The Art of the Calamity cover

ART OF THE CALAMITY:

CHARACTER DESIGN AND WORLDBUILDING

The Art of The Calamity: Character Design and Worldbuilding is a book created in partial fulfillment of the requirements for my Honors Program thesis. The book explores four characters with which we began a long-term TRPG campaign, pulling from and using their concepts, designs, and spirits to facilitate the worldbuilding process in a brand new setting. Inside the book is a balance of illustrations, concept art, and writing pertaining to the characters and their relationships to the world.

The physical copy of the book was sold in a limited print run and will not be available again. Digital PDF copies are available for sale in my Gumroad store, linked below!

SAMPLE PAGE SPREADS:

A LOOK AT WHAT'S INSIDE

ENVISIONING THE SUBJECT:

GETTING TO KNOW THE PARTY

Every campaign begins with a party of adventurers. An often peculiar band of individuals from different backgrounds, motives, and outlooks on life.

A few sessions into our campaign, we saw our first piece of campaign art: a drawing of the party made by one of our players. This set the framework for much of the character design in this project, though I took some artistic and conceptual liberties, adding personal touches, altering or adding armors, and more, ending with the group drawing you see here.

THE FIRST CHAPTER:

INTRODUCING THE NARRATIVE

One of the very first pieces of art from the campaign that I made, featuring the original party of four from the first session of our campaign.


This illustration depicts the first scene of the story, where the party suddenly wakes up, a group of strangers, in the middle of an unfamiliar forest.

 

The first encounter of the campaign is hinted at by the presence of slimes in the background by the treeline.

CHARACTER & ITEM DESIGN:

EXPLORING CHARACTER CONCEPTS

Character reference sheets detailing armor and clothing layers, the coins they carried as plot devices, and a full body drawing, paired with individual headshots, made for a well-rounded look at each character's appearance and personality.

GODS & FAITH:

SYMBOLISM AND DESIGN

Gods and faith are subjects, in fantasy worlds, that always excite me. Each character in this project was, in some way, linked to a particular deity or cosmic force, and that link was explored through design, writing, and conceptualizing, in a way that helped set the foundation for future worldbuilding regarding the pantheons of Malkora.

ODE TO OUR CALAMITY:

SENIOR THESIS EXHIBITION, MAY 11-17, 2019

The Art of The Calamity: Character Design and Worldbuilding was presented as part of my senior thesis exhibition, along with much of the artwork featured within. The printed books were available for viewing during the opening reception, and were available only by appointment for the remainder of the show's open dates.

POLINA ARTEEV | POLINAARTEEV@GMAIL.COM

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All images © 2019 by Polina Arteev unless otherwise stated. Do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Polina Arteev.