Indie Minds With Artist Basma Mariki
Introducing Our First Indie Mind
The first Indie Mind we're going to chat with today is Basma Mariki. She is a concept artist, character designer and a freelance illustrator. She worked on two indie horror games; Grandpa and Promise. Grandpa was chosen to be translated into 7 different languages including Spanish and Japanese. Promise held its place in the top 12 Buzzing Games for several weeks on RPG Maker website. She is still working on upcoming games and projects as an artist and has also taken part in the making of Beast of Burden manga.
- What exactly is the role of a game artist? Do you draw Everything in the game? Or are you limited to specific visuals in it?
An artist’s role in a game is to create visuals, which means it can vary from
concept art of designing characters and places, to drawing in-game
characters, scenes and props, to the animation, to the making of the
backgrounds and so on. Some teams need to divide the work and have an
artist for each role of the above, and others do not. It depends on things
like how big the game is and how many members can be in the team.
- When you have to design the environment or backgrounds of the game, what's the process that you follow?
Designing authentic environment of backgrounds and scenery actually
needs a lot of knowledge and understanding of composition, and how
colors psychologically impact the human brain and its emotions. For
example, picking colors, shapes and objects in a horror game or a single
scene is way different than it is in a happy or an exciting one. I pick the
scene or the level, and I ask myself “what exactly do I want the player to
think and feel when she/he is in this part of the game?”, and according to
the answer I start designing. So many implied or hard-to-notice details are
used in favor of conveying certain messages and emotions which is why
this is not as easy as it sounds. It actually takes a lot of practice and study.
What's your process of designing different characters?
When designing characters, an artist does not arbitrary throw together
some random looks just to complete the number of characters in a game or
a story. Each design should be based on the personality of the character,
details and traits, history and background story. Living in the shoes of each
character can so much influence the imagination of the artist in the
Can beginners in digital art be part of such game projects? Also, are there any specific art skills that beginners have to learn to be part of this?
Honestly, anyone with imagination and enough commitment can be
part of this community even if their artistic skills are not good enough yet.
Because good ideas are born from imagination, and good ideas bring
enjoyment and that’s what attract many players to try your game. Also,
commitment to work and flexibility to accept failure is the key to keep going
and actually achieve something. Because in this field, do not expect to
always hit the target from the first try. You are going to start small and
simple. You are going to make a lot of mistakes. You are going to create so
many concepts and art that most likely are not going to see the light in the final project. So, I guess my advice is to grow a thicker skin, ‘cause not
everyone is going to like your work at the beginning at least, especially if
you still need more practice and work on yourself. Keep going, do not
underestimate your imagination, commit to your work, practice and
experiment a lot which is so very important -you are going to get better-
and I think you are good to go.
Any specific tools or softwares you use? And your best practices while using these tools
There are so many awesome softwares online that different artists use
to create, but personally, I always prefer to use Photoshop. It might seem
complicated for some, -at least that is what I have been told before- I think
that is because it has so many options, but I have already taken my time on
it to feel comfortable using it.
How do you manage a team of artists when working on a game? Also, how do you communicate with the rest of the team like programmers, game designers, musicians and so on. What tools do you prefer and your best practices in communication.
A team working on a game means that the final and overall experience
of the project should be a reflection of ‘their’ imagination together and a
little bit of each member’s taste. So, communication is important cause the
role of everyone in the team relies on the other. It is an interrelated work
process. First, you have a story or an idea, then you need art and game
design that display and visualize your story best for the players, and then
comes music that is also most of the time based on the visuals and
atmosphere agreed upon for the story of game, to transfer the right feelings
for each stage or scene. It spices up everything and makes the whole
experience delicious and entertaining. So, yes, artists should communicate
and ask team members for ideas or what they think of their work so far.
Personally, when working in a team, if they already have something in
mind, I prefer to know each member’s ideas first and what they expect if
they already have some. Then, I start working on all of them in addition to
my own. Because in the end, when you do not have a specific idea of what
you are working on for the team, you will just keep repeating and adjusting
your work for an unnecessary number of times when you could have
avoided that from the beginning.
And that's all for today's interview. Thank you Basma for sharing your knowledge and we would love to have you again.
As for you my creative Alnin, you can leave a comment below to ask Basma about her art process or anything you would like to know about art. She will be available for few days after publishing this post to answer your questions. So, hurry!
Also, don't forget to share share share!