This illustration is the result of a project for Black Sheep Studio in Paris and represents an action scene. I collaborated with the character artist Stéphane Chung. He took care of the characters while I was in charge of the setting.
We wanted to work together on an illustration with a rich environment that gave us a lot of freedom to develop the action and the atmosphere. We immediately picked a setting close to a shanty town, probably due to the indirect influence of the game Rage by Bethesda that we had just played!
The composition was crucial to reach our goals. First, we wanted the characters to be placed on different levels of depth in order to have an un-crowded central space and obtain a dynamic overall composition. This led to an interesting image in terms of characters and setting. We chose a horizontal format because it is perfect for landscapes.
Even if my first design seemed to be a good starting point, the composition was still too symmetrical and all too neutral. The landscape was shot from the front and the horizon was perfectly level, which is often used to convey calm and was the opposite of what I wanted to do (Fig.01)!
I decided to slightly turn the camera to add some drama and balance the buildings. This enabled me to focus on the foreground, which helped immerse the viewers in the image and allowed us to add characters later (Fig.02).
Based on my previous conclusions I started working on another rough image and thinking about what I could add to the background. For example, mountains filled with cabins, an imposing element to give a sense of immense size (like a crane, tower or monster), exotic elements, etc (Fig.03).