BTS #1: Captain Nym. Giving the Slip
We've long been asked about how we make our art, and how our cards come to be. This is our first little deep-dive into that process. Enjoy the ride!
Nym is one of our most oft requested pilots, and rightly so — he's a beast on the tabletop. Doing justice to our bad-guy-turned-good, tentacled friend was top priority, and from the outset we agreed the best way to do that was by digging into and dialing up his nefarious past!
Our early concepts (pictured above) start on paper, and feature Nym potentially conducting a shady deal with an obscured buyer, or looking to profit off others' misfortunes, or getting caught and impounded by Imperial forces for illicit freight.
All of these are certainly scummy themes, but none feel uniquely... Nym. Nym and Havoc (his stolen Scurgg bomber) are no strangers to tense escapes and harrowing action — and they never get caught.
"So what about an attempt to, then!"
We're familiar of course with Hollywood-style cop chases: flashing blue lights, high-speed road combat. The speedster outruns a swarm of pursuants, leaving a veritable trail of death and destruction behind him.
But...in Star Wars? We pride ourselves on staying as true to lore as possible, fleshing out only side stories and scenes that could-have-been. Finding out if cops exist in-universe is task #1.
Funnily enough, we'd both actually just finished binge-watching the Clone Wars animated series together (big fans, can't recommend it more).
Without giving away too much for the uninitiated, we recall a particular dive into the criminal underworld of Coruscant. Thousands of layers beneath the polished Republic Senate and the Jedi Council is a crummy, crime-ridden toxic undercity — just the kind of place Nym might have a run-in with the Feds. (Who we find are actually called the Coruscant Security Force)
Perfect. Let's do it.
Rebuilding a sliver of Coruscant, as well as its Security Force, are both monumental tasks — but we go hard in our little homage to the Clone Wars (#whywasitcancelled), building out both city and Security Force ships from scratch with what little reference we can find. Creating these assets takes us several days, but is a labour of love that we hope will show in the final piece!
Concurrently, we're also chipping away (literally) at Havoc. In canon, Nym stole the ship — then still a prototype — from it’s designers. Given this, and Nym’s reputation as a devil-may-care adventurer, we decided that the Scurrg has been through a lot by the time our scene takes place. We weathered, chipped and muddied the previously pristine ship - scarring it to help tell its story (like you would with a normal miniatures paint-job).
With all our hero elements built, hulls suitably scuffed, and Police designed up, it’s time to bring the scene to life. We are now one and a half weeks in.
Phew. Now we can get into the fun stuff.
Nym’s pilot ability lets him drop bombs on his foes and completely disregard the damage. Perfect for Nym, but not so much for his pursuers.
The perfect environment for his ability to shine? Tight, narrow, and claustrophobic - with nowhere to go but a stressful 5 Straight. Despite the direction of the chase, Nym has the upper hand. His plan of escape — like our art — starts to come together.
The bomblet chute of the Scurgg springs open...
With the story and setting starting to take shape, we turn to sorting out the mood. Lighting is paramount in our work, as this is where our scene really comes to life. Coruscant is a city built on a city (built on a city), and we decide no natural light reaches dem depths.
Rather than strong, steady sunlight, we opt to rely solely on artificial light to create a striking wash of colour. The seedy mix of neon-signs (which read Outlander Bar, and Level 934) and police flashes will provide us a fitting canvas to sit Nym in. He himself has his foglights on, which we do to add a sense of direction to the scene (as we still want to imply speed, but are reluctant to use motion blur here for the sake of the scene's details and texture).
Instead, once our scene is assembled and lit satisfactorily, we shoot it with a 36mm lens at a massive f/0.8 (for any photographers out there), which delivers super deep depth of field in our scene [above]. This adds to the chaos and stress of the scene — hinting at an infinite number more cops on the horizon, while allowing you to focus on action in the foreground.
With all of this finally coming together, our Nym is close to complete. It's off to Photoshop for the final bits of love and attention (scene dust glinting in the light, the holographic flickering of the signs, static discharge on Nym's bomblets and some painterly strokes).
Aaaaand from our initial thought of a Star Wars cop chase, to the finished art:
We think Nym would be suitably happy with this one. If you stayed until the end, we thank you greatly. Being able to bring our world to life for you has been an educational experience for us, we just hope it has been the same for you too. We'll be continuing to re-invest in and develop our process, and the work we put out, in the hopes you'll be able to follow our journey and benefit from it too :)