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Igor Artyomenko is one of the artists who helped create the wonderful backgrounds for The Banner Saga. Right now he’s working on the game’s sequel. He found some time to talk about his journey to Stoic and discussed his production process.
My name is Igor, I’m 25 years old. I was born in a small mining town in Kazakhstan. Ever since I was a child I loved to draw, but I never had any art education. After school I went to study at a technical college, but what I was most interested in was programming. Around that time I started to learn CG art. It all started with my passion for anime and video games.
My first work was fan art for some famous game/anime titles. I posted them in the discussion forums and many people liked it. When I finished college I already had some skills and a large enough portfolio. My first customers actually found me first. As I made art mainly for computer games, it was not surprising that I was immediately invited to work in the game industry. Before I got into Stoic, for about three years I worked in different indie studios. Those were mostly small projects for mobile platforms. I just started working in this field. The largest project was probably Prime Elements. I drew it completely alone. It was a pretty nice game.
Getting into The Banner Saga
I got into Stoic thanks to my fanart. I sent them some of my works inspired by The Banner Saga and some time later I was invited to take part in a contest for an open position on the team. We were supposed to draw a background scene for the game and here’s what I’ve created.
The contest was attended by 150 people. Stoic was really confident in my work and invited me to their wonderful team.
The visual style of the game was inspired by the great American Illustrator Eyvind Earle. Just look at his works and everything will be clear. Because the style of the The Banner Saga was different from my own style of drawing, I had to spend some time and energy to reach the right level of design and try to become a worthy skilled hand for Arnie Jorgensen – the main artist of the game.
I’m also working on The Banner Saga 2 with all types of backgrounds. The characters and animation is being done by other people.
When you create the battlefield it’s very important to maintain the balance of all parts of the scene. Details of the locations should be close to the battle zone, but they should not conflict with the characters. This is especially important when the game is played on the iPad, because the screen is small and if the details are too close to the edge of scenes, the players might miss the beauty of the location.
I usually use Photoshop and Wacom tablet. This is a great combo for any game artist.