Älemm is a concept art project designed around the focus on environment and set design. Using four different biomes (desert, arctic, coastline, and swamp), I wanted to create different world maps based upon these distinct areas. In order to create an all encompassing and convincing world, the project includes: landscapes, key images, and outfit line up for each of the biomes.
This project was actually created as a semester long thesis at my last semester at MICA. Since my main focus during my career at MICA was character design and lifestyles, I wanted to practice my hand at environment design. I chose environment design because every good concept artist has skills within the character and environment within a fictional world. Since I only really had good practice with the character aspect, I wanted to dedicate a long term project on create believable and working environments.
I started off deciding it would be best to choose environments at random and just start creating worlds based on them. I tried to go into the project cold and not create any preconceived notions on what I wanted to create or have favoritism among any I chose. I went look through Pinterest, tumblr, and even my own collection of movie visual development books like The Force Awakens and Pacific Rim to build a reference collection that I could use for these project. While my style is just something I have built over time, finding color palettes that were visually engaging was something that was difficult for me. In the end, I wanted each of the environments to have their own highlight color and then started choosing palettes based on that.
In the beginning, I would do a rough sketch of each of my pieces directly into my sketchbook with a pencil and pen. I would do about 5+ thumbnails per piece in order to get a good composition started. What was great about having this project during my time at MICA was that I could utilize the critique of my teachers and classmates. From perspective to composition, I got a lot of help from them in order to create visually compelling pieces. Once the sketches were satisfactory, I would scan these images and start working on them with Adobe Photoshop and my Wacom Intuos tablet. All the inks, colors, and textures were done digitally through that program. When I created a mini- book for this series, I created the layout in Adobe InDesign.
I got a lot of great feedback from classmates, teachers, and other illustrators and I am glad I was able to proudly show this project at my commencement show at MICA. The intention of this project was so that I would be able to practice environment design and have a chance to reach out of my comfort zone and I am happy I was able to do it. I learned a lot during this process and I believe it helped me understand the world of concept and visual development better. It was fun to use the processes I use for character design but interpret them in a way to successfully design a world instead.
While this project is complete, I hope to use all I have learned to create even more visually compelling worlds and stories for people to view. And maybe in the future, dive into the world of comics and graphic novels.
I love using instagram (misha.doodles) and tumblr (mishadoodles) to post sketches and post majority of my pieces on my main website (mbozenda.com). Thanks for taking your time to read and browse!