Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

From Concept to Canvas

Note: This article is written by a good friend and former artist of Hatchlings Games, Moy. He was working on a cool trading card game where you can create your own cards including its abilities, stats and art. The game is called Quasr: the Trading Card Game (it was codenamed Encephalon during early development, when this article was written by Moy).

Often an artwork will go through alot of changes during its stage of development. Most of the time, the cause for these changes are good. For example during the drawing progress, the artist would want to change the subject in his work so it becomes better, he might find his work more suitable for some other purpose, or both. It is the lead artist’s responsibility to decide on how to reflect written concept on canvas. Take this one as example:

Written concept: This card represents a special territory. At anytime you control the territory and one of your creatures occupies it, they will receive no harm from others as long as they stay in it.

After some tinkering, this is what I came up…

Application in visual: This artwork shows a figure belonging to the special territory. When an opposition approaches, the terrain surrounding her will manifest her will and turn into a defensive guardian to protect her.

Now is time to put those words down with pen and tablet. Ladies and gentleman, please take your time and enjoy.

Zeus tut 1

Stage One: Composition definition.

2-minutes sketch. This is when my mind constantly searches for the right look and an interesting composition. Now, I know this looks like a puddle of crap. So next!

Zeus tut 2

Stage Two: Forms definition, low-level details

Sketchy… sketchy… this one took another 5 minutes. It is still very abstract. However, I’ve worked on enough details for me to glimpse at the final outcome. I kinda liked it. Jagged-stone ravine with a huge body materializing out and looking down at a surprised traveler. Notice the small figure above the guardian’s crown? She’s the creature occupying the territory.

Zeus tut 3

Stage Three: mid-level details

Still stucked at sketching, duh. ’till this point, I was improving on the sketch, experimenting with different sort of details, playing around with lines and perspective as well as compositional density. Some of you will ask, “when are you really gonna move on?”. Well one thing I learned from my experience is that the more time and detail you put in now, the less you would have to worry about later. After that, it was time for me to…

Zeus tut 4

Stage Four: Mood & Color definition

Color! This was the result after 2-3 hours of frustration. I scraped the original composition and zoomed in the view becoming from behind the traveler’s shoulder. Reason of the modification was that my initial sketch wasn’t all that good to begin with and frankly, it’s uncomfortable to look at. So something went horribly wrong when I started laying down colors. It didn’t flow well, the look and feel were very one-dimensional. Also note that I removed the figure because she doesn’t fit in to the new perspective anymore.

Still I wasn’t happy. I took a day break and went off to some self-improvement seminar in Holiday Villa.

Zeus tut 5

Stage Five: Color and compositional correction. Hi-level details.

When I came back to work feeling totally refreshed, it put me in a new perspective. I cropped the image as the swirling clouds are eating up too much attention, overhauled the color to make it more immersive, spent some good few hours polishing up details, made some final changes and…


This is final.

So this is a brief overview of one of my painting style. As you can see from the progress, the removal of the female figure deterred the artwork from its original meaning. Other changes were made to the composition and colors, eveything just to accomodate the goal, whether it’s immersiveness, eye-candy or whatever, you name it.

The original written concept would need a new piece of art. As for this one, it has found another concept.

All artworks by Moy


February 2, 2007 - Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr Art, Quasr Concept, Tutorial


  1. This is awsome, great job! I have a blog that features a new piece of art each day, so let me know if you would ever like your work posted. Thank for sharing!


    Shawn Nacona

    Comment by nacona77 | February 3, 2007 | Reply

  2. Nacona : Thanks and cheers!

    Comment by moysh | February 3, 2007 | Reply

  3. Wahh.. impressive.

    Comment by drumsticks | February 7, 2007 | Reply

  4. I dunno, from the concept, I think the territory (I think this is a ‘land’ type of card) should get most of the artwork’s attention.

    Now this piece looks like a ‘fog’ type of card. (creatures deal no combat dmg) Or probably ‘stasis’ kind of card. (a creature is locked somewhere, cannot attack again, exhausted, etc)

    You know, there are a LOT of good articles about card development (from concept to art to rules, everything) at [url]http://magicthegathering.com[/url] Do a thorough search there.

    Comment by Joo | February 13, 2007 | Reply

  5. Lemme try again:

    Magic: The Gathering

    Comment by Joo | February 13, 2007 | Reply

  6. Thank you Joo.

    One thing about Art. We are still a little confused about how much Art we want to produce internally.

    We much rather artists who want their work noticed upload their work on our site. We just need to know how to get that message across.

    The web site layout, card layout, game UI are probably the focus now. It should set the tone for the world. We will upload our own ‘land’ (called Fields in Encephalon) / creature card art, as the first users of the site.

    Your M:tG link worked 🙂

    Gong Xi Fa Chai!

    Comment by Slade | February 16, 2007 | Reply

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