One of our favourite parts of designing content for EMBERWIND is designing cool new art pieces for the game. Whether it’s a character portrait, a new Foe, or an awesome landscape, we’re always excited to reveal them. Normally, we only reveal a single, final piece of new artwork. This week, we’re doing something a bit different and taking a look at the process that goes into creating a Foe. With that said, let’s pull back the curtain and look behind the scenes at the Rootbloom.
The Rootbloom began as a warm-up drawing in the sketchbook of EMBERWIND artist Toma Feizo Gas. Our artists will sometimes drop practice sketches in folders where the writers can leaf through looking for inspiration for lore stories. The image caught the eye of one of our writers, who put together lore notes and story idea for the creature as a kind plant-parasite-zombie that encases a living host, feeding on the imprisoned body and controlling its movements like a suit of sentient vegetative armour. You can check out that particular story here.
From there, Toma went to work updating his original sketch to encapsulate the idea that the Rootbloom as a Foe is meant to feel familiar yet alien. At a glance, it appears humanoid but on further inspection one quickly sees the mass of leaves and roots that encase the limbs of its host. You can see here in our original concept sketch how our artist incorporated these ideas into the initial design of the Rootbloom.
The next iteration of the design begins to refine some of the details for the Rootbloom. Harsh edges are smoothed away and finer details are introduced such as the textures around the face and the colour transitions of the roots. The Rootbloom’s legs, in particular, get some major detailing here and striations are added along their length, giving the appearance of muscle to this plant terror. It’s in this stage that we can add the beginnings of a background too so that the Rootbloom can be placed into its environment.
At last, we reach the final iteration of the Rootbloom. It has been fully incorporated into the world with the shadow of the forest behind it and the bushes at its feet. In getting to this stage, you can see that again some of the finer details have been altered. Most notable in that regard is the eyes. Up to this point, the Rootbloom’s eyes were bright yellow, but they have been reduced to black voids showing the human host has been completely consumed. You can also see some additional detailing in the vines and leaves along the creature’s body. All of these little details come together to create a Foe that still looks relatively human but feels alien and dangerous.
With all of the fine details incorporated and the Rootbloom’s environment added, it’s ready to be unleashed upon the world and into our players’ games. We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at our Foe design process. We’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions to our process. If you’d like to see more of this or other content, let us know on our Forums!