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 you’re going to see why we did and what the artists who responded created in the form of fan art.
Cave Story is officially available on WiiWare and we've been nothing but excited about the support from players as well all the artists who put in the effort to make these paintings.
You've probably already seen this stunning painting on Kotaku's Wall. It was created from the mind of England-based artist, Christopher Reavey. He previously worked as an administrator at a studio in Camberley, but now he puts his artistic skills to even better use making his own works. Reavey is in the first phases of drawing his own sci-fi comic that he plans to publish in Belgium.
How did you get your nickname, Glitcher?
I've been a fan of video game glitches all my life. They mean more to me than ordinary tricks or codes that were programmed into the games, because they often lead to unexpected secrets that bring a new level of depth to the gameplay. Their effects can even be the source of new ideas, such as how a timing glitch in Street Fighter II inspired the combo system. But most importantly, I derive a sort of perverse pleasure seeing aspects of the game the developers didn't want us to.
How did you get involved in artwork?
Wow, I think I knew I wanted to be an artist when I won a neighbourhood art competition in Kuwait when I was five. Since then, most of my earliest work involved Mega Man fan art. I've been a fan of robots all my life, and the colourful, thematic designs of the franchise somehow struck a chord with me. I loved to design my own Robot Masters and Mavericks, but I later branched out to different games and cartoons in an effort to expand my style. It was in 2000 when I was awestruck by the work of an artist called Rina Cat that I made the move to digital art. I always try to learn something new with each illustration, whether it be a different method of shading or a clever sleight-of-hand in Photoshop. Unlike most artists, I try to avoid attention with a deviantArt gallery, because I feel it's more important to judge my work by my own standards rather than someone else's.
What are your tools of the trade?
My two main art applications are Photoshop CS4 and openCanvas 4.5. While I have a Wacom Graphire3 tablet, I still prefer to draw all my stuff paper first because it feels more natural. I typically paint everything in openCanvas first, then make colour adjustments and add textures in Photoshop.
What kind of advice can you offer someone interested in getting involved with artwork and digital media?
For drawing: practice. For digital media: research. There's nothing you can't draw with a good education and long hours at your desk. Still, even experienced artists might be hampered by inadequate knowledge of image editors. While YouTube provides many tutorials to help artists make the step to digital media, I personally would recommend reading Scott Kelby's Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks.
What is your experience with Cave Story?
I, like many others, have to doff my hat to Pixel for delivering a wonderful game filled with lovable characters, challenging bosses, superb level design and awesome music, which he created all on his tod. It's a game I've revisited many times, but I only beat it a full two years after I first played it because Ballos is unfathomably hard. It made me realize that there's no one to monitor the difficulty level during development of an indie game. :p
Tell us about your choice for this painting. This is another iconic image from the game and one that big fans and players will instantly recognize.
I wanted to draw a scene that featured [the main character] with either Curly Brace or Sue rather than fighting by himself, because the friendships they develop are at the heart of the game. While illustrating their first encounters seemed like the obvious choice, I felt this scene was a turning point in the adventure, because it was the first in a series of tasks to ensure that Curly Brace made it through with him to the end. I also realized that the air tank bubble could serve as a source of dramatic lighting in the underwater crypts, and I had a lot of fun exaggerating it to an energetic extreme.
How long did it take you to put together?
About a week. It doesn't sound impressive, but the commission came at an awkward time in my life. I was moving out to London last year, so I had to juggle between packing away my belongings, cleaning up the apartment, selling off the furniture on eBay and squeezing in a few hours in front of the computer. I've never been so exhausted in my life, but I still welcomed the challenge because the pressure of a tight deadline often pushes me to reach new heights.
Do you have any in-progress images of the painting or can you tell us how you started the process of putting it together
Here's an example of different stages of the painting. I almost never get the sketch right, so I often spend time fixing proportions and rearranging the background before inking. The bubble was the most interesting element to paint. That was accomplished with a novel use of openCanvas' Lighting filter and creating a custom brush in Photoshop to paint the small bubbles surrounding it. Like I said, I try to learn something new with each illustration.
Where can people find your work?
I mentioned that my deviantArt gallery is defunct, but I do have a portfolio available online: http://glitcher.carbonmade.com/
What's your latest painting?
AI recently completed work on a short Sonic the Hedgehog comic. I intended to use it as practice for an original comic, as well as to get myself into the rhythm of working long hours on an elaborate colour comic.