resources because that’s a technical aspect of things like this that is often overlooked in the initial planning stages. Especially when excitement is high!  
Okay, so now for the real question. Favorite class?

Okay, so, confession: I did very much start out as a Warlock main. However, I'd like to use this moment to proudly announce that as of the last two years, I have been a Titan main through and through. I have seen the error of my ways (I'm joking, mostly) and have reformed as part of the secret, truly best class of Destiny. Yes, space paladins are cool. Space rogues have cool cloaks, but someone has to punch the screebs, and I'll be damned if I don't volunteer for the task. 

Aye! Things you love to see: That! But you’re right. All three classes have something unique to offer. It’s just fun to playfully rib each other sometimes. As long as it’s all in good fun (hey, Reddit!).  
With your history with the game and changing up how you interact with it, what would your dream Destiny experience look like?  
At my core, I'm a tried-and-true raider. Both as a guide for those that want to learn how to raid, and as a hardcore raider doing low man, contest, and flawless challenge clears. I think raids have really been the thing to drag me back into playing the game every week instead of holing up in my office, painting our favorite Awoken characters (my favorite). Shout out to my King's Fall raid team, by the way. We struggled massively with PC issues but still scraped by with a placement of 130 on day one, which is the highest I've ever gotten. I’m confident we’ll get to that top 100 next time.  
I'd love to see the return of some truly special raid armor and weapons. I didn't just get One Thousand Voices on my first ever raid clear. I also got Touch of Malice on my first clear (of four) on day one of King's Fall, and man, that feeling of everyone else hating your guts for your good luck? There's nothing quite like it. [chef’s kiss
I may be a bit biased as a Titan main, but I think we need more Swords to hit things with. I'd love to run around with a Sword and a shield to just smack the crap out of things. (I really am showing my Titan-maining colors here, aren’t I?). And okay, I guuuuesss Hunters and Warlocks can get those too. [Laughs]. Again, kidding. But as much fun as I have had making some truly awful Titan transmog looks (something I've become somewhat known for), I'm secretly a massive fan of the knightlier armor pieces and I'd love to see some gameplay leaning into some Dungeons & Dragons and high fantasy archetypes. Maybe being able to be a Destiny version of Legolas will inspire me to main Hunter. 
… Probably not, but maybe. 

Did we just become best friends, because I’m pretty sure we just became best friends...  
Okay, so you have me sold on Swords and shields that would make Captain America jealous. What about a dream subclass?  
Swords and magic, oh my god, that would be the dream. I'm super excited for Lightfall to see more cyberpunk-y aspects of Destiny. Splicer was an absolute treat for that, so yes! Magic and Swords and hmm... more Awoken, since those three seem to go quite well together.  There are  so many plot lines surrounding the Awoken we've yet to see outside of the lore books that I'd love to see explored further. And not just because I love an excuse to chat with Mara and Petra. 
I think it's really the fault of Forsaken. The moment I unveiled the Dreaming City was the moment I knew this game was never getting out of my head again. That blend of otherworldly magic and touches of fantasy blew me away. I guess I was right because all these years later, I'm still logging in every week, and I even have the Deep Stone Crypt logo tattooed on my arm (opposite the Cousland Crest on my other arm, courtesy of Dragon Age). 

Definitely best friends. Genuinely love how easy it is to see your passion for this game. That’s what gaming should be about: falling in love with a world and feeling like you always have that place to return to. Looking back, do you have any favorite memories from the Destiny universe?  
My favorite Destiny moment is tricky, but I think, especially after replaying it so many times, it's the last time that I played the Red War campaign. You know that sequence where the Guardian is climbing the mountain, looking back at the Last City burning behind them while Lost Light is playing? And then the music gets louder as the ship flies overhead? I ran through the campaign one last time before Beyond Light was released, and that moment just... stuck with me. I think it's definitely up there among my favorite gaming moments of all time, and I think it's one that's often overlooked. 

Oh wow, yeah. You know, you say it’s often overlooked, and I think you’re right! I loved that moment too, but I never really lent it more thought, but now you’ve got me seeing it in a whole new light. Heh. New light. Anyway, are you particularly excited for anything you’ve seen of Lightfall after the Showcase last month?  

I'm excited for Lightfall, I won't even lie there, but my true loyalties lie with the Awoken and the Ahamkara. Something about them is just so fascinating for me. I am eagerly waiting on the edge of my seat to learn more about the breaking of the curse on the Dreaming City, and the toll the curse has had on the people of the Dreaming City and the Reef after all these years. Riven's last message felt so threatening, so I'm very excited to see how it gets interpreted by everyone at Bungie going forward. And what else happened in Elsie's alternate reality? What does the fish have to do with it? How many answers can I claw out of the Lightfall lore? (And what is going to happen with Elsie and Ana in our reality! I need to know!) 

Kasiapeia, it has been an awesome time nerding out with you about some of my personal favorite things, and I’m sure I am not alone in the “Yes, queen, yes!” vibes off of some of your answers. Before we let you go, is there anyone you’d like to shout out? 
I occasionally venture over to Twitch and Tumblr, but you will likely find me on my Twitter, where I post most often (and where you can also find links to every social media that I'm on!). 
I have to give a massive shoutout to Blossom for the constant support and the amazingly fantastic Tylegomaniac with whom I hope to share many future Destiny raids with. And, naturally, to one of my closest friends and fellow Destiny 2 community artist Cap'nEXE: you are the worst, and I treasure your friendship dearly. And of course, Bungie and to you! Thank you for this opportunity, you are an absolutely incredible person, and I look up to the work you do immeasurably. 

And that’s a wrap! Another phenomenal Community Focus in the books where we are lucky enough to be able to chat with some of the amazing Guardians that make up the Destiny family. From artists to writers to meme-lovers and accessibility advocates. You are all incredible. Thank you for being a part of our amazing community, for continuing to share your stories with us, and for just being your incredible and authentic selves. Never stop!  
As we head off into the weekend, just your friendly Community Team reminder to drink your water (don’t make me break out the hydration memes), be sure to be taking care of yourself and your mental health, and always remember to lead with your kindest foot forward. Until next time, friends.  
“I should go,”  
<3 Hippy