What can I say, we’re gluttons for punishment. After our infamous “skip” interview with Toby Fox, we reached out to Temmie Chang, artist extraordinaire over at Studio Yotta and only-other-person-who-worked-on-incredibly-successful-indie-darling Undertale. According to her wikia, she’s credited as logo designer, cutscene artist, overworld artist, animator, shop artist, and tile artist. She also created some of the game’s characters and co-created several more with Toby Fox. Seems she contributed a whole lot of beautiful things to the oh-so-pretty Undertale! Anyways, Temmie graciously agreed to answer our questions, and I’m glad to report that none of her answers included the word “skip”, although one is just a cat face emoji. Love that cat face emoji.
Existential Gamer: What’s your origin story? Where did you grow up and what kind of a kid were you?
Temmie Chang: I grew up in a boring suburb. I didn’t really do much or go out really I just drew a lot and read a lot of manga and watched a lot of fan animations.
EG: How formative was manga and anime on your life as you grew up?
TC: Very!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dunno what formative means but I sure did read a lot of shoujo manga.
EG: How did you start drawing, what role did it play in your life, and what made you want to continue?
TC: Started when I was very young! I don’t really remember what made me do it intensely, probably a strong desire to live through fantasy and drawing was the best way I could immerse myself. My mom was very supportive of my interest in art so I went to a lot of fine arts type classes like life-painting classes and an art summer camp I attended for 5 years (with scholarship). Not sure what made me continue, I guess I had a lot of fun drawing mixed in with some pride in it and interest for other people’s work and I had no reason to stop really.
EG: Have you ever thought of stopping?
EG: What other artists do you look up to?
TC: Probably one of my biggest inspirations is Tatsuya Yoshikawa!! And really any artists that helped out with the concept art in the Breath of Fire series. Breath of Fire (namely 3) is one of my hugest inspirations and definitely helped shape what I wanted to be as an artist when I grew up.
EG: Are there any artists or writers you would recommend to newbies?
TC: I think that’s entirely up to the taste of the person. Personally for me I’m a heavy fan of fantasy JRPG anime stuff, but that might not be what someone else is into. The internet is a great resource to find new artists, browse through tumblr/instagram/nabaroo etc and find art you find that attracts you! Then look at their inspirations and artists they look up to. Also museums are cool to look at.
EG: What was the most difficult moment of your work on Undertale? Did you encounter any major obstacles?
TC: Really the major obstacle was school, lol, Undertale took a lot more time than expected and it bled into my senior year so I couldn’t really contribute as much toward the later part of the game.
EG: How did you meet Toby Fox, and what made you decide to work with him on the game?
TC: He messaged me on tumblr quite awhile ago saying my art was cool and asked if i wanted to help out with the game he wanted to make (Undertale) and i was like, sure, ya! I was still in school and wasn’t doing much else at the time and i liked his music and taste so…
EG: How have you dealt with the incredible success of Undertale and the rapid development of that fandom?
TC: It honestly didn’t hit me until I went to Magfest, lol, I guess when things are on the internet it doesn’t seem like anything but then when you face it in real life, well, it’s certainly a lot bigger than I was interpreting it. I guess not a whole bunch changed in my personal life so I wasn’t really aware. It sure is neat though!
EG: Have you developed any er… strange admirers from your work on Undertale?
TC: Hah! I guess so, although I try not to pay any mind to it if I notice. I should probably mention I’m dating someone but that always feels intrusive to just plug in.
EG: It seems like Undertale-themed Hentai cropped up incredibly quickly following the release of the game. How did you feel when you first saw it, and have your feelings about it changed at all?
TC: I don’t really like to acknowledge it, lol, but I guess people will draw porn of what they wanna, who am I to judge? I would prefer Tem porn to be tagged temmoi though, etc, since i’m concerned for younger audiences searching for the characters online.
EG: One of the characters in the game is named after you. Has that been a weird experience?
TC: It’s been somethin!! I do really appreciate though that a lot of people have found me through the inclusion of the mascot character!
EG: How did you and Toby work on the art for Undertale? What was your workflow like, and did you use his concepts as inspiration or just do your own thing and send it over his way?
TC: It was a bit of a shuffle!
EG: Do you plan on working on any other games in the near (or far) future?
EG: Do you plan on working with Toby again?
EG: If I say ‘the most amazing illustrator/writer nobody knows about’, who comes to mind?
EG: What are you most excited about doing in 2016?
TC: Workin on my own little side project!! Its not gonna be anything too big but its been a lot of fun working on it on and off.
EG: What’s the videogame you’ve played the most in your entire life?
TC: most..? I guess Pokemon since there’s so many.. I’m not very good at games though, I just like to play them here and there.
EG: Is there a videogame you’d qualify as having your ‘favorite art’?
TC: Breath of Fire 3! and 4! And 5 has some beautiful concept art!
EG: How and when do you think the world will end?