This is the first in a series of articles tracing the creation of Norsaga’s artwork. To see where it ends up, check out the gallery on the main site.
If you browse back through these blog posts you'll notice Kevin's gone into quite a bit of depth on the design of Norsaga's gameplay. Now it's my turn to cover how the artwork came to be, starting with the look of the yellow Faith heroes.
Yellow was actually the last color to be concepted, and the most difficult. While the body types for the other three colors are fairly exaggerated and based off of distinctive shapes, the yellow silhouette is a square. Their feel revolved around defense and large shields, things which generally obscure the little character details being emphasized in Norsaga.
Here's Kevin's early mockup of the stylistic elements for yellow; this was before the triangle silhouette was traded to red. We initially gave yellow dominion over large hats and helmets, an idea we later rejected because it hid heroes' faces. Below you can see what elements we finally settled on.
The yellow/yellow Champions show off every possible yellow design element, and most prominently feature the defensive theme with their large shields. While I was doing all of the drawing at this point, I was lucky to have a bunch of great concept sketches from Kevin that gave me piles of little details to draw from.
Whenever I needed a pouch, or a trinket, or a shield detail, I'd start by pulling out these pages full of reference doodles, and expand from there. In some cases I liked Kevin's sketches so much I copied his designs exactly (notice the totem in the middle, which went to Finn Sigilsworn).
Having established what made a hero yellow, I then mixed in identifying traits from the other colors to show the varying recessives. See the yellow/green healer below, showing a bunch of green's minor traits.
This was another aspect that Kevin went over thoroughly with me before I started drawing, and it's thanks to him there are so many iconic features for each color. In the end, you can glance at any hero in the game and figure out what their dominant and recessive traits are from the artwork.
I'll be covering the other heroes and sagas in future updates. For anyone currently backing our Kickstarter at the LEGEND, MYTH, or ETERNAL levels, you should soon have a clear idea of what colors you want your custom hero to be!