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.

Our first artist hails from Germany; his name is Max Fiedler. He's a freelance illustrator and game designer. Drawing since he was a small child, Max has taken his passion and hobby and turned it into a living. Max is among select artists who will answered our call. The image shown above is his interpretation of Cave Story. It's a very original take on the main character using King's Blade. Enough from me, let's here from Max.

What are your tools of the trade?
I use pencil, ink ball pen, Flash (as an illustration tool) and Photoshop, all with a Wacom

What kind of advice can you offer someone interested in getting involved with artwork and digital media?
I'd say practice with lots of drawing. Push yourself and don't always follow the first idea that comes to your mind. Also, buy a sketchbook, sketch everyday and begin projects with little loose thumbnail sketches (that work for me pretty well).

What is your experience with Cave Story?
I'm really into games and independent games. So it wasn't difficult to find Cave Story. I think it was a friend who sent a link leading me to a site with the game. I was instantly addicted to the game. I love the super nice pixel-art and the mixture of Castlevania and Metroid themes combined into gameplay.

We've seen quite a few unique styles for the Cave Story paintings. Like the others, yours also stands out on its own. Can you give some info on the style you chose and how you were able to make the image look like this?
First of all, I'm really a sketchbook guy who loves to draw line art with pencil and ink. So the transition from the lineart/sketch to the vector illustration (without outlines) is very exciting for me. I really like the freedom vector art gives me in color and shape, the design though is always on paper (also not to have all my work digitally, which kind of scares me).

How long did it take?
The sketch was very fast, the flash process didn't took that much time either. After I drew everything in flash, I exported the illustration layer wise as png/bitmap files, doing the final compositing and colorize steps in photoshop. This somehow takes nearly the most amount of time. I guess it was around five hours all together.

What is some of your latest work?
Right now I'm working day and night for a flash jump-n-run game. It's for a permanent exhibition in Stuttgart » Haus des Waldes«. In the game children have to play their ecological footprint, here are some sneak peeks:

Where can people find your work?
On my flickr or go directly to My Site or the new Beta Site