Artwork, Design, and Bringing Monsters to Life
5 months ago
– Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 09:15:30 AM
Good morning, brigands!
As we near our $20,000 "art upgrade" stretch goal, I thought I'd talk a bit about the artwork of Brinkwood and the design process we go through for each piece.
Content Warning: The rest of this update will contain references to and images of art that features blood, gore, corpses, and monstrous toothed horrors. If that doesn't feel like your scene, maybe skip this update!
First off, you might notice that much of our art features a restricted color palette, with our artists working primarily in greyscale with sharp accents of red to highlight certain elements in the image. This was a decision made early on to try and "unify" the visual aesthetic of multiple artists, as well as to present a distinct, thematic art style for Brinkwood as a whole.
For the "scene" art brought to you by Olivia Rea, we start with the germ of an idea, pitched to the team as a way to try to capture something special or unique to Brinkwood. For example...
We started with the idea to invert or subvert the common trope and visual image of a vampire sitting on a throne while sipping the blood of innocents. We knew we wanted a vampire, assassinated in their lair, with the words "Blood of Tyrants" graffiti-ed over them. We pitched it to Olivia, who took the idea and ran with it, filling in cool details such as the reflective floor, the red fletching of the arrows, the torn curtains, and the shattered furniture on the floor. These elements combine to tell a very clear, very exciting story.
When we go about designing monsters, the process starts with our narrative monster designer, O. Hybridity. O has a talent for weaving monsters together that fit both the individual aesthetics and themes of the various vampire lords, but also grounding them in the setting, military priorities, and environmental conditions of the vampires they serve and the domains they inhabit. For example, the Organist's design is particular in how they serve as an impromptu "signal corps" for vampire armies, the organ upon their back able to bellow forth commands, signals, and alarms for quite the distance. Additionally, the design fits the theming of the Countess, showing what happens to artists who do not live up to her exacting standards, and showing the literal "weight" that artists who wish to succeed in her domain (and perhaps in ours) must carry in order to simply survive under the heel of blood rent.
From there, the design is translated into a reference document, and in this case, passed on to Steph, who put her unique spin on the creation. Steph is known for the fantastic, bestial, and wide-mawed monsters she creates, and the Organist hits those marks in spades. Steph added a wide, impressive maw to the Organist's back, mimicking, at least in my view, the infamous "blood eagle" of viking lore. A special CW for blood and gore if you decide to look that term up. Furthermore, Steph really brought home the scale and size of the organ, making it an impressive, imposing feature of the final design, while adding flourishes of sinew, decorate woodwork, and bloody steel piping to bring it into congruence with the rest of the Organist's hunched, withered form. The final result is impressive indeed:
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the work of Myca, whose first art with us (along with additional pieces from Steph!) this upcoming stretch goal will fund. Myca came to our attention for her work in distinctive, monstrous designs that incorporated natural elements alongside the horrific, and her chimera-like mashups of straight-up nightmares. If you're curious about what's next for Brinkwood, I highly recommend perusing Myca's portfolio for a sneak peak into her style.
Whew! OK, I think that's enough monsters for now. In a future update, I'll talk more about the work of our cover artist and vampire designer, Mohamed Saad, as well as the Masks of Brinkwood and the unique icons designed for them.
See you in the forest soon, comrades!