The Art of Hamster Drop
As you may already know, our Lead Artist has been posting pieces of Hamster Drop art to share on his deviantArt page. I would like to follow up the art reveals with a little talk about the art direction from my position of Creative Director. In addition to guiding the art direction, I also had a hand in coloring the characters.
When the project was first proposed by me, I had a pretty good idea of the direction I wanted to take the art and even had a few basic designs for some characters. Overall I feel that a lot of current mobile games have a fairly standard, somewhat sterile and generic, art style. Nothing stands out particularly as looking visually interesting.
While, in my opinion, games that originated from Japan have a more interesting visual style and go out on more limbs than their western counterparts, I did not want the game to look exactly like an anime or the game to look completely Japanese influenced in general. What I decided would be best is a sort of middle ground on the “East VS West”. You can see influences from both sides in the final pieces.
On proportions, you may notice that as a limb gets farther from the body center, it becomes larger. This was something that the Lead Artist had done in one of his concept sketches, and it stuck. It’s something I haven’t seen done too often, especially on art that isn’t overly simplified or considered “SD”. If anything, it’s a unique element, and I believe it adds a nice hint of something fresh that we don’t see often.
Another stylistic choice is the rounded hair versus sharp hair. Again, the Lead Artist came up with this in one of the concept sketches, and I loved the idea. Even if the character has ‘spikey’ hair, it still has an essence of rounding to it. You can see this mostly on Raye’s hair where it is very bubbly. In general though you can see most shapes have dulled edges. All of this promotes an interesting look and creating a mood of playfulness.
For those who know me, they know I love color, coloring, color coordinating, and color swapping. Color is a big part of how I view art. Personally I enjoy colors that speak to emotion and style, rather than reason. Take for example Bo the Destroyer. His hair is green, his skin is pale yellow-green, and overall he seems somewhat ‘off color’ as humans go. This is an intentional color choice to give the feeling that Bo isn’t ‘as human’ as the other characters. He is the bad guy, a comical devil in a sense, as his main objective is to throw hamsters from a plane. It’s an emotional reading of his character, rather than one grounded wholly in reality, and the viewer may not notice it as much as feel that from the look. This concept of emotional coloring can be seen in a lot of old retro games, especially concerning background environments.
I had a hand in many of the color choices you’ve seen in the art so far. If possible I would like to add in alternative colorings for each playable character in the game as well. I already have a few alternative color schemes in mind. Perhaps I will share some at a later date.
As far as the character designs go, I wanted something casual. I also felt it was important to have a modern feel with the designs. Each character represents a sort of stylized contemporary branch of fashion and styles of music. Characters are also color coded and designed to match their emotional and personality types, so that it is obvious just by looking at them. Body language plays a huge part in this. There were a lot of considerations before a pose was settled on when doing the full body art to make sure the character’s overall personality and style is obvious on first sight.
That is a fairly good overview of some points and choices that were made on the project regarding art. These are all my experiences and take on things as the creative director. As always, you can check out the Lead Artist’s deviantArt page for weekly updates with new Hamster Drop art!
Until next time..!