A few days after Sam and I sent off our first round of questions to Tom from Jagex, we received a hugely insightful, extensive range of answers. Tom went into detail on his professional practice, how he deals with, and adapts to different styles, and how he landed his first job in games.
On top of all of this, Tom was kind enough to provide us a mock concept art brief. The brief was to create a new weapon for a fantasy RPG game along the lines of WoW, and time restraints and other aspects were defined to simulate a truer concept art role simulation. I've done the first round of silhouettes, but I'm not too happy with them. I'm pretty embarrassed by the fact that I've never designed weapons before, really. I've perhaps done a few sketches here and there, but nothing truly *designed*.
I made the mistake of jumping into my silhouettes after only doing a small amount of research, and ended up have little ideas during the silhouettes which meant I had to go and look at other images, which then ended up eating into my time allocation for this stage of the task.
As you can see, these designs really lack any new or interesting ideas. However, I learned a ton by doing these. I had to do these to realise how easy it is to design an awful clichéd sword. Believe it or not the work above is about an hours worth. Pretty shocking considering how basic they are.
After I made these I sent them off to a friend who plays this kind of game a lot, to see if he could picture them in a game, and if so, which one.
His feedback, being an artist also, was extremely helpful and critical and really made me take a step back from the designs:
from silhouette and stuff alone i would say 3 is maybe a bit plain for epic loot. im sure ive seen 6's shape, or similar shapes, used somewhere for like the horde side when i played wow goddamn ages ago. Thing is, even though its got that orcy-crafted look you could still make it look like epic loot with seals and glowing sigils and whatever. I think a lot of the handles are a bit thick in relation to the blades. I just looked at wow there and the handles are fairly normally proportioned to a hand compared the mental style of the rest of the sword. I think you could play with more interesting shapes for the actual blades, instead of having those pointy bits sticking on (2+4) just because it looks structurally weak. You could do that but keep the overall idea there, like number 1 being 2 seperate blades back to back. Also could try rough colours if you like an idea, if you're wanting effects and stuff
So for my next iterations I'm going to bear all this feedback in mind, and do much more research into exactly the sort of personality/heritage I want to the sword to have, and hopefully have a much more visually appealing design.
I've become disillusioned with the idea of spit paints. At least for now, while I'm learning how to do polished art for a portfolio. It's becoming increasingly frustrating to create truly interesting, original pieces when I'm still very much trying to find my footing (in the grand scale of things). I think these spit paints might be more suited to people who've been in industry for a while, and are more experienced. From now on I'm going to focus more on the *painting* and not the speed at which the painting comes about. Obviously the speed is an important aspect, but I don't think it should be at the forefront of my mind when I haven't even started my career.