Finding Our Visual Language (Part 2/)

by Holly on December 17, 2018

Holly here, and I'm back with a continuation of our previous artsy fartsy discussion.

Before jumping into pre-production, our team had already discussed some sources of visual inspiration. While Dyala and Zach were prototyping, I put together some very pretentious galleries to express different visual directions I was interested in exploring. I made a point to use minimal game art in my references, because I thought that using inspiration from different media would be the best way to create a more unique, less derivative, visual language for Project Thunder.

Mor Studio Movie Poster
Stuff Like This
About a month into development, Zach had to take a long trip to China. This programmer-less time was a really good opportunity for Dyala and I to take a field trip to the LACMA. There were some exhibits that were right up our alley for this project and we had to check out the goods.

I’ve never been much of an art museum enthusiast, probably from being expected to enjoy them as an art-centric teen and being forced to endure them as an art college undergrad. That being said, there’s definitely something about seeing ancient ceramics and tapestries that appeals to the little fossil-hunting kid in me. And for the creative adult part, there was also some amazing visual languages to discover.

First, we checked out the Kuna Art from Panama. There were ceramics, textiles, and bits of stingray. But more so, the imagery the art used was a solid reference for the concept I’d been struggling with - childlike vs. childish representation (for more context, see the post titled Finding Our Visual Language (Part 1/).

Pedestal Plate with Sea Monster Design
See what I mean?
The next exhibition we stopped by had bark textiles created in the Pacific Island nations. I was mesmerized by how so many small simple shapes could be woven together to create such strikingly different patterns. If possible, I’d love to be able to be so creative with our shape exploration.

I want these patterns on everything in my life.
Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon the exhibit Decoding Mimbres Painting: Ancient Ceramics of the American Southwest. I was really drawn to the bold fields of negative and positive space, plus their use of angled lines on round ceramics. I’ve never been good at meshing angles with curves, so these pieces were fearless!

2 Dishes
Hopefully you guys will be able to see the impact of these inspirations in our game art!