Hi, I’m Raven Krupnow, I work on VoZ as a 2D artist. My most recent task has been creating the art for the Swarm of Rats card, a Minion card for the Void Realm. I’m here to offer you a look behind the scenes at how it was made, from the first rough scribbles to the polished final work.
The first step was finding the right look for the rats. Exploring different possibilities, even those that seem less promising than others, is key to finding a unique and compelling look. My goal was to create a design that would be creepy and otherworldly, but most importantly to make sure the rats did not look boring.
I explored the possibility of an undead horde, mangy sewer rats, mutant rats, and rats with mystical markings. The markings were an immediate keeper, they fit with the world and added interest to an otherwise somewhat mundane looking creature.
After some more refined sketches to explore the different looks, the team decided the mutant rat was the right way to go, along with a mix between the most successful marking designs.
The next step was finding the right colors to bring the rats to life, and I explored a plethora of options before it was decided that sticking with a classic Void purple would lend the best feel and cohesiveness.
The final result is a mystical looking creature, with a large jaw and sharp teeth that give the rats a dangerous and unnatural look. With the final design selected, it was time to make the turnaround that the 3D artists will use as reference for sculpting the 3D model that will appear in the game. The goal of a turnaround is to provide as much visual information as possible, and create a cohesive whole that makes it easier to translate the creature to a 3D environment.
With the look of the rats settled on, it was finally time to start sketching up ideas for the card art itself. After initial brainstorming and rough sketches, I worked up thumbnail sketches of the four strongest directions, which were then presented to the team. The fourth thumbnail was chosen for the final direction, and my next step was to work the thumbnail up into a refined sketch.
A refined sketch needs to show everything that will be in the final work. It doesn’t hurt to get the lighting and values in, because the goal is to give as accurate a representation as possible of what the final work will look like.
While still keeping things rough, I was sure to include all the major areas of light and dark, and an idea of what the background would look like, since previously I had left it blank. I also refined the poses of the rats in the background, and gave some definition to the fur of the main rat to show how I was going to handle its rendering.
At this stage in the process it’s still easy to make changes to the piece before moving ahead with the final art, so it is an ideal time to get feedback and adjust things to work better. After presenting it to the team I got a lot of helpful instructions on how to best move forward, and with all the compositional changes decided on, it was time to start looking at what colors would create the best mood for the card.
Just like with the concept art, I explored many different color palettes, and presented the best four to the team. After discussing the pros and cons, a hybrid between #3 and #4 was decided on, and it was time to start painting the final piece.
Even at the final stage, there can be changes that need to be made. The first completed version I presented to the team had some problem areas that needed to be addressed. I had to go back in and give more definition to the skull fragments in the foreground, darken the main rat’s teeth to make them stand out against the light background, and give the rat’s eye a more intense glow. It’s important to make sure it’s clear to the viewer what everything in the piece is, and to not miss any opportunities to optimize the art’s visual impact. Small adjustments like these can take a piece to a new level and make it that much more effective.
Finally, after making sure everything was clearly defined and making a good impact on the viewer, the final art was ready for the game.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the process of creating the 2D art of Visions of Zosimos. Don’t forget to stop by now and then for more behind-the-scenes glimpses into the game’s development.