There’s the characters, the story, the dialogue…but what sets visual novels apart from other stories is the art!
All visual novels rely on art to tell the story. Today, we’d like to share a behind-the-scenes look at our background design.
How do we create our background art?
Crafting backgrounds takes work!
Our staff artist begins with a deep-reading of the script and a discussion with our staff writer about the mood and setting of each scene. Afterwards, they collaborate to create a variety of sketches before picking the perfect one to build upon.
After the perfect sketch is chosen, our staff artist builds upon it, making design choices and clarifying line work before adding flat colors.
The final steps involve deepening color work, adding shading and details, and capturing the feeling we want to invoke with each scene. Backgrounds add elements to the story that would be difficult to capture with just words. With the power of background art we can strengthen world-building and set the mood for a scene in an instant.
These two images are of the same bridge at different angles and at different times of day in-game. Viewing the bridge on a brightly lit morning vs. during a romantic sunset changes the experience for the characters and the player!
How do we create our character art?
Similar to the process of creating background art, creating characters involves a process of sketching, inking, coloring, and shading.
Our artist begins in close conversation with the script writer. They work together to choose a look for the character that reflects their role in the script, and the personality that comes across in their words and actions. This process is often cyclical. As the writer explains what was going on in his head, the artist sketches like mad and reveals new things about the character in the process. In turn, these new aspects become incorporated into the script during editing.
It was this process that gave us the fabulous Chancellor Lorei, a character in our upcoming game Triumvidate.
A special bonus of visual novels is the different expressions that characters can sport during different moments in-game. We’ve had a lot of fun exploring which of these “stock expressions” work for different characters. Everyone has a different personality, and no two expressions are exactly alike.
The art and writing of visual novels go hand-in-hand, but without the character and background art, this genre wouldn’t be possible.