(Above: Illustrations from the Beautiful Death Series.)
HBO commissioned London-based artist Robert Ball to create Beautiful Death, a series of illustrations depicting Game of Thrones' most iconic deaths – valar morghulis, after all. To date, Ball has created 50 works – one for every episode of the series.
Recently, Ball discussed how he went from casual Thrones fan to bona fide HBO artist, his favorite Beautiful Death illustration and much more.
HBO: What's your background?
Robert Ball: I studied illustration and graphic design in college. I was always drawing when I was a kid. I'd draw the wallpaper if I could. I was a graphic designer for 13 years and then two years ago I swapped careers—I went out on my own and started doing illustration. At the moment, I work from home. I make comic books and I do illustration. It's lovely following my vocation.
HBO: Prior to the Beautiful Death series, had you depicted Game of Thrones in any illustrations?
Robert Ball: I had done a picture of Jon Snow (below). When you're starting out during illustration, you have to build a portfolio, so you draw things that you're into. Game of Thrones was such a big TV show at the time—and still is—it just seemed like a good thing to do. That's how you get followers and a reputation.
HBO: And that's how the network found you?
Robert Ball: Someone at HBO was just looking through a book and just happened to see it. It's a million in one chance. They invited me to pitch for the project. There were a few weeks before I found out if I got the job, during which I was terrified—I'm such a big fan. It's my favorite program on TV and even then it was the biggest program on TV. I was pretty nervous about it. I had just gone out to the cinema when I got the call…. I couldn't believe it. It is a dream job.
Read the full interview on HBO Connect.