Interview with Madara, P90 Neoqueen & AWP Duality Creator

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Interview with Madara, AWP Duality skin creator, skins cs:go, revolution case, drama

We love chatting about skins, don’t we? CS.MONEY Blog proudly presents the newest series of interviews with skincreators from Revolution Case! Madara, creator of P90 NeoQueen and AWP Duality, opens up.

This story is about how a tattoo artist quit his job, risked everything for skins and believed in a dream. He found a mentor (or rather, she found him) and worked hard on himself and his skins (but in the end, Valve accepted the one he abandoned a long time ago). Madara talks skins, discusses the Doodle Lore incident, tells about the sticker from his dream, reveals project Eternity which combines Half-Life, CS:GO and Portal, and much more!

How a tattoo artist became a skinmaker

You are a tattoo artist. Tell me about your work.

To be honest, when I started doing skins, I quit tattoos. Actually, it happened because of skins. I saved up a little money a couple of years ago, about $5k, and left work to study how to make skins day and night. It was impossible to work and make skins at the same time, you can have time only for one or for the other. Especially at the very beginning, you have to learn everything and study the apps; it was all new for me. And I sat like that every day until five in the morning, waking up at 11 o’clock.

Why did you take this leap of faith?

One day my younger brother, who plays CS:GO, visited us. I wasn’t into CS at the time. I brought my wife an art I made, a dragon. My brother also looked and said: “Why don’t you draw in CS? It has skins, lots of money, and people do it.” And I didn’t even know that Valve accepted ordinary people; I thought that it was the developers who made skins.

And I went to YouTube to see how it works. I found Hexeth’s interview with Alermo, looked it up and was very inspired. I started trying, and… it didn’t work at all. And I gave up but still followed Hexeth on Instagram. At the time, I couldn’t believe how cool it was. I watched his Stories for two years: he buys a new Dodge or new Balenciaga sneakers, and all that. And I thought I still needed to try, only this time seriously. I decided to quit my job and go all in.

Basically, I wasn’t only making skins for CS:GO, I also did a lot in Rust. And this helped me a lot. I was accepted into Rust after three months. And this money supported me since my pockets were almost empty. That first Rust acceptance allowed me to buy a new PC, and then I got accepted repeatedly, and Rust fed me, but I worked for CS:GO.

Blazer’s Mentorship, the style, and P90 Neoqueen

Your first acceptance was M4A1-S Night Terror for the Dreams & Nightmares case. It was a fixed pay of $100K from Valve, right? 

Yes. We made this skin in collaboration with Blazer. By the way, she is the author of the NeoNoir collection. We divided the money, and I moved to Bali to start working there.

Let’s start with your P90 Neoqueen, which is also in the case, since it’s 100% made by you. And it was the first one to get into the case. Tell me about the skin, please.

Why was I working with Blazer? She knows how to model and has done lots of high-poly models. And I just drew and made designs. Then I started learning Blender 3D and made my first collection. And for some reason, I wanted to do a sci-fi-styled P90. I originally made three skins: green, blue and pink. And then, the idea came to drop the fourth one, just add some art to it to make it different from the others.

Basically, my style originates from tattoos. I started tattooing snakes and girls. All novice tattoo artists generally do them, and it’s a specific style. And I just did what I knew best. In fact, I can only draw girls, snakes, birds and flowers; this is what I am more or less good at. I’ve been tattooing for ten years and got my hands on these things. And I transfer them to CS.

Also, I love neon palettes. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to adapt because I have a different style. And then I started experimenting, and it looked good.

Why did you choose to make P90 NeoQueen purple as the float changes?

Initially, I was just playing with colours, which I do for all weapons. But some have a lot of plastic parts or a lot of metal parts. And the colour changes only on metal ones, which look beautiful on certain guns, but on P90, the whole body changes. So I tried to make the usual colour where it changed not systematically as if the rust grew or the clip got worn. But in general, it just looks beautiful.

Before posting, you usually look at how to make your skin wear out. I tried different options and liked this one, so I left it like that.

In general, I am eternally grateful to Blazer for noticing me, mentoring and teaching a lot. I grew up with her.

AWP Duality, The Unexpected Sub

You and Blazer also made AWP Limbo, which ended up being called Duality, after your other skin.

This is so strange! Blazer was initially glad they took Duality, but in the end, it turned out that this was a different skin, and Valve changed the name.

Did you know that Duality will be a sub skin for the case?

No, it was absolutely random. My friend called me in the morning and woke me up saying, “You have another Accept!” At first, I thought about Rust, I didn’t believe him because the case had already been released a couple of days ago.

That is, Valve did not contact you in any way.

Yes, I just received an email, as all skinmakers do. “Congratulations, you have been chosen,” and that’s it. No dialogues.

Moreover, I was surprised because it was an old AWP. At that time, my skill was, roughly speaking, on a completely different level: you can see how it was designed and all that. Only now, I’m starting to see how best to implement ideas for CS:GO weapons. And then it was a clumsy vision originating from tattoos. I planned to redo it entirely. Turns out, I was too late. (laughs) 

AWP Duality has a caption about two snakes, yin-yang and all that. Doesn’t it bother you that your art is unseen in-game because it’s on the right side of the gun?

I know, but still, it’s just an additional cool thing. Everyone makes identical sides, and I thought, why not make them different? And the story itself came up along the way. Initially, I drew a serpent, and its contours also looked beautiful. And I couldn’t decide which one to pick. The trick with AWP is that you can make two different sides. Then, when we had already made a two-sided skin, we also made Duality (the original one – ed.) and made two different colours on different sides. We liked the idea itself, even thought about making a collection with different sides for these guns.

About Doodle Lore and Duality

I can’t help but ask: what do you feel about this change by Valve?

First, to be honest, I didn’t even think that Doodle Lore would be removed. I looked at what Jimmba copied from: yes, this is, of course, a copy in terms of style and colours, he did the same thing exactly. But he redrew everything himself to fit the AWP. In fact, it wasn’t a simple “take an image and apply it to a skin,” rather, he completely redid it. It’s like abibas and adidas. In theory, no one can take him to court for this, although I’m not a lawyer. So I was surprised that they replaced it. Maybe Valve just didn’t want scandals.

How do I feel about it? Well, a lot of people do that. And Jimmba just did it too similarly. If he took other colours, no one would even notice, most likely. I don’t respect people who take images and just apply them. This is the most dishonest. You must do something yourself. And he, somehow, did it between “100% himself” and “0% himself.” It’s hard to judge, though.

I have very strange emotions about this Valve’s acceptance as a whole. I can’t even rejoice because so many things are pressing on me. I understand perfectly what it is like when you are almost given a new life. You have already planned what car you will buy, kissed your wife and told her how your life would change … And then this new life is taken from you. That’s a severe tilt. And I feel guilty. I understand that I am not involved, as I did not show or say “Hey, Valve, take my AWP instead.” For me, this is a surprise. But it weighs on me mentally. Plus, it’s still pressing that some players could get used to and love Doodle Lore and will say that they liked the old skin more.

Although, in general, I’m fine with the fact that people can talk differently about skins in comparison. But this one was replaced, so the context is slightly different, especially since I wanted to redo it! And I didn’t have time, and I’m even a little ashamed. Overall, this whole situation is bizarre. I’m happy but very oddly happy. At the same time, I have anxiety and worry a lot—a strange feeling in my chest.

Inspirations and Project Eternity

When you draw, how do you choose a concept? These days, understanding CS:GO skins.

My skins, especially the latest ones, have no art. They rarely become popular. But I sometimes try to merge these things. My Irezumi collection was made specifically as a Blue skin. I did them realising what CS:GO needs and how Valve could choose Blue skins. And there are more chances to get accepted if you do Blue skins.

Well, and I just love snakes. For example, I first made a base for Duality, but it looked empty. And I thought, what if I make an engraving? What can I do? Snakes and flowers. Well, and I made snakes. First, on P90, I liked the way it looked. When you know how to do it, it becomes easier for you. The main thing is to make one skin; creating a collection afterwards is pretty quick and easy.

The most exciting idea I had was the Eternity collection. It grew with time. I figured out how to make “animated” textures when I started making skins. And I didn’t know how to implement it correctly: I understood how to make the effect, but I had no thoughts on how to make it in the game. I could do it on a gun, but there would be no point, and this would never have been accepted into CS:GO. At that time, I didn’t think about design or anything. And when I posted the skin with this effect, Blazer noticed me. She suggested that she does textures and I do effects. And we redid everything, came up with the idea that there would be a screen where the words would change. And we didn’t know what to add to the small screen of P90, so we decided to make a smiley face with Xs and Os. And after that, when it began to look cool, you immediately get that lore idea. “Oh, it could be an artificial intelligence gun!” And this idea has become so developed that I constantly think about it. It even got to the point that I made a website. I came up with a story that is embedded in the lore of CS, Hal-Life, and Portal.

I wanted to surprise people since there is no other way. True, of course, ordinary players do not pay attention to this. They don’t care. This, probably, was a piece dedicated to Valve and for skin connoisseurs who like to dig deeper.

Besides CS:GO and Rust, have you considered modelling anything else?

No, actually, no. But I’m opening my tattoo place in Bali. If anything happens, I will earn money on what I know with what I am confident. Of course, you get much more in CS, and I don’t want to return to tattoos.

I never wanted to work for anyone. I am a creative person. For example, I even studied music. I wrote the soundtrack for project Eternity’s website. It was my old project Jezabel, some kind of techno music. And it had a logo. But then I burned out with it, tried for many years and had no success, I gave up, because, long story short, it’s too hard to get on the labels. But this theme remained in my heart. And this logo is on the front side of M4A1-S Night Terror. And P90 also has it. This is purely my musical sadness expressed on skins.

Biggest pride, dream-born sticker, & other skinmakers

Which skin are you most proud of?

Glock 18 Renegade. I managed to make it look as if the bullets were glowing. They glow up if a player passes near lamps. Take a look at the GIF in my Workshop; you’ll see that when the light hits your fingers, it looks like the bullets are the source of the glare. This is realism 101. No one will pay attention to such detail because, for our brain, it’s normal. But if this were not the case, our brains would doubt reality. And here, everything is in place. I love hardworking over such moments.

You also made Valve-accepted stickers. Was it easier to get into the game with them?

These stickers have an exciting story. So, two last days of the CSGO10 contest. I felt sad because I hadn’t done anything for it. But I had some ideas, so I drew three stickers and went to bed. And I dreamed as if I were telling my younger brother about a sticker where a CT falls down on Vertigo. Wow! So I sat down, drew this sticker, posted it and … they accepted two of the first three and this one, which I had a dream about!

Could you name your favourite skinmakers and their works?

I love de_puiseau very much. His MAC-10 Pipe Down is simply divine. Technically, I mean, because it’s certainly not very textured, like his P90 Vent Rush with all the scratches and etc. And this is such a clean skin. I was completely taken aback when I saw it for the first time. How does it even work? I respect him very much.

And I also admire DasDas. His AK-47 Rat Rod and other skins. All of his work is simply amazing. He is cool. I probably respect him the most, the way he sees the textures, implements the design. The most interesting and mind-blowing thing about him is that skinmakers usually model their weapons, then bake them and just post. And he did his AWP Aerodynamics in Photoshop. This weapon finish has a completely different form, a very cool design. And it turned out that he did not even model it. He just squeezed it all out in Photoshop without modelling. That is a superb skill. In simple terms, it’s like kindling a fire not with a lighter but with the help of a stick that you screw.

This and other interviews with skinmakers from Revolution Case, Recoil Case, as well as with pro players, are available on the Celebrities tab of our Blog. Come visit us in a while, as we plan to release interviews with the authors of SCAR-20 Fragments, SG553 Cyberforce, MP5 Liquidation and many more!

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