Interview with Starborne: Frontiers 2D Artist, Stefanía Ómarsdóttir
Stefanía Ómarsdóttir is our 2D artist here at Solid Clouds. Let's take a deep dive into what her role entails, and how she brings her artwork to life!
What are your main responsibilities, and what does an average workday look like for you?
I’m mostly responsible for anything illustrated and 2D artwork, which currently includes character designs, icon designs, and compositing illustrations for banners.
As for my typical workday, that’s a very difficult question, since my workday varies greatly depending on the tasks I have at any given time. But the most consistent thing is that I grab a muffin from the shop next door, and make a coffee or tea to have while I go over Slack messages and tasks, before sinking myself into whatever I need to be doing on that day.
Are there any new techniques you have learned during your time here that have become integral to your workflow?
I have learned so many things, especially when it comes to digital painting and character art. I think the most important things would be color contrast, values and rendering techniques when working on digital art in Photoshop. And most recently I’ve been integrating AI art generators into my toolbox, since it seems that using AI as a tool in your art-making process will be an important skill in the near future.
When making a character, what aspects matter most to you?
I focus on giving the character a good presence, and attitude, and making the pose and/or expression really tell you something about that character. The most important thing for me is to make sure the character doesn’t feel flat or boring, and when you have a collection of over 100 characters like we currently do, it’s also important to make sure they don’t all look too similar. For that reason, we try and make sure to include characters of all types of ethnicities, body types, gender, age, etc.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Probably the moments when I get hyper-focused and almost lost in the illustration I’m working on. It’s a good feeling when you’re working on something you really like (or love) and you just get almost sucked right into the screen and forget about everything else.
Can you talk us through the process of your designs, from inception to the final product?
The process varies greatly, depending on what exactly I’m working on. But for most things, I start by browsing Artstation and Pinterest for inspiration, and sometimes I’ll make a mood board with references and some notes which I can go over with our art director. After that, I’ll either sketch something from scratch, photobash a bunch of images together, or generate an image in AI to then manipulate and edit to fit our style and needs. But sometimes I’ll do all three of those mixed in one. After that comes the longest part of the process, which is defining values, lighting and shadows, colors, details, and rendering.
Arena tier Icons
Who is your favorite character?
That’s a really difficult question! My favorite is usually the last one I made. But Arum has a special place in my heart since that was the first character I made all by myself for Frontiers. Before that character, I had been more of a project manager of character designs, handling feedback and communications with an outsourcing company.
Arum and Grif artwork
Are there any challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is to not let my impostor syndrome take over and paralyze my creativity. The best thing I can do to overcome that is to allow myself to take a step away from that task, do something else for a while, and then come back to it. It’s so easy to get hyper-focused on a problem, but when I distance myself from it and come back later, I usually find that it wasn’t such an issue to begin with.
How do you approach color? Do you have a specific palette for all assets or do you just go with the flow?
We have an approximate color palette for each faction, so for each character creation I just keep older character designs visible on the screen next to my artwork, so that I can keep track of the color palette. I don’t use a pre-made palette for all assets, I just kinda go with the flow I guess.
Who is your favorite artist, and how do they provide inspiration for your work?
My favorite artists throughout my life I guess would be Salvador Dalí, Zdzislaw Beksinski, and as a teenager I really loved the art of Luis Royo. None of them actually inspire my work at Solid Clouds (at least not consciously), since we are only working on sci-fi themed games at the moment. When I need to find inspiration for my current work at Solid Clouds, I look at artwork on Pinterest and Artstation that fits the sci-fi genre, but I can’t really pinpoint any specific artist.
What do you like most about working at Solid Clouds?
I’m gonna be super sappy and say I like my coworkers the most. But I also really appreciate how my professional growth has been encouraged and I feel that my superiors trust me and value my efforts. We also have game days regularly, which is always a lot of fun.