Magical Inspiration: Art & Game Design

A long-time community member and talented artist, SparkleFountain shares some of her latest work and talks about her journey in the world of art. That includes the major influence of Wizard101!

こんにちは (Konnichiwa)! That means hello in Japanese. I would like to introduce myself as Julianna (I preferred to be called Jules), also known as SparkleFountain on Twitter. I am also the Creative Director from an official Wizard101 fansite, DuelCircle Media.

I am a digital artist who has been drawing Wizard101 fan art for a very long time. I am currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a Studio Art degree with Digital Arts and Media certificate and a Japanese certificate. Wizard101 is the main reason why I want to pursue game design and illustration.

I remember when I was around 8 years old, I had always wanted to play World of Warcraft because my parents played. However, it was not considered age appropriate for me back then. One day while I was watching TV, I saw a Wizard101 commercial and my parents told me it was like World of Warcraft. Me being a kid to be excited to try out an MMO, I immediately signed up and fell in love with the game. I didn't realize that was the moment in my life that would help mold me into the person that I am today.

Wizard101 has always been my main inspiration when it comes to digital art and game design. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with how we can customize our wizards through different gear sets, facial features, and hair. This allowed me to be extremely creative with how I express myself through my wizard. My wizard is a combination of my two favorite colors, my love for ice magic, and my Asian heritage.

When I create my digital artworks, I typically search for reference photos of poses, aesthetics, designs, and compositions that I feel will help bring the piece together. Next, I sketch out a few thumbnail ideas to get the feeling of the overall compositions. I choose the composition that best fits the vision. Next, I start sketching from the original thumbnail I chose and add the grayscale values. After adding the grayscale values, I add in my colors using "Multiply" or "Overlay" layer modes. Finally, I make color adjustments and add in small effects that help tie the overall piece together. As I sketch and paint the piece, I always make sure to ask for feedback from my peers. Feedback is the best tool I can ever have to create a piece that is presentable to the public.

What I love about digital painting is that I can play around with different colors and with contrast in light and shadow. I personally feel like the values and colors of light and shadow are the biggest game-changers when it comes to the composition of a piece. For example, the character above has a stronger value contrast compared to the background which helps emphasize the character. The complementary colors between the blues of the character and the yellows in the background also help bring the character forward.

Environment art by me

For those who are wanting to be game designers or artists in college, my biggest advice is to start talking to people who are also interested in the gaming industry. Connections are crucial not only when you are looking into internships and job careers, but also to make the best of your college life. Start making personal projects if you want to! Game JAMS are the best way to meet others and build up your portfolio as well. Currently, I am in the 2-D Game Capstone course creating art assets for a video game project I am working on. Here is the work in progress on what I have so far as an environment artist! The concept that we have right now is a rogue-like Cyberpunk game. I am very excited for the game to be released in December!

My plans in the future are to study abroad to Japan to learn more about game development and the Japanese language during my senior year, make a personal creative game project with the influence of Japan, and get hired at a gaming company fresh out of college. I really hope this will help push someone further to their dream of game design as it is a really fun thing to do in college! ではまた。(Dewa mata!) Oh yeah, if anyone doesn't know, it means see you later in Japanese!

Thanks to SparkleFountain for her post! You can see more of her artwork on her website.

How has Wizard101 inspired your own creativity?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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