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July 23, 2013 / KingsIsle Entertainment

A Day in the Life of a KingsIsle Artist

This concept was painted for a zone in Aquila.  I actually did not have a lot of changes that I wanted to see after this was completed. I basically gave the artist some notes up front on the structure seen in the foreground.  Other than that he had the freedom to just make a cool piece of art!

Today Art Lead Melissa Preston gives us a walk-through of what it’s like to walk in her shoes!  See some of the amazing work she does with Pirate101 to give you the characters and environments you know and love in the game.

Every morning after I get myself organized for the day, I begin to review the art work that was completed or in progress from the day before.  This is my favorite part of the day because this is the time when I really get to focus on just looking at the art and thinking about how each piece fits into the larger puzzle.  Does it fit within the design and tone? Is the work consistent with the established style?  All of the pieces have to work together to tell a story and they need to be believable in the same world.  There are a lot of considerations that have to be made along the way, and I need to be prepared to give productive feedback to each artist on the team on a daily basis including concept artists, character and environments artists, UI artists, and FX artists.

tiger1


The final concept shown below came after a few iterations with sketches and rough ideas.  We wanted the tigers to be strong but they still needed to look agile.  We ended up going with a sleeker silhouette that captured the strength and agility of the tiger race much better than the earlier versions
The final concept shown above came after a few iterations with sketches and rough ideas. We wanted the tigers to be strong but they still needed to look agile. We ended up going with a sleeker silhouette that captured the strength and agility of the tiger race much better than the earlier versions

My day to day also includes reviewing story and design material and determining what art will be needed to support the game.  This is where I begin to generate art tasks.  I take all written descriptions, concept art, consider potential challenges the artist may face with the task, and provide estimates for task completion.

marleybone-sky1

marleybone-sky2 The two sky images above are color studies one of our concept artists made for the Marleybone Skyway in Pirate101. I wanted something that evoked a bit of the familiarity with the time of day from Wizard101 but add a touch of rising sun in the distance to subvert that just slightly. The first image had more of a bright moonlit look and a touch of green in the upper clouds which felt like a storm was brewing. I wanted to achieve a mood that evoked a dark foggy alley way lit by gas lamps at night.

I generally have a wider view of the happenings inside and outside of the art department, so I try to make sure the artist working on a particular task is aware of anything that may affect or influence what they may be working on.

The writers needed the artist to add a suitable place to teleport the player to a location within this zone.  It didn’t seem like there was an ideal existing location that was out of the way of player traffic.  We decided to add a bridge extension to a spot over the water which seemed to suit everyone’s needs.

The writers needed the artist to add a suitable place to teleport the player to a location within this zone. It didn’t seem like there was an ideal existing location that was out of the way of player traffic. We decided to add a bridge extension to a spot over the water which seemed to suit everyone’s needs.

The remainder of my day generally consists of a mixture of interactions with various people in different departments. One day may include discussing the next world we may be creating with the writers and designers. Another may be filled with discussing technical issues with a new system and working out how any changes may affect the artists’ pipeline and processes.

I feel like much of my job involves gathering the appropriate materials, providing my own influence and then getting out of the way so the artists have the freedom to add their own creativity into the work.

Of course many challenges and unforeseen issues crop up during the day, so in addition to my normal routine, I have to be flexible enough to jump on anything that may need immediate attention.

Each day I balance making sure the job is done well and on time while providing a work environment that allows the artists the freedom to visualize the story in an exciting way.

This concept was painted for a zone in Aquila.  I actually did not have a lot of changes that I wanted to see after this was completed. I basically gave the artist some notes up front on the structure seen in the foreground.  Other than that he had the freedom to just make a cool piece of art!

This concept was painted for a zone in Aquila. I did not have a lot of changes that I wanted to see after this was completed. I gave the artist some notes up front on the structure seen in the foreground. Other than that he had the freedom to make a cool piece of art!

Melissa Preston
Art Lead

181 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous / Jul 25 2013 8:36 am

    wow you are super great at art. I wish I can draw like that.good job.

    • matthew / Jul 31 2013 9:24 am

      i like the tiger pictures and the other ones theyre pretty cool

  2. Wolf death blade / Jul 31 2013 7:55 am

    You are a very good artist my dream is to become a singer and an artist

  3. Anonymous / Aug 2 2013 7:01 pm

    i like the art of the spiral and wizard city

  4. Captain Voss / Aug 16 2013 6:35 pm

    What programs do the artists use to make concept art? I want a more professional program and was just curious.

  5. John okamoto / Sep 20 2013 9:39 am

    thank you for the peek into your day! It gave me a better appreciation for the hard work that goes into making Wizard101 so fun and enjoyable. I would love to hear about the writing that goes into the game. I love the humor, puns and all! Also the ‘historical’ aspect. It gives me great topics to taklk to my kids!

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