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Artist Diary: High Society, or Nouveau Never Gets Old

Medusa Dollmaker
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Hi there! I'm Medusa Dollmaker, the Spanish artist who illustrated Osprey Games' 2018 edition of High Society.

When Osprey Games first contacted me to create the art for this game, I was in awe. High Society by Reiner Knizia, published by Osprey! They requested a game inspired by Mucha's art nouveau that would feature the dilettantes in blooming diversity. This project looked like it was made for me.

They provided a detailed briefing for the cover and every card. I had so much info and references, and they allowed me to spread my creativity in a nouveau environment. They answered any questions I had and were very patient in how long it took me to develop the artwork.

Lots of influence maps were given in the briefing to develop the cards. Everything was detailed and inspirational! Here are some of the style references from the briefing:

First, I started with several cover sketches as suggestions. Usually, my sketches look awful and may give the impression of not knowing what I'm doing. I like to do rough sketches to place the composition rather than taking the time to develop the details of each illustration.

These were my three first proposals for the cover. Osprey picked the first one, allowing me a lot of creativity in the process of decoration, so I set about working to develop it further.

This is the development of the cover. Fun fact: The first background I painted for the cover was a red to give a sense of luxury alongside the gold. They made some changes in the cover, including changing the background color to a royal green which fits PERFECTLY and makes the golden ornaments pop. Yeah, honestly, it works better.

Working on the cards, I started with the nouveau backgrounds to play with the frames in the composition of every card. Then I sketched each card over the several frames, adjusting here and there after feedback from Osprey. For long card deck projects, it helps to sketch all the cards to give a sense of homogeneity because the art and composition can sometimes evolve from the first card to the last. This way the client has an idea of what to expect of every card.

Once everything was in its place on the approved sketch, I started inking it. For art nouveau, I use several brush thickness to make the details pop, as with the silhouette of the main character.

I sent the inks for approval before I started the color stage. I always do this because it's easier to change stuff from the composition in the ink phase.

Once that was approved, I started to give the cards some color. I sent several screen captures and samples to the client to see whether we agreed on the color palette, which was inspired in the natural and washed-off colors of art nouveau paintings. I wanted all the colors to look washed-off and warm (with the exception of the disgrace cards, which had to look cooler).

This is an example of a color sketch in a cooler palette:

Other examples of work in progress! I was inspired by Oscar Isaac for this one. He's beautiful.

I love the color palette in this one, so warm!

Once the whole project was reviewed, fixed and complete, I uploaded the final files to the cloud so that Osprey could download them. They made some final adjustments to the files, then sent it off to the printer. It came out beautifully — no darker colors, and very accurate to the files I sent.

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Subscribe sub options Tue Jun 5, 2018 3:35 pm
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