Etch's Sketches - Concept Corner


Hey all! Welcome to Etch's Sketches. I'm Josh "Etch" Larson, the MagiQuest team's Lead Artist.

This will be our Bi-Weekly "Concept Corner" where we give you all a little peek into the game development process. I'll be sharing a lot of the concept sketches and drawings that have lead to our characters, as well as a number of insights as to what it means to be a Concept Artist for a game in development.

Like many indie games, this team is composed of some "first-time" developers. I've been drawing my whole life, but until MagiQuest came along, I had never worked professionally as an artist in any capacity. This was something that I was actively looking to change, but I wasn't sure how. Since I'm new at this, and learning as I go, I figured this would be a great opportunity to share that knowledge with all of you budding artists out there.

When I saw that Greech (Our Executive Producer and CEO of Hidden Pathway LLC) was looking for a concept artist, I contacted him to see what kind of work he was looking for. When drawing on my own I tend to lean heavily towards little critters and creatures. Luckily, that's precisely what he was looking for.

Initially the ideas we're pretty open. The central idea of the game had been solidified, and he had already been in contact with Erik (our Lead Programmer) who had begun work on our Amelia Engine. Artistically though, the game didn't yet have much of a direction.

I was given a list of elements (Fire, Earth, Wind, etc) that he wanted to use as a basis for the turn-based RPG battle system that we were developing. The only other stipulation I was given was that they could not have traditional weapons as we're making a kids game.

So over the next day, I spent my work breaks and lunches sketching up some character ideas that would fit within the specifications.

These were the very first concepts drawn for the game. When I passed them along to Greech, he looked them over and picked a couple that he liked. The flaming matchstick in the bottom right was the first one he wanted to see a little more fleshed out and maybe a little less intense.

For the first iteration, I kept the attitude but softened his features. I rounded out the eyes, made them larger, and added more highlights. Next I squashed the whole character a bit and made the mouth a bit cuter with some buck teeth. These changes help convey a younger, more childish appearance.

After Mike looked it over again, he decided that he liked a lot of the changes, but liked the longer skinnier body. Then he had a suggestion that changed everything.

"Maybe you can try giving him sunglasses?"

Then "Flamehawk" was born.

Keep an eye out for his in-game model in an upcoming Feature update! ;)

Not all of our characters have evolved in the same way, but I thought this would be a prime example of the iterative process of Concept Art. Greech loved the design and I've been creating characters for the game ever since. I do a lot more here that we'll discuss in future updates. There's a lot of opportunity for an artist to work in the game industry and if any of you are out there like I was; wanting to do this for a living, but not knowing how... I'll share as much as I can to help you along the way from my own journey.

I hope that you enjoyed this little glimpse into our development process and into the team that's setting out to make this game for you. What aspects of the process are you most interested in learning about? Let us know!

Thanks for reading! Until next time...

We’d love to hear from you! What aspects of drawing would you like Etch to do next?

It’s not every day that you can watch a video game as it’s being built! We encourage parents and children to follow along and learn together!