Watercress Developer Blog #7 - Delve into Art with Albro1

Hey guys!  I'm Albro1.  I go by many names.  Albro, Chris, Chalkbro (More on that later), and whatever else.

There hasn't been a whole lot of Dev Blogs regarding the art side of our team.  A lot of that is on me, but again, that is for later.

I'm the Art Team Coordinator for Watercress Studios, and I am talking to you all today about the recent changes in organization and the process of progress for the art team.

But first, a little about myself.


I am 20 years old.  I am pursuing a degree in Art with a concentration in Visual Communications, but I am a lot more interested in Character Design and Concept Art.   
Just under a year ago, I discovered "Katawa Shoujo" in a post that made the front page of /r/gaming that depicted a hilariously photoshopped picture of dialog choices when the character "Emi" bumps into you.
I laughed at this hilariously dark humor, and decided to try out the game.  The actual content surprised me a lot, and once I finished the game I went to the /r/katawashoujo subreddit to try to vent my feelings however I could.   
Fast forward a few months, and I see a thread about a "spiritual successor" of sorts, a post that was trying to get a bunch of people from the subreddit to work together and make a visual novel.  I was immediately interested,
though slightly nervous because I was not confident in my artistic skills.  There weren't very many artists wanting to join though, so I got in pretty easily.  The art team was very small and very unorganized, and I ended up being the Coordinator.   
I had some unfortunate life circumstances shortly afterwards and disappeared for a while.


So now I am back, and I have taken the initiative to reorganize the art team and try some new techniques to unify us.

Our current roster of artists that I'm working with is:

1. Anagram-Daine (Currently on a burn-out hiatus)
2. InstantRiot
3. flutterfright
4. SerBrooker (Also on a hiatus)

We have weekly meetings where I start up my stream on picarto.tv and open their work from the previous week in Photoshop and start reviewing it.  I go over things they did well and things they can improve on,
and even draw on it to demonstrate.  Once I have finished going over the assignments from the previous week, we go over a new subject.  I use the stream to demonstrate a concept, like "color theory" for example.
We have a lot of fun and learn things together, then I give them an assignment pertaining to what I went over that week for them to do and have for me at the next meeting.

This process has brought the art team from the broken shambles it was in to a much more unified group that is ready and willing to work.  Two of our members have slightly burned themselves out doing other things, unfortunately,
but it is only temporary and we will move forward from here. 

My technique of doing a peer review of their pieces and then demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses, as well as going over a subject on my stream and demonstrating it, really helps to bring the team together
and it also helps to make us start thinking in a more similar way.  The closer our thoughts are when creating pieces, the more unified our art will be as an end result.  I'm not expecting all of our art to be identical,
of course, but this will help us ease into the mindset of working together to create our pieces in a unified style, and also keeps our minds open to letting our peers give us advice and even attempt modifications of our
pieces (hopefully for the better!).

I really think the Art team is moving in a very positive direction from where it was, and it wouldn't have been possible without these awesome artists willing to stick by me and listen to me ramble about my
absolute favorite Photoshop brush, the Chalk Brush (Hence the Chalkbro nickname, told you I would get to that later!).

This is a psuedo "boot camp" for us right now, but we hope to have some awesome art out for you guys soon!

If you want to stay really up-to-date and see where the art will go first, make sure to Watch us on our DeviantArt!

Hope you guys enjoyed this look into the Art Team at Watercress!  Feel free to ask any questions you might have!