Brian Thompson, art director for Big Fish Games' PC casual adventure game series Drawn
, said in a new Gamasutra feature
that an outsider's perspective helped give his work a unique, appealing feel.
He said, "I think that one of the reasons why Drawn
is regarded as fresh and different is because many of our ideas as a team come from sources outside of the video game culture; I often draw inspiration from the nostalgia of my childhood, but each team member has his or her own bag of inspirations and influences to draw upon."
Prior to working with Big Fish, Thompson worked on core gamer-focused titles as a concept artist. Frustrated with that category's emphasis on violence and low emphasis on storytelling through art, he happened upon an art director position at mass market-friendly casual game house Big Fish.
There, he drew artistic inspiration from properties like The Iron Giant animated film, and old background paintings from Disney classics like The Jungle Book, Bambi, Fantasia, and Bluth's The Secret of N.I.M.H., along with others like Tarzan and FernGulley: The Last Rainforest.
Thompson and his team don't only take cues from animated films -- real-life inspiration is injected into their work. "As a team, we engage regularly in organic conversations that stem from random anecdotes about people's life experiences but take on a journey of their own and lead to ideas for the game," he said.
"More often than not, we arrive on some strange and wonderful island where great ideas hang ripe on drooping palm trees. Without this blend of personalities, the world of Drawn
would not exist."
For an extensive, fascinating look at the creation of Drawn
's artwork, and widely-applicable points about art direction, read the full Gamasutra feature