Receiving new art is like Christmas morning. —Steve Conard
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Back in the late ’70s when I was in my impressionable youth, Star Wars dominated my consciousness, much like it did to all the kids of my generation. I collected all things Star Wars—if it had a Star Wars logo, I owned it. That movie captured my imagination like nothing before it (or after, for that matter). One of my cherished possessions was a book that contained Star Wars concept art by Ralph McQuarrie. McQuarrie’s Star Wars art is, really, the gold standard.
I also had an Empire Strikes Back Sketchbook. In fact, wait right there …
[A couple of minutes later]
… oh my gosh, I still have it. Here’s the cover.
I’ve always been fond of concept art; my collection runs the gamut from the orignal Battlestar Galactica series to Lord of the Rings and even includes World of Warcraft. There’s something visceral about looking at the artists’ visions of how these imaginative worlds will appear.
When I began working on Chaldea, I looked forward to the art most of all. For thirty years I’d been dreaming about Chaldea with its characters and locations that Peter (Adkison) had rooted in my imagination.
Almost immediately I approached Peter, begging to hire artists. “We gotta begin working on concept art—we have an entire world to bring to life.”
As I had anticipated would be the case, Peter was even more gung-ho than I was. “Of course! Greenlit—go! I’m sure you have a plan.”
Scoff. “Of course I have a plan.”
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job, having worked so long in the gaming industry, is meeting and working with so many talented artists. My contact list is a rogues’ gallery of exceptional artistic talent. So, I opened that list and hit dial. The very first person I called was Anastasia Korochansckaja, an artist I’d worked with for a number of years on a wide variety of projects. She has talent to spare and enthusiasm to match. I pitched her the Chaldea project and she immediately said yes. Heck yes—we had liftoff.
Anastasia and I have spent the better part of the last two years visually designing Chaldea. Whenever I receive email from Anastasia, my heart leaps—receiving new art is like Christmas morning.
One of the first projects I assigned Anastasia was designing Tavia, a Mountain Kingdom with a strong Nordic heritage.
Sketches of Lion Pen boys. In Tavia, all young boys are sent to be raised in the lion pens.
An early concept sketch of Mileco (a young protagonist in our stories), who is forced to work in the lion pens.
A random assortment of Tavian props, including the Throne of Tavia.
A rough sketch of Kulbrandr, the Jarl of Tavia, dressed in winter garb.
A few random bust studies. In this case, bust has two meanings.
Concept art eventually turns into something much more substantial.
A color brooch with a Tavian lion motif—illustrated by Anastasia Korochansckaja.
I hope you enjoyed looking at some of our rough early work. In the months to come, we’ll share even more concept art: Orcs, dragons, weapons, emblems, heroes, villains, and more.
Come back often, and don’t forget to let us know what you think.
If you enjoyed Anastasia’s art. You can find more of her magical work on deviantart. http://balaa.deviantart.com/
Support artists; buy art.