GW2 2018 Wintersday Zine - Journeys
Last year I got the opportunity to contribute to the GW2 fanzine Wintersday Zine “Journeys” by the GW2 Artist Collective. It was something I really wanted to be a part of as Guild Wars 2 is my favourite game, something I have invested a number of hours since it launched in 2012. When I was asked to pick up for a collaboration I immediately said yes. I had a few commissions happening on the side, but I made space in my calendar so that I could focus on the zine.
The collaboration process was similar to doing a commission, and because I had slightly compressed time frames due to coming on a month after the other artists I needed to be prepared. I worked with writer Jasmine Daggs (I don’t think she has any social media, otherwise I’d link to her!). The process went through several stages of feedback, redlines, and revisions, but ultimately I was able to produce work that I was happy with.
There are a few things I’d do differently, given that the game showed the Mists during the Living World episodes - If I’d seen them earlier, the Falling piece may have been somewhat different. Drawing Cantha was hard. I’ve played a small amount of GW1 Factions, but the screenshots and playthroughs I watched, the architecture was overwhelmingly red, and there was a fine line between trying to capture the essence of Cantha, while not looking too much like a copy of SE Asian/ Chinese architecture.
Also, translating game armour into actual moving, articulated armour is not simple. Game characters have limited detail, and while I tried to stay true to the designs, some things had to be modified to look more realistic, without losing the integral design.
So what do I think about fanzines and collaborations?
Participate if you are passionate about the fandom. I’d not done much GW2 art, mainly because my schedule had been so full that there was little time or energy for personal art. I’d also gone through a long period of being creatively burnt out. Working to spec was ok as there was a start and end point and structure, but personal paintings I’d just blankly look at the page and not feel happy with anything I’d done
Look at the projects that have been done by the collective to try and get a feel for how professional members are. GW2 Artist Collective (which is now under Alchemy Art Group) is run by a passionate group of people, namely Melanie Sayre and Sara Squires, with the team providing feedback and high quality products. Otherwise, join the discord groups, interact with the fan art communities… you’ll get a feel for whether you want to apply or just hang with the community.
Ask questions if you are unsure.
Take on feedback if it is offered - critique is a great process when done properly. I had some red-lines done where another artist corrects aspects of a sketch, which actually saved me time. Some of the poses were overly dramatic for a more narrative effect. I work rough ideas and then gather the references for poses, and because I normally work with private commissions, the art direction generally is the client selecting sketches or providing additional information.
Most of all, have fun with it! Remember why you are doing it. For Wintersday Zine there was the charity side of the project, and there was also the fact it was officially sponsored by ArenaNet, the games’ developer
I also got to play with some design issues that I loved from the Guild Wars concept art. Kekai Kotaki and Richard Anderson (Flaptraps) have been two of my favourite artists for a long time, and trying to channel stylistic aspects was fun.
For some behind the scene sketches, you can visit my ArtStation page