Games Omniverse On: Steeven Labeau
He credits his early creative development to an artistic family. His grandfather sculpted wooden figures, his mother wrote books, and his father liked to draw. Likewise, his sister painted and his brother aspired to be a comic book artist.
As an aspiring paleontologist, Steeven spent a lot of time hunting for fossils in his parents’ garden. As an aspiring game designer, he spent a lot of time playing his Game Boy. And as an aspiring comic book artist, he spent a lot of time reading comics. You could say Steeven had big dreams.
Favorite comics included the classic DuckTales as well as Carl Barks’ and Keno Don Rosa’s stories of Scrooge McDuck. The very first comic page he drew featured Donald Duck, though that magnificent work has been lost to history. Steeven’s brother introduced him to comics like Spiderman and X-men. Other major influences included manga like Appleseed (Masamune Sirow), Dragon Ball (Akira Toriyama), and Battle Angel Alita (Yukito Kishiro). These proved an enormous influence on the evolution of his style. They were decisive in his choice to study visual communications after high school.
At the start of his studies, Steeven focused on comics and other creative projects. He spent time as an inker, letterer, and worked with a writer on several artistic projects. Many projects presented themselves but, as always, very few of them were paying. Video games remained an interest of his and, finally, he got an opportunity with us at Games Omniverse. Games Omniverse offered him the chance to grow and learn with an experienced team, so his focus for now is on video games, but he also finds time to work on comics and collaborate on children’s book projects.
Steeven’s work with us starts with an idea or description from someone else on the team. He takes that idea or that written description and turns it into a visual sketch, adapted around the concepts we’re using in the Danika Dire story. Steeven’s pencil sketches serve as the foundation for the final art, be it adding ink and colors for static scenes or be it as a base for animation and coding for something animated.
Initially, Steeven worked on environments and areas like the ballroom. However, he’s started branching out. One of his most recent projects is the Mud Puppy, which you may have read about here on our site, or other scary monsters from the Mud Realm. He also works on visual parts for some of the game’s puzzles. If you want to see those, you might find some of them in the ballroom or guest bathroom. Steeven’s also helped out with the map and various other nice things to keep players from losing their bearings in Dire Mansion.
The Dire Mansion environments are all done in a mostly-realistic style, so Steeven’s research for his art tends to come from real life. He looks at a little bit of everything, from photographic references of a particular place or theme to a particular memory or event from his life. It could even be something from an article he’s read or a scene from a movie.
Steeven also credits a professor in perspective from his artistic education. While he didn’t have any particular skills or abilities in environmental art when he started his studies, her wonderful advice helped him tremendously with this project and this portion of his career.
Each sketch starts with a pencil outline. For those, Steeven uses mechanical pencils with graphite and blue leads. For paper, he sticks with the classic sheets of A4-sized (8.27” x 11.7”) paper. A Smudgeguard helps keep the drawing clean and he uses a retractable eraser as well as a regular eraser for correcting any mistakes.
When Steeven does inking, he uses India ink and brushes. For digital work after inking, his trusty tablet comes into play. When he’s doing coloring, the tablet does the heavy lifting for sketches and line work, with all the coloring done in Photoshop.
You’ll see more work from Steeven in the first installment of Danika Dire and you can check out his column on the Mud Puppy here. We’ll talk to more of the team in the coming weeks to give you more deep dives on who they are and how they work.
Content Created by: Shannon P. Drake