I'll look for lots of references, in 2 ways. One is to look for existing works with similar topics, to see how people approach this topic, and to find a way to demonstrate that in a fresh way so it can stand out. Another way is to grab whatever I feel is interesting visually, which can be illustration…
A commercial artist isn't in the field just to execute someone else's vision. We like to approach the series as a collaboration and most feedback starts or ends with "what do you think?". That's because we value each artist's insights and ideas. Artists also work incredibly hard on their craft…
Just as in any artwork, an artist's most valuable tools are composition, scale, contrast, tone, color and pose. When dealing with large, detailed scenes with complete background and many characters it's very easy to become overloaded..
From the illustration side, it takes about 10 hours to produce a page (back when we did short strips it was more like 3-4 hours). I wish I could reduce it somehow, but I wouldn't want to sacrifice either the style and level of detail we established, or the "amount" of plot we manage to get into every page; since we post a new page only once a week, we want each update to be worth the wait.
Star charts have an amazing aesthetic that feels foreign and esoteric, but mesmerizingly detailed. Combined with the use of astronomical symbols, I sought to create an art direction that gave the sense that you're peeking into this whole other alien universe through the perspective of its inhabitants.
A memorable color signature can really help a game stand out. Like any design decision, color should always point towards the story or experience you think will engage the audience. I always want to find colors that are unexpected and complex, but functional and serve the story and setting.
There's an inner child in me that guides almost everything I work on. The sense of wonder I had when experiencing new worlds when I was young is one of my biggest reasons for creating games and settings.
From the perspective of the work that I produce, the gaming industry allows the rare opportunity for me to create a complete product. For most of the games I work on, everything in the box, and the box itself, is designed by me (apart from the game itself of course!), and that level of ownership is pretty rare.
Working freelance isn’t for everybody. You have to manage your time and your workload as well as deal with crunch periods (or self-doubt in the opposite situation). It’s often a good idea to go for projects for which you don’t necessarily think you’d fit, as they often are a good opportunity to try out some new things.
With any game design, before making a big change, you have to understand what the problems are that you are solving. My process is to find what's fun about the game and design everything else around it in support of that fun.