Heroines of Beauty and Lust: An Interview with Projekt Wolfenstahl

DA funding(N): If I am not mistaken, Patreon is your main funding source. Judging from your experience, is there a market out there that’s big enough for hentai developers? How difficult is it to make a living out of this?

(Wo): Phew… that’s a tough question. By looking at other people’s Patreon projects I am guessing that there is a market for it? At least there’s a lot of demand and people willing to throw in lots of money. But honestly, I’ve got mixed feelings about this. Please let me explain.

In the past three years we racked up a lot of experience. Just like everyone else we had good and bad moments. Some projects, like the webcomic, turned out to be successful while others failed miserably or got canceled. We also did a lot of hired work, and during those three years we learned to see our own limits and make fairly accurate estimations regarding workload, production time and costs.

That being said, we’re levelheaded when it comes to planning our own projects and we don’t promise too much. Of course this sounds lame to some people, but it simply is reality. When I take a look at other Patreon projects, I can easily see which ones are likely to succeed and which ones will most likely fail in the long run. And no, I can’t say for sure which ones will succeed or fail, it’s just common sense mixed with my own experiences and rough estimation.

I’m not trying to bad-mouth anyone! I honestly wish for all projects to succeed and for everyone to realize their dream. But from a level-headed viewpoint, some people simply promise unrealistic stuff. I mean, there’s also lots of great projects that manage to succeed! And no one should be discouraged or disheartened… but it already happened that some projects failed to meet their promises, while others are most likely going to fail in the long run. Sometimes a miracle happens and a seemingly unrealistic project works out somehow! But in general I like to be a bit sceptical about these things until proven wrong, hahaha.

So ugh… I’m not sure what I should think about all of this. There certainly is a market, but in order to be able to rack up some serious support people often tend to bite off more than they can chew, by making unrealistic promises. On the other hand, if they wouldn’t do this… they might not get any support at all, and thus they’d never get the chance to even try reaching their goal. It’s a very difficult topic. Personally, I prefer the hard way: Staying levelheaded, not promising too much, as well as openly talking about anything that happens or that is planned. And this also includes all the “ugly” things and failures. I’m a person that is not glossing stuff over, but rather tries to see how things really are. If I say something is not looking good, it’s not looking good. But if I say that everything will be fine, then you can bet that it will turn out fine. This means that, overall, we’re getting less support, but the people supporting us are more loyal and trusting. I really want to thank everyone who’s supporting us, especially our long-term fans who sticked to us through all these years! Thank you very much everyone!

(C): Oh well, what can I say about this? I think hentai is something that many people want, and more and more people are actually willing to support h-projects. I also think that the world becomes increasingly open-minded about this topic, so I guess there is a place for hentai developers, may they be artists or game devs. You will probably not get rich by doing that, but I think that Patreon can help to get at least a small basic funding to pay for food, health insurances etc. It’s not an easy way, but it helps.

(N): What has been the overall feedback to Projekt Wolfenstahl’s work? How important is online interaction with fans for you?

(Wo): I think the feedback is mixed. Some people wish for more animated hentai stuff, but I think our strengths lie in the CG department. As far as I know our fans mainly love the CGs in our games. So it would be the most natural thing to focus more on stuff like that, I guess?

Online interaction is super important to us. It helps to stay motivated, and it also helps to shape the direction our games and stories should be taking. I always read all the comments, and sometimes a comment might spark some inspiration. It really depends; for example, as the one being responsible for the story of the webcomic, I already got stuff planned out beforehand, but sometimes a comment, suggestion or wish might work out if I slightly adjust my plans, and if this even turns out to be better than what I initially wanted to do… well, why not? As far as I remember this has happened twice already. Also, based on feedback and the character popularity poll, I did some major changes to the plans for Deathblight‘s chapter 3. So yes, interaction is very important for us! It’s what keeps us going and we’re basically thinking about our fans no matter what we do.

(C): I only check on my galleries and Patreon, so I don’t have such a big overview of all feedback, but I think it’s somewhat positive so far. Regarding the online interaction, yep, that’s very important. Nothing we do would work if we wouldn’t interact with fans. Be it for feedback or just for motivation, if someone says he/she likes something and  maybe got one or another idea on how to improve our work, that’s a good thing.

(N): What are the greatest difficulties in getting your games out there, especially when it comes to advertising? Did you ever have to modify your work to avoid censorship?

(Wo): Advertising hentai games is very special, compared to advertising regular games, I guess. There’s virtually no efficient way I know off, to advertise a hentai game outside of certain hentai forums. Then again, I’m not very good when it comes to advertisement, hahaha…

(C): Oh well, everything that get’s published in the japanese market has to get censored. There’s no way around it. But for the western market, we can leave everything uncensored since hentai games are adult only games anyways. Since we have only hentai games yet, I didn’t have to cut out any content to enable a product to be sold on a specific website. Just the japanese censoring like mentioned before, but that’s all.

Older (2012/13) and newer (2015) version of Verdani

Older (2012/13) and newer (2015) version of Verdani

(N): One of the things I admire about Crescentia’s work is her great improvement over time. How have you achieved this and how satisfied are you with your own work?

(C): Since I have to draw every day for several hours, the improvement comes from this alone.  Sure I have to face some new challenges here and there, but I personally don’t feel like I do anything special to improve. I just draw. What’s important is that I get feedback, so I know on what I have to work more. And then draw the shit out of it! Also a funny phenomenon I’ve noticed is that if I keep staring on another artist’s work for a while, I somehow start to draw one thing or another in a similar way. If I like it, I’ll absorb it, like a sponge. Regarding how satisfied I am with my work… that’s a hard question, because there are moments when I say “hey, that one turned out well” so I’m satisfied for a moment, but after a few days I start noticing things that didn’t work out as well as I would like them to have. Satisfaction gone. Especially when I browse through the galleries of my favorite artists. I stare at the screen in awe and when I look at my work I sit there and think “meh, I must improve more on this and that”. But I don’t get discouraged by that, it actually helps me to strife for more, because it’s like setting a milestone that I want to achieve. I love their work and I want to become as good as them or better if possible. So I’m never satisfied for long, but that is actually helping me to practice even more.

(N): What’s the mindset you have when you start working on a new artwork (what details you pay attention to, what goals do you want to achieve, etc.)?

(C): First of all it’s important that I have a rough idea on how the posing, expression etc. should be. Also it’s important that I don’t feel angry or impatient while drawing, because I wouldn’t be able to focus on the image in my head then. If everything is good, I’ll start with a rough draft on which I will draw a detailed sketch. Because of Wolfenstahl I have to pay attention to hands and fingernails as well as the form of the pumps/high heels and the faces. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t only draw those things because of Wolfenstahl alone, I like them myself, but I think I would not pay as much attention to it if I would draw something for myself. I love drawing faces. They always have to look pretty. And hair too! A pretty face alone isn’t working for me, so I always love to do a full mane of hair. The best thing is when I can draw long hair~ Also I like to draw busty and curvy girls and if I draw guys, I prefer to draw them very muscular.

tumblr_ntv842qsN01t1o20qo1_1280(N): Besides your art for Projekt Wolfenstahl’s titles you also do commissions. What are the main differences between your commissioned works and your PW ones? Are there any subjects (be them erotic themes and or titles) you enjoy drawing in particular?

(C): There isn’t much difference besides the time that I need to finish an artwork. The time I spend working on an artwork isn’t affected, but a. since I need to wait for feedback when drawing commissions and b. I only have 3 days a week where I can work on them, commissions tend to need about 3-4 weeks to get finished while the works for PW are done in a shorter period of time, somewhere between 2 to 7 days. Of course it always depends on the piece itself too, since a portrait can be drawn faster than a full body artwork.

Regarding the subjects I would enjoy to draw, kemonomimi [1] are always nice. Also I would like to draw characters of my favorite games and anime/manga once in a while^^ There is stuff that seriously lacks fanart. A good example is Fire Emblem. Sure, FE Awakening got a lot fanart and Fates seems to get a lot attention too, but some older titles like Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn etc. seem to be getting less love (PoR and RD are my absolute favorites by the way ;3). Regarding erotic stuff I think I like bondage topics, even though I feel that I’m not that good at drawing them because I don’t really have knowledge on the subject. So I always feel a bit pressured when someone commissions a bondage piece. Oh yeah, I would like to draw more handsome male characters. I’m always happy when someone commissions one. It really rarely happens. I mean, I enjoy drawing females too, no question, but sometimes I wish I could draw more males. I’m always afraid that I will forget how to properly draw them which would be very sad. Before Paperheads, I actually drew mostly males. Now it’s the other way around.

(N). Is there an artwork in your portfolio that you consider your favorite? If so, what makes it special?

tumblr_mvi21jCnTF1rtiyz0o1_1280(C): I do have artworks that I like a lot even if they are somewhat old, but I don’t think that I have a favorite. If I draw something I am a fan of and it turns out good, I will like it for a while until a new piece takes it’s place. So it’s mostly the new stuff that I prefer. From the older works I guess I still like “Wendy the Cat Witch” a lot. It’s already 2 years old, but I think for its time it was pretty much one of the best artworks I did back then. Sure, today I would draw some details differently, but I still think it looks pretty neat.

tumblr_myfzw8hziW1t1o20qo1_500Then the fanart topic. My favorite character of all favorite characters is Tibarn from Fire Emblem Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn, so I still enjoy looking at the artworks I drew with him.

This one (Caution NSFW!) for example was a “present” for myself (a parody version with a panty exists too XD) and this one was a commission with him and my Fire Emblem OC [2] Sylana, of which I’m still pretty proud of:

Beyond these artworks, I also like some of my concept speedpaints a lot,  just because the design looks so nice. They aren’t cleanly drawn, but I do enjoy looking at them once in a while. (Speedpainting 01 and 02). I guess those examples are enough. xD

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