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Link to Video Brief/ Competition Details:

An illustrator who’s work I really appreciate (Matt Taylor) was approached by Sony to help them launch a community art competition celebrating the re-release of the updated Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 4. Matt would curate the entries and the winners would be compiled into a limited edition art book and sent out to the winning participants. I wouldn’t normally see much point in entering a competition for the sake of appearing in an art book that would only be seen by the people who participated but as I really enjoyed the game back in my youth and am excited for the re-release I figured it would be a relatively stress free side project that could also be a bit of fun.

(**Create an illustration celebrating the re-release of the game ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ and its iconic art style, with the intention of it being printed in a limited edition art book.)

COMPETITION DEADLINE: 21 February 2018 at 23.59 GMT GUIDELINES: a) Design an original picture in the theme of Shadow of the Colossus. This picture must be 210 mm wide by 280 mm length and 300 dpi resolution; b) Entrants may choose to design a picture by either: (i) using any design packages on their computer; or (ii) using any other methods and materials; c) Once the picture is complete Entrants must save a digital copy of their complete picture (each an “Image”); d) Sign in to their Twitter account (if they do not already have a Twitter account, create one for free by visiting; e) Create a tweet from their Twitter account using the hashtag #ColossusArt (“Tweet”); f) Upload the Image to the Tweet; g) Post the Tweet. (**Picture on the left is Matt Taylor’s illustration for the project and what will be used as the cover art for the finished book.)

I decided that to keep the project as fun as possible I wanted to focus on my favourite colossus from the game and center the illustration around that particular fight. I was excited to start some drawing after spending the whole of 601 doing predominantly collage work. I researched my favourite colossus from the game (Cenobia) in various iterations from the concept stages to different angles of gameplay so I had a better knowledge of its physicality.

I gathered some inspirational fan art for the game from Pinterest mostly, I naturally was more attracted to the more minimalist designs, I think in my practice now I’m finding that use of space is really important in my composition.

The nickname of the colossus I decided to focus on is nicknamed “The Lion.” The reason for this is that the stature of Cenobia is similar to that of a lion. I decided to look for some stock images of lions so that I could apply an interesting stance over the top. Yay problem solving!! So I found the image on the left on google and I thought it read well visually as being ready to pounce and being menacing.**

I did a couple of scamps and some sketching but I’m finding more and more in my practice that I work better digitally and that I don’t scamp much in terms of actually drawing things out in a sketchbook. I usually just work on something in Photoshop until a piece starts to work and it starts to make sense. I feel like if I spend too long planning something then I get caught up in the initial stages of the illustration and it benefits me to just start making decisions.

Initially I wanted a long composition with the colossus in the top left hand corner and the man in the bottom right. As I got further into developing the illustration I realised that the scale of the colossus wasn’t looking reflective of how it is represented in the game. I wanted the title of the game to be in the middle of the composition but I had to change my initial idea to present the interaction of the two characters in a way that felt more dynamic. I went straight into Photoshop having a relatively clear idea of the composition I was going for and started drawing. I started with all the basic shapes in red and I built the figures up by filling in the lighter tones with pink so that I could go in later with the actual colours when I was happy with how it was looking. Drawing the Colossus took such a long time!! Because of the stone structures on the face and the body it was hard to picture the symmetry when it wasn’t face on.

I shifted the perspective so that the man was towering over the colossus, representative of a moment from the game. As I was trying to make this work I just couldn’t position the two characters in a way that made sense within the line of sight which I had envisioned. I also felt as though I lost the imposing nature of the colossus. Also I was unsure how I would make the rest of the background work and it all be came way too complicated for me to comprehend.

The eyes of the colossus in game are typically blue, and they turn a reddish orange when they are in attack mode. I played around with both of these.

I took obvious inspiration from the images which I researched on the internet, originally I wanted to construct a really complex scene and I wanted to develop an environment for both of the figures to exist in but I’m just finding more and more that my brain doesn’t really work that way and it’s hard for me to visualize something so complex. I’ve definitely made peace with the fact that spot illustrations are more my thing.

FINAL OUTCOME ‘In The Lion’s Den’ As the nickname of the colossus in game is ‘The Lion’ I decided to title my piece ‘in The Lion’s Den’ I thought it was fitting as the image suggests encroaching on this creature’s territory. It denotes a feeling of hostility.

I spent most of the time on this piece drawing the colossus, as a result of this I didn’t get to focus on the rest of the illustration as much as I would have liked, in an effort to meet the deadline and submit on time. I would possible change the rest of the illustration but keep most of the work I did on the colossus if I were to revisit this. Not going to stress over this too much however as I enjoyed making this image overall. I do like this piece, and whilst I recognise that it has my visual signature it does feel different to my usual output. I think that’s ultimately down to the subject of the illustration. I just miss the lack of concept and visual metaphor which I usually apply to my work, so whilst I think visually this is strong, it doesn’t gauge my interest past an artificial level.

I’ve been applying a lot of texture to my work as of recent, I think it works particularly well here, I gathered a few stone textures from a google search and they add a much needed amount of depth and form which was lacking from the flat colour painting.

I went for an abstract background in the end, which I think would look dynamic if it were in print. I wanted to reference the environment in which these two characters meet with a certain amount of subtlety. I used the dark grey brush strokes to mimic the appearance of steps, which is how the creature approaches you in game.

The man is the part that I am the least happy with, I wish I’d focused more on his shadow as the focal point as a reference to the title of the game. I think I missed an opportunity to create something stronger both visually and conceptually!

LAUIL603 Competition Brief  


LAUIL603 Competition Brief