31 December 2012

Fate Saga Christmas Card Process: Caroling

For the Fate Saga Christmas card, I wanted to do a group shot of the main cast.  Last year, I did a postcard of the cast celebrating Christmas, and this year I wanted it to be a card that could be filled out, put in an envelope and sent to people.    After trying several ideas, the one I went with was the main cast singing Christmas Carols.  The reason why is that it allows everyone to face the viewer, without too many obtrusive background elements.  Also, while Fate Saga does not take place in the real world, their world is based off of Europe in the Middle Ages so the concept of Santa Claus and exchanging gifts might have felt Alternate Universe-ish.

Larkspur is the central figure because, to me, it'd make the most sense that she would orchestrate it (and somehow convince Drax, Seiron and Cyrus to participate).  She and Cain don't have papers to read from because, if anyone would know Christmas Carols by heart, it would be them - they're both very family-orientated.  As for the rest, some are enjoying it more than others.
Technically, this card is meant to print on the bottom half of an 8.5x11in paper and fold into an 8.5x5.5in card.  A white snow flake border was created place around the image at the very end, originally to try and get around cutting the card to bleed.  For the border, I designed one snow flake in Illustrator, then brought it into Photoshop and turned it into a brush.  With some variable brush settings (including size and opacity), I painted the border before importing it back into Illustrator. Ultimately, the cards were still cut because the printer left too much space between the graphics and the edge of the paper, which made it feel unbalanced.

The characters were sketched and inked in Photoshop, then vectorized and completed in Illustrator.  Everything but the snow flake border are all vectors, which relieves the worry of printing with any pixelation.

Armand and his crew are a little Easter Egg placed on the back of the card.  There's no background with them at all, because I wanted to feel like they were a little sticker or insignia placed on the back.
They were pretty fun to draw, and I took more liberties with their designs.  I wanted to allow them to look kiddier, friendlier, in the spirit of fun and Christmas.
It might be hard to tell because these graphics are smaller, but Vektor's musical notes are squared because he himself is a square.
Armand, of course, is the orchestrator.  He sings for no one but his crew will sing for him.


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