Meet Camo Connoisseur, Joe Skinner

Simms: So tell us how your journey into the world of concealment began?
Skinner: Hmmm, well I guess I’d have to say it started when I was in the military in 08. But it wasn’t until around 2010 that I really started to get into hunting and outdoor activities. So I guess it was during this span that I really started to get into the game. At the time, the US army was using that pixelated digital stuff that was very monochromatic, grey/green color. For the life of me, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around why they went with this pattern because it was really only operational in gravel pits. It really kind of bothered me and sowed the seeds of what I guess you could call an obsession.

Simms: And your thoughts were similar in the camo you were seeing being marketed to hunters?
Skinner: Pretty much. When I got into hunting, I immediately jumped in to what I thought to be the most challenging type — bow hunting. Like today, back then there were just tons of camo companies and patterns to choose from but I just felt like all of the camos out there were extremely limiting. It was just all what’s referred to as mimicry patterns. Patterns depicting realistic tree branches, or leaves and things like that. That’s all fine and good for very specific backdrops but nothing out there offered the versatility I was after.

Simms: Was there any one moment when you made a conscious decision to make an attempt to create a better solution?
Skinner: Yeah. I was sitting there in a treestand, just waiting as you do in a treestand. I was just kind of looking around paying close attention to the surroundings and I started to make associations with design ideas relating to nature. I started to wonder, are there any camo patterns out there that incorporate these ideas? Can I do it? Maybe I should try it…I’ll just try it for fun. So from there, I really just kind of started tooling around with software that allowed me to plug in different mathematical concepts and ideas into patterns that I could manipulate. So in essence, I was able to create imagery based on math found in nature.

Simms: How would you describe your camo creation process?
Skinner: Veil patterns are based on the way nature is built rather than copying nature with photo real imagery. It’s about organically creating camo that works in a way that fools the eye.

Simms: Having said that, what is the Veil Difference?
Skinner: It’s not one specific thing, it’s a collection of many things linked together in a powerful way. At Veil, we have a four-tier approach. We utilize basic camouflage theory, mathematical ideas found in nature, color palettes derived from a target environment, and scientific data based on what the target animal can see, and perceive.

Simms: So since the relationship between Simms and Veil began, you’ve developed a couple of patterns, River Camo and Cloud Camo. Both of which were huge successes. If you had one word to describe the brand new Riparian Camo pattern, what would it be?
Skinner: Exciting.

Simms: In your mind, is Riparian Camo just another fish focused camo pattern? Or is it a better pattern?
I wouldn’t say it’s a better pattern necessarily. I’d say that Riparian camo is an evolution. Let’s not forget, River Camo was our first foray into a camo design based on what fish see and perceive. In my mind, for its intended environment, we nailed it with River Camo. With Riparian – what I really wanted to do is extend the design philosophy behind River Camo and open it up to a broader set of environments and situations so that more people could benefit from this idea or this type of concealment.

Simms: After hearing that, it sounds like your goal was to make Riparian Camo a more diverse pattern. Is that true?
Yes. I would. When you look at how we’ve opened the pattern up and changed the shades, I mean, you see a lot of the same design philosophies. You see a lot of the same surface turbulence as if seen from shallow water, but you look at the shades and shapes and the way it moves and the way it flows – it definitely opens it up for more environments, more situations, and really more regions around the country which is again why it’s so exciting. This pattern will definitely wade right into the same territory that River Camo operates.

Simms: When Veil was tasked with another pattern, how did you go about it. In other words, what were some of the changes you wanted to make?  
I think for me, one of the main things I wanted to do was to open the pattern up a little bit more. What I mean by that is I wanted to make those shapes a little bit more analogous to more than just the region River Camo addressed. To that end, Riparian Camo works against rockier outcroppings, dense foliage, and exposed backdrops. That is what I would say the biggest thing we wanted to accomplish with this design in order for this pattern to truly be what we consider the “next evolution”.

Simms: When you say open up the pattern. Does that mean making the hard lines of the shapes bigger and more expansive?
Yeah. That’s a good way to think of it. I mean when you compare it to River Camo, it’s pretty obvious. River Camo has a much tighter look, and feel, and texture. Riparian Camo allows a little more breathing room between those lighter and darker tones.

Simms: What did you think when Simms approached you to create another fish focused camo pattern?
Honestly, I was kind of like – well, we really already kind of nailed it. But, once we started digging into the design goals that you guys were after, it really became apparent that there were things we could do to broaden the application with a new pattern. Again, with that in mind, I immediately started opening the pattern up by expanding the shapes in a way that they would ebb and flow and make the pattern we ended up with a little more versatile.

Simms: But all the same principles and theories that Veil has built its name and reputation on were utilized?
For sure. We did try and play a little bit more with the idea of surface turbulence in the water but not too much. Once we started going down that road, we realized if you go too far, it really starts fighting against you. But other than that, absolutely, the same concepts and theories were applied, we just simply tweaked them to meet the end goal of the pattern. In the end, the colors, tones, and textures came out beautiful – we are incredibly stoked on this pattern and can’t wait to see the angling community’s response.

Check Out the Complete
Riparian Camo Collection