Illustration / LudoNarraCon 2020 header commission & process for the LudoNarraCon Promo art!

In this dedicated blog post:

  • The 7 thematic header art!
  • Process for the LudoNarraCon illustration

Thematic Headers for LudoNarraCon 2020!

This online narrative games convention is starting in 8 hours, featuring a lot of cool game developers & games! See my original illustration commission post about it here from last week. And my interview here.

One reason I was busy in the past weekend and early this week, is because I had a sudden rush job to both repurpose the illustration, sketch up some new things & create new thematic art bundles as featured above. It was tricky as some things needed more to it, one needed to be drawn from scratch and more revisions/changes were needed but we made the most with what we had! I didn’t think I would work on this illustration again since I did this late last year but things turned out alright in the end 😀

Process for the LudoNarraCon Promotional illustration

Initial sketch stages: balloons taking stories to the skies

They wanted lots of narrative game themes represented, elements of storytelling, game development & writing involved as well as doing my version of the Fellow Traveller logo, girl and dog mascots.

Originally I was to represent both the real (research, sketches, books, diagrams, code, 3D, audio, writing, animation, graphs and other game development work) and imaginary (worlds, characters, genres, creatures, narrative driven play) coming to life from a game developer’s journal.

The art brief felt like a huge, vague illustration project with a lot of narrative themes and needed plenty of iteration but we had to keep it within scope and budget so I limited the art style, subject matter and colours during the later stages as best I could.

Lots of experimental thumbnails didn’t work. This early sketch survived from the others but it still felt convoluted to read and difficult to execute within the time frame I had. Balloons with too many busy strings! It didn’t look that good, readable or enjoyable to me to execute.

Also there used to be a coffee cup because that seems to be what game developers and many creatives depend on for fuel. I don’t drink coffee but tea instead so whatever floats your boat! ;P

Another iteration: becoming alive

What about fictional characters coming out of the stories? There’s less characters at least but I didn’t like the ghosty implication and it’s not really straightforward to read and understand. Art struggles with a vague/broad brief continued! This is the other side of the coin when you have to manage your limited time to problem solve, iterate, get approved and illustrate. I was determined to not work overtime as best I can :’)

Yes some of these characters didn’t survive and got disposed of. That’s what happens with concept art if it doesn’t work :’)

Another iteration: thematic bubbles

The actual first iteration I showed them because the earlier ones tried to do too many things and didn’t work. Here I threw potential random story moments into the bubbles and colour grouped them so I can get feedback on the overall concept and composition before we can progress from here.

After feedback we simplified the concept!

Some rounds of sketches, feedback and iteration followed. Here there’s less story bubbles and made it more like a “game developer working environment”. Though I feel like this is more of a fancy, homely kind of work space :0

More feedback & revision

Here I simplified and picked out story bubbles and made it more like a computer workstation as requested. Kept it simple with a table, laptop, mug, book and cute bread dog. In the end, attempting to do modular bubbles didn’t work or read well so they asked for a wall full of concept art and game developer notes instead.

This direction works super well for the brief as it helped plenty with simplifying and communicating the core themes of the conference. Plus there was no more time to iterate further on the concept from here. I went right to the final sketch/lineart stage from here to save on feedback and revision time.

Lineart stage for the illustration!

Aye lineart for this is also time consuming. Here I had to make up many more characters and concepts! See my previous post as I talk about those details. Kept the art style and colours distinct between the real world and game development/concept wall too.

It was fun doing the sketchy concept art wall 😀

Penultimate stage for approval

A few things they rightfully brought up was that the blue, purple and pink colours between real world and the wall were too distinct here and the LNC logo blended in too much. At the time, I was just glad I was close to finishing the illustration! Phew! :’)

Final illustration! Tah dah it’s finally done! We did it!

Thanks for reading! 😀

Now if it’s your kind of thing, please enjoy LudoNarraCon to learn from cool speakers, support compelling games and for some game narrative goodness!

Otherwise, please take care and enjoy your weekend!

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