Concept Art

Howdy! Hope you’re ready for the weekend (where applicable) — I am! But before that, stay tuned for a devlog which, this week, will be about concept art.

Concept art is crucial for getting an idea across from my mind to Gås’ modelling prowess, as well as for planning regions and level design ahead; so that the rough layout of various levels will be known in advance, before getting stuck in with Unreal.

Devlog 11

Fredrik “Olaxan” Lind

Brush Licker

We need concept art for a lot of things, actually; from robots, to regions, to buildings and general atmosphere.

Here’s three recent pieces showcasing a different architectural vibe than the red cottages we’re used to seeing.

A painting of a small ice cream kiosk
A painting of a rusted mechanical house attached to a wall
A painting of a small cafe with seating on the roof

We want these buildings to look like they’re built from scrap metal, which makes sense for our setting — while also feeling a bit familiar, like an RV, or a shoddy house extension one might have seen.

Our game should feel cozy where robots live, so concept art must feature some lived-in detailing: like coffee pots, garbage, or tablecloths.

These kinds of concept art documents are meant to convey atmosphere more than serve as a 1:1 modelling blueprint: to provide a reference point for Gås to work towards, while still being able to take creative liberties and improvise.

Sometimes there’s a need for concept art that’s a bit more technical:

Art of two robots standing around

Previously there’s been images of our many variations of robot concept art — this one digital.

This one painted with pen and aquarelle:

A painting of a robot by a desk with a glass of beer in its hand

But drawing robots is difficult — often you cheat with perspective and “hide” imperfections with an overabundance of details and overlap.

This becomes very hard to follow when handed over to a 3D artist!

Thus this, an attempt to boil down the essence of how I tend to draw robots into a simpler, easier method to follow. A sort of robot tutorial.

Image of a robot drawing tutorial in swedish
Image of a robot drawing tutorial in swedish cont.
Image of a robot drawing tutorial in swedish cont.

A different kind of concept art is the region overview, as described above.

Level design can be quite fun, and definitely the subject of a future devlog, but it helps a lot to have a reference — so why not draw one?

Here’s a rough overview of Newtram, a previously unseen area of the game.

…with a continuation down into “Lower Newtram.”

Concept art is often done digitally. I tend to work more quickly with pens on paper rather than digital, where you can fuss over infinite detail.

The process for completing a piece of concept art in aquarelle — which, mind you, is MUCH slower than its digital counterpart, but more fun to do — is as follows:

Sketch out the basic idea in pencil.

Fill in contours using ink pens — I use Micron fineliners.

To preserve white space, I use liquid latex or masking fluid to block out things like reflections and pupils.

Before doing a pass of aquarelle and removing the masking fluid — which is GREAT FUN!

Those are a few of the uses we have for concept art when developing Mechanical Sunset. There’s more to be said, but as of posting this particular message it’s officially weekend!

Until next time!

Wash your brushes and.. uh.. uhm…

The ocean is the worlds largest soup, but a bit too salty for my taste.

~ The Gumlin

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