Legend of King Arthur Challenge: Keyframe Winners Interview
The theme of the latest ArtStation Community Challenge called on artists to be both creative in the realm of fantasy while staying true to an old historic tale with The Legend of King Arthur. ArtStation challenged artists to imagine the once and future king, his exploits and the Knights of the Round Table. For the Keyframe Concept Art category, participants were required to produce 4 keyframes that illustrated key narrative events in the Legend of King Arthur, based on the Le Morte D’Arthur (1485) by Sir Thomas Malory.
What story were you trying to tell in your keyframes?
Tiago: Although it was a well-defined theme, It wasn’t easy to choose the scenes to paint, so I decided to focus on Arthur’s life in a specific way. I realized that besides his undeniable honor and strong character he was thirsty for power, being reckless sometimes. The keyframes are a brief overview of his journey, showing the different challenges he faced.
Hue: The story that I was trying to build was based on certain parts I found beeing key for myself. Merlin setting the sword into stone, Arthur pulling the sword, Arthur’s first battle and his death were the main parts that had peaks in different ways.
The idea was to create certain types of emotions towards the viewer but also adding magic into the mix and make everything more mystical. For me is a story about the sword, and it is a story about being worthy of it. In the end, the sword is the symbol of my story, if you would look in the last frame you would find that the sword becomes normal and the legend might continue leaving an opening towards an extended version that might tell another story of someone else.
Lap: In the cast of the legends of Camelot, I only knew an overview of the story, from many media properties already out there so I had to a do a little research to make sure that if I was telling any story it would have some accuracy in the plot, even if I was to put a twist on it. I knew that in my version I wanted it to have a Dark Souls influence. I still wanted to tell the main story of the rise and fall of Camelot but have a stronger fantasy element.
What was your strategy for completing your submission on time?
Tiago: The first step was to find some scenes showing strong acting but at the same time possible to depict with few elements. My strategy was keeping limited and very clear interest points. Basically, picking one person in the scene and give it the main focus, supporting it with a secondary focus point and finalizing the rest of the painting in a very loose way.
Hue: Completing the submission was neither hard or easy. I found myself brainstorming the main compositions and then moving them through a pipeline that I built to make everything work nice and easy. In terms of stylistic language was a small challenge to keep things consistent. My main focuses were related to shape language and to do as much as possible with it. A general note would be to have a clear idea of what you want to do or at least build some ideas and take things through iteration processes. Set yourself a quality benchmark for what your final creations are about and develop a clear pipeline for creating the final images.
Lap: After having taken part in many of the Artstation challenges, I pretty much a set routine I like to follow for them. Story planning (and research), followed by initial sketches, selection and render of the ones I think are best/fulfill the requirements the most.
Keyframe by Tiago Sousa
What was the most difficult part of this challenge for you?
Tiago: I have always heard about the King Arthur story, but I didn’t read it for real until the challenge. It was kind of difficult to read everything and have an overview of the entire piece (the Old English didn’t help at all). After that, choosing the scenes was also very hard because the book has so many interesting scenes and I tried to choose very distinct ones having in mind that the keyframes should feel like a full story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Hue: The most difficult part of this challenge was building the compositions and making them work the way I wanted them to. I try to always place myself as a viewer from outside looking at someone else’s work in order to find problems, self-criticism being key in the process. For example, the last frame with the death of Arthur was completely changed later due to the fact it was not transmitting the message I wanted to, and it was good to make those decisions because it made things look better and the ending message clearer. As I went through building these scenes, I found myself researching about animation. I was literally starting to storyboard to find ways of making everything possible which made it a learning experience as I went through it.
Lap: Part of the difficulty of this particular challenge was my lack of in-depth knowledge of the subject, compounded with an additional time constraint of my own. This meant I had to cut a section of my usual development phase, meaning I had to sketch out only the ones I fully intended to render.
Do you have any advice for future challengers?
Tiago: Explore new things. Feel free to use every resource at hand to tell the story but don’t forget to be focused on what you are trying to do. I really love these challenges because it is an in-between of study and work, where I can experiment with having a lot of freedom but be very committed at the same time. Whatever the result, you can learn a lot!
Hue: Follow the theme of a challenge and do not get to attached to your work. If your work fulfills the purpose, it helps become a reality through your lens and the art you create as an artist serves the idea it was given. It should always be remembered that you should make that idea to the best of your capabilities. Remember to be honest with yourself in the message you want to put across and take on these challenges for fun.
Lap: My advice for future challengers is always the same. Make sure that you give yourself enough time at the beginning of story development, which hopefully enables you to create a more cohesive series of keyframes. More importantly, have fun! Pick a subject or variant on the theme that will keep you interested and wanting to work on it.
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