Ginés Quiñonero is, as we’ll see below, many things for the VTES community. But more than anything, he’s a great guy I’ve had the pleasure to know for, well, quite a few years. And he didn’t age at all so he’s definitely a vampire, no doubt! Here’s our way to “give back to Caesar”, albeit a Spanish one. Enjoy!
Hello Ginés !
I don’t even know where to begin. You’re a VTES player, judge, Spanish National Coordinator, illustrator, art director and Black Chantry member, am I missing something ?
In relation to VTES, I am also the VEKN Website Coordinator, and the translator of many VTES resources into Spanish, such as the game and tournament rules and all the cards. On the other hand, my non-VTES activities range from my regular job as an art teacher to my other hobbies (aquaria, etymology, Latin and languages in general).
How do you find the time to get Blood Dolls to feed upon? Any regular Hunting Grounds?
I sometimes wonder that same thing, because I tend to get involved in any project that inspires me. For instance, I am currently preparing an introductory course of Latin as a living language for next year. So, who knows, we may end up having a VTES Dark Ages set in Latin (just kidding).
The truth is that the amount of time I spend on my hobbies can range from short amounts of time during the academic year to a vast amount of it during my summer, Christmas and Easter vacation periods. And I always try to make the most of it.
Ok, tell us more about you as a VTES player.
I am a long time player who started to play in 1994. I was already a player of Vampire: The Masquerade RPG, when a friend of mine introduced me to Jyhad. Needless to say, I was immediately captivated by it and its complexity.
My first deck was a Tremere one featuring mighty Cassandra, Magus Prime, Ulugh Beg, Cardano and others, mainly focused on second-round combat (Cauldron of Blood and Walk of Flame) and intercept. The deck also had a fair share of a card that I found to be very useful for bringing out vampires in a cheaper way (Govern the Unaligned). My first games were 1 vs 1 against an opponent who was playing Malkavian stealth and bleed, who ousted me every time 🙂
Since then I have been playing all kinds of decks as my collection got bigger and bigger. However, I feel more comfortable playing vote decks, because of their adaptability to game state, even though I play and enjoy a wide variety of deck types both at tournaments and in casual games.
My play style tends to be proactive, manipulative and seldom does it rely on deal-making. I also tend to keep my table talk to a minimum because I do not want to waste any time during my games.
You’ve been head judge for a while too now.
Indeed. I started to judge at tournaments because I have to admit that I am one of those weird people who have actually read the Rulebook and the Tournament Rules… more than once 🙂 And, therefore, I became the rulemonger in my playgroup.
However, not only did I get content with reading the rulebook several times, but I collaborated on its first Spanish translation after the release of Sabbat War as well, which forced me to read it several times more.
Later on I also translated the Tournament Rules, the Penalty Guidelines, the VTES FAQ, and the Judges’ Notes, which helped me broaden my knowledge of the many aspects of the rules.
Therefore, I have judged more tournaments in my career than I can remember: ranging from local ones to Continental Qualifiers, National Championships and European Championships.
What does it take to be a National Coordinator, and what are the main tasks of that position ?
It takes a lot of commitment, determination and patience, in addition to a deep
knowledge of organised play and VTES rules, and good interpersonal skills.
The main tasks of that position are helping out with the organisation of national events, appointing new princes, answering rules and organisational questions 24/7, and helping out with the the resolution of conflicts between playgroups within my country.
How did you get involved in the Black Chantry adventure ?
That is a long story that began when VTES ceased to be produced in 2010.
During the Paris European Championship that same year, a group of volunteers (including me) led by Johannes Walch took the reins of VEKN in the hope of finding a new publisher for VTES.
Therefore, VEKN decided to design and release VTES expansions in PDF format not only to keep the game alive while we were looking for a suitable publisher, but also in order to gather together a group of volunteers with the required skills for card design and production that could eventually be hired by the company that would bring VTES back to print.
During the following years several unsuccessful attempts were made at finding that longed-for publisher.
However, White Wolf being sold to Paradox Interactive and the World of Darkness Berlin convention being announced brought hope to the future of VTES in such a way that White Wolf allowed VEKN to design and produce an Anthology of VTES cards, in order to encourage the participation of VTES players in the European Championship that was going to be held at that convention in May 2017 (that convention was a blast with more than 150 VTES players showing up).
VEKN had a meeting with White Wolf in Berlin regarding the continuity of VTES. And we realised that White Wolf needed a legally established company to work with (something VEKN is not). As a consequence of this, VEKN decided that a company had to be created and, to that end, five people stepped up: Hugh Angseesing, Henrik Klippström, Ben Peal, Vincent Ripoll and I.
How have those first months with Black Chantry been for you ?
Very exciting and time consuming in equal measure, and really worth it.
One of my hobbies having become my secondary job still puzzles me. Who would have guessed this would ever happen? Definitely not me 🙂
Ok, now I’d like to get more into the artistic part. 🙂
I remember how happy we all were for you when Gran Madre di Dio, Italy, came out. Was it the first card you did ?
My first card ever was Masai Blood Milk, from the Legacies of Blood expansion set (2005). Gran Madre di Dio, Italy was my second one (2006).
How did you come by this contract ?
I had the opportunity to meet Steve Wieck at the European Championship held in Heidelberg in 2004. Short afterwards, I learned that White Wolf was looking for artists for the upcoming VTES expansion, so I decided to contact Steve by email and send him a few samples of my artwork. He liked it and consequently put me in touch with Mike Chaney, the VTES Art Director at White Wolf, who hired me to do the art for Masai Blood Milk.
How did it feel when the card was published ?
It felt great. A dream come true. I had never thought this would ever happen.
However, it was a pity that the card did not see much play, even though I unsuccessfully struggled to build a viable deck with it.
What are your drawing techniques ?
They range from traditional techniques (such as oils, acrylics, colour pencils or pastels) to digital painting.
However, now that I do not have so much time available I prefer to do digital painting, because it definitely is a time saver for several reasons: I do not have to wait for the painting to dry, I can use multiple layers for various effects, and I do not have to digitalise the illustration.
I think that your art improved a lot over time. In what area do you think you improved the most ?
It’s really difficult for me to name one area of improvement, since I am undecided between gesture (that is, life and movement) and light and shadow, which I am more aware of now when creating my illustrations.
What are the arts you’re the most proud of ? Are there some you’d prefer to Obfuscate ?
I am especially proud of these artworks: Karif al Numair, Erebus, Handsome Dan,
Unleash the Hounds and Vengeful Spirit.
Most likely due to my perfectionism, I’d prefer to Obfuscate those pieces that I now find to be somehow flawed (either artistically or stylistically), which in my opinion are so many that I will only name these two: Masai Blood Milk and Ophidian Gaze.
As an Art Director how do you choose which submissions to accept, reject or maybe send back to the drawing board ?
I accept any submissions that beautifully and skilfully match the atmosphere of the World of Darkness and make it believable. So mostly realistic art of any kind that meets those requirements.
And I consequently reject those that look unprofessional (e.g., those showing unwanted disproportions) or those with a style that is not suitable for depicting the World of Darkness (e.g., comic book art style).
Very seldom do I have to send a submission back to the drawing board, but when I do it is because I find that something is not quite right and does not satisfactorily match the art description given, and could therefore be improved, or because one of the above-mentioned negative factors is conspicuous.
Do you have some favourite VTES artists apart from yourself ?
Definitely. Christopher Shy, Ken Meyer Jr., Mark Kelly, Carmen Cornet and Francesc Grimalt, to name a few.
Who are your favourite artists outside of VTES ?
Johannes Vermeer and Diego Velázquez.
In which directions do you want your art to evolve in the coming years ?
I want my future artworks to look even darker and more dreadful than the most recent ones do. We will see if I manage to achieve that goal.
Thanks a lot Ginès, hope we meet again soon !
Interview by Orpheus; portrait of Ginés by Darby Keeney