Previously, I published an article about how I began illustration work for an indie board game called Monster’s Dilemma. The project has been immensely rewarding creatively, and I really enjoyed the work that I created. In that spirit, I wanted to delve into a little deeper about specific elements that I believe made this particular project so enjoyable.
According to the muralist Dean Cornwell, “The true measure of an illustrator is his ability to take a subject about which he may have neither interest nor information, tackle it with everything he’s got, and make the finished picture look like the consummation of his life’s ambition.” I believe that sentiment completely. I did not create the mechanics of this game and was presented with very specific parameters under which I had to create rather specific pieces. One may find this situation to be extremely limited, but I find that in the best circumstances, restrictions inspire creative solutions and problem-solving. So while my client was very specific about wanting to create a room featuring “Jeopardy-like podiums”, I still had the creative control over how I would illustrate those elements. The aforementioned example is the first image in this article, and you can see that I did, in fact, have to incorporate game show podiums into the design.
So, the question must be asked, if there is a specific prompt, how would one express themselves creatively? As previously mentioned in the first article, this game was designed for younger audiences. Many elements were incorporated to provide stylistic cohesion (ex. a secondary color scheme and isometric perspective). Yet with each image, it was my intention to elicit a different emotional response from my audience. I wanted them to be intrigued by the images, and feel that they were charming to a certain degree, albeit simultaneously disgusting or dangerous. Balance and Contrast became my biggest allies to achieve that purpose. In that image, you can see those principles in spatial relationships, the size of objects, color, value, and saturation. When utilized correctly, there are almost infinite creative permutations to be enjoyed, and therein lies the freedom of expression as well, and as long as each individual image uses a different combination of balance and contrast, each image will be unique and engaging.