Alakazam! The Game of Dueling Wizards
Alakazam is a fast-paced, spell-slinging game for two where players throw magic blasts, summon creatures and drain their opponent’s strength all in an attempt to be the last wizard standing. After seeing the work I did for a personal game of mine Spellblasters, Chronicle Books enlisted me to produce all the artwork for this project that was as fun to work on as it is to play.
For my fellow gamers, Alakazam is available for purchase on the Chronicle Books website.
Working with the talented Ryan Hayes at Chronicle Books, I began the project by providing rough layouts for Alakazam’s box art. At this point my main focus was not on creating exceptional art, but on ensuring the imagery would be clear and work well alongside the other design elements. By using only three tones (black, white and grey) we could could get a sense of whether or not a concept would work before any hard labour was put into polishing a direction. As exciting as it can be to jump straight into final artwork (especially when the subject matter is wizards), this approach ensured that the least amount of time was wasted.
Once the cover’s direction and final drawing had been approved I moved onto colour explorations. By ignoring the details I was able to quickly produce a few different palettes we could use for the artwork. Ultimately we decided against the split colour background, which only reinforces the idea that putting in less work up-front was beneficial. Had I went straight into final artwork after having the drawing approved I would have wasted a lot of time refining a background that would be abandoned. Here are some unused colour options:
While this is a bit simplistic, here are the three major steps used to create the cover artwork. First we landed on a refined, final drawing. Second, we nailed down the primary colours and linework. Lastly, textured brushes were used to bring the shapes and linework to life. After creating the cover, we now had a process we could use for all the artwork that was to come.
In addition to the various spells you can hurl at your opponent, players in Alakazam have the ability to summon one of six creatures to beat down their foe. Just as with the cover, I began this phase of the project by churning out a bunch of quick concepts to see what did and did not resonate with the team’s vision. Here are just a few of the concepts I presented:
With six chosen creature designs from my initial round of concepts (three for each player), I brought each drawing to a final state like you see below. Then, following the same process as with the cover design, brought each creature to its final execution.
Here is a line-up of the final creatures summonable in Alakazam. The blue wizard’s mastery of water and ice can be seen reflected in the allies available to him. The same can be said of the red wizard’s mastery of fire and earth.
Here are some shots of the final product—inside and out! I’m honoured to have worked with so many great people on this project and to have the privilege of further nerding out over games and fantasy—two lifelong obsessions of mine. I hope you enjoyed viewing this project!