In our previous article, we spoke to game designer Hervé Lemaître about his inspiration behind the artwork in Western Legends. Now we hear from illustrator Roland Macdonald and how he took Hervé’s ideas and turned them into the beautiful artwork we see today.
Although it could have been easy to go with the quintessential Western style, Roland wanted to look into alternative representations of the American Wild West. He wanted to not only keep the Spaghetti Western feel but also bring something innovative and unique to the table.
Taking inspiration from watercolor illustrations and the Blueberry comics that were shared, Roland has created a different take on the classic Western theme.
He takes tremendous inspiration from 20 – 50’s American advertising art and that shows in his work. His color palette often leans towards retro feel colors that are commonly seen in 20th-century advertising art and classic animation, and he wanted to incorporate that into the artwork of Western Legends, giving the fresh look and feel.
20’s – 50’s American advertising art has a very distinct look combining striking colors and bold illustrations. Photography was a recognized art form but advertising still mainly relied on artists and illustrators to produce the high-quality advertisements. The art deco style was seen as elegant and refined, the peak of modernity. Collectors actively seek ads from this period because of their distinctive look.
Another art style that Roland admires and takes inspiration from are Japanese Ukiyoe prints, 20S-50S. Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes. The term ukiyo-e translates as “picture[s] of the floating world.” Similar to the advertising art, the colors are bold, and images are striking, and it’s obvious to see this influence in Roland’s work.
Taking all of this inspiration as well as his admiration for board game artists such as Vincent Dutrait, Ian O’Toole, and Biboun, Roland was able to create immersive artwork that really captures the essence of Western Legends. Innovative artwork that compliments the equally innovative gameplay.