Those among us who have followed the development blog may recall the time when we put out a call for artists, aptly titled, "Calling All Artists". We didn't specify why we were looking for artists, but in the coming weeks you're going to see why we did and what the artists who responded created in the form of fan art.
To give you a little bit of background, we asked them to create a scene, image or graphic that reminded them of Cave Story or even a particularly iconic scene--at least in their eyes. That was the extend of the information and direction they were given. We didn't want to affect their vision or creativity with limitations. What we got in return has been pure magic. Part of the reason we wanted to keep this secret is because we didn't even tell Pixel about this nice little surprise. Just as you're reading this for the first time, so is he.
This group of artists are all responsible for making some incredible artwork which you get to appreciate for the next three weeks and well into the future. To paint a better picture (sorry for the pun), we're going to give some info on each artist as well as show you some of their other works and links, in case you want to see more of them. I'm sure you will after today.
Continuing towards Cave Story's March 22nd (2010) launch we're going to be showing some of this fantastic artwork and while asking these very talented artists questions about themselves and how they created these works.
If you google the name Baz Pringle you get a page full of links related to 2D/3D artist, Baz Pringle. You'll also get a large number of pages all filled with incredible vector artwork, some 3D pieces and a few logos as well. One of those logos is the Bottle Rocket logo, which Baz created while at the studio. The London native has done artwork in games and digital media for over 20 years. Currently, he's a Senior Art Director for 2Advanced Studios. No, it's not a game development company, but probably one of the largest web development studios in the world, having worked with massive clients--including Nintendo.
According to Baz, his work at 2Advanced is quite varied. He primarily creates and produces 3D artwork, but some projects require that he also incorporate 2D, too. With so many different kinds of projects it's something that he enjoys doing, being able to work with a variety of software, in diverse arrays of styles.
How did you get involved in art?
I've always be involved. As a child it was my favorite pastime, and when it came time to choosing a profession, it didn't take too long to decide the direction to go in.
You've been heavily involved in the game industry. What are some of the past game projects you've worked and what have you done on them?
I've worked on video games such as Demolition Man, Twisted Metal III and 4, Rise of the Kasai, The Flash, and Splatterhouse, among others. I started writing simple little games for myself on the Commodore 64, and from there I've progressed through many of the systems, most recently producing art for games on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 platforms.
My roles have been quite varied; from 2D artist/animator, to 3D character modeler, to Special FX Artist, to Menu and Interface Designer. I've always crossed the lines between illustration and graphic design, so I've found myself working in a wide array of areas as a result.
What are some of your non-game projects you've done in the past?
I've work on a lot of websites and online projects, for clients including: Activision, T-Mobile, Warner Bros., LA Boxing, Alpine, Disney and Sony. Also, I produce illustrative work for print, such as editorial illustrations for Top Gear magazine and Popular Mechanics. I've also had the opportunity to work on a few TV commercials, including one for Korbel Champagne.
What are your tools of the trade?
I use a PC with Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, After Effects, and Zbrush. I use a scanner to import quite a few sketches and textures. The other piece of hardware I use extensively is my Wacom tablet.
What kind of advice can you offer someone interested in getting involved with artwork and digital media?
It's hard to know where to begin. I always recommend taking a degree if that's possible. If not, there are so many resources online and offline for people who would like to learn about the profession. The most important thing is to keep producing work and refining your skills.
Like anything, you'll get better the more you do it, and it can be disheartening when a piece doesn't work, but just keep in mind that it's all good experience. Even the failures are great educational exercises that will help bring you closer to your successes.
What is your experience with Cave Story? How did you learn about it?
I first learned of the project from a friend of mine. He pointed me to it and I loved the retro feel of the whole thing. It really makes a refreshing change to the current trend in games out there, and has a high level of originality that helps it stand out from the crowd.
Tell us about your choice for the pieces, you created a few.
The idea was to create a single poster, but as I worked on the images, it became apparent that each character really needed their own piece. They have so much character as individuals, the idea of a set just seemed obvious really.
What prompted you to choose the style for these images?
I love the simplified, retro feel of the game, and wanted to keep the posters simple to reflect that. I love minimal design too, so it was ideal for me to approach the pieces with simplicity in mind. I use retro, 8-bit style graphics in a lot of my illustrative work, so it made complete sense to incorporate that aspect of my work into these posters as well.
How long did it take you to put each together?
Once I had the sketches down for the characters, the actual execution of each piece was not long, possibly a day each. The longest and most challenging part was determining the style of the characters. Once this was defined, the rest really fell into place.
Do you have any work-ups from the process?
Unfortunately I don't have any work in progress shots, but I can say I started with sketching ideas in my notebook, and then recreating them in Illustrator. The style is meant to be super crisp and pure in its linework, so Illustrator was the natural choice of software for these pieces. As I mentioned earlier, once I refined the characters, I starting playing around with the composition and soon realized I could create a series of posters from the assets. I found having the characters super large just echoed the simplicity and purity of the game, so it seemed a perfect direction to go in.
See the full-size image at http://www.g66.co.uk/?p=1797
What's your latest painting?
My latest piece is a personal one I created after seeing an episode of "The Mighty Boosh"; it's an English comedy that I've recently started watching. In this one episode, the characters mention how polar bears cover their noses when hunting, so as to surprise their prey.
Apparently some argument whether this is indeed true, but never the less, I thought it would make an excellent idea for an illustration. Most of my personal work is inspired by pop culture, so I'll often create a piece based on something that has recently influenced me in some manner; be it a music track, a TV show, or a video game such as Cave Story.
Should we expect you to play Cave Story on Wii in the near future?
Absolutely yes. I'll look forward to sitting down and playing it on my Wii in the very near future.