We're back from another adventure through the exotic realms of Space Park to bring you the next cosmic destination: The Celestial Seas! Explorers of these shores will find an abundance of life in the oceans and the skies as eternal fountains spill off the rocky cliff formations under the stars.
For those who may not know, Space Park is a board game designed by Henry Audubon and the fine folks at Keymaster Games which will be launching through kickstarter soon. Players ride rockets to extraordinary realms throughout the galaxy collecting exotic crystals and badges as they set out to become the next great space explorer!
Bringing this piece to life was one of the most rewarding challenges I've had as an illustrator as I pushed to find a fun composition for a world I was fortunate enough to create. As with the other realm posters for Space Park, I took a handful of twists, turns, and departures from my regular working method and explored new approaches to the sketching and painting of this piece. Get your helmets on and we'll dive into the creative process!
For the creation of all of the Space Park realm posters, I opted to do full color concept sketches using the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil in my favorite app, Procreate. This was a fun challenge because it allowed me to think about lighting right from the start, making big decisions quickly as I searched for my composition.
Celestial Seas was one of the pieces I tackled first knowing it would help set the tone for the variety possible in the rest of the Space Park universe. With a fun and quirky title treatment by Mattox Shuler, I was ready to explore and bring this world to life.
As soon as I had the red planet on top of the hazy green / blue sky, I could feel the mood and tone of this world taking shape. I began playing with twisting rock formations, which I bent and coiled to frame the composition, and added cascading waterfalls tracing over their forms. The rocks felt alien, coastal, or like the spine of some mythical sea creature. As each of the forms landed, I knew I was onto something...
One of the other choices I made with these posters was to intentionally leave the pencils looser than I normally do because I wanted to discover aspects of the illustration as I worked. In that sense, the pencils I used functioned like a hand drawn map: they gave me an idea where to go but I had no idea all the details I'd find along the way. This was either a great idea, or a terrible one, but I was committed to the approach... As the background of the emerged, I had hope things would work out:
Working with this approach was exhilarating, infuriating, confounding, and blissful all at different times. I'd wake up excited and within an hour of work, feel like the entire piece was a failure (this happened over and over actually). "Just keep moving..." I continued saying, pushing forward, forcing myself to tackle the portions of the piece in spite of any worry or concern things weren't working.
Eventually, the details of the piece came together in unexpected ways and I wrestled into being one of my favorite posters in the series.
In the end, I had such a fun time feeling like I was actually discovering this piece as much as I was creating it. I'd love to go back and explore more in this world but there are new realms in Space Park yet to be seen - so the quest continues! I hope you enjoy the world as much as I enjoyed creating it!
As always, projects like these wouldn't be possible without excellent people like the explorers at Keymaster Games, the game master Henry Audubon, or adventurous agents like Deborah Wolfe and her team. Thanks so much to all of them and thank YOU for reading my ramblings!
Until next time, brave explorers...