Karina's initial step in the production process was to gather images for a mood board and key references. Originally, this was to give each portrait a sense of epic atmosphere, which she later abandoned in favor of a more realistic and serene mood. She opted to focus more on The 4 Winds' color pallet, mostly experimenting with the T4W purple and T4W pink.
As with the foundational art done by Flora Silve (which you can read all about in this blog post
), we wanted to highlight our enthusiasm for discovery, sailing, and modern-day expeditions led by explorers including Felicity Aston, Jacques Cousteau, and others.
This led Karina to use that same foundational art for the mood board. It helped her make sure that when she came to coloring, both Flora's work and our team's avatars would compliment each other, creating a single piece of sequential art. She was inspired by paintings from two of her favorite painters from the 20th century, J. C. Leyendecker and iconic digital artist Moby Francke from Valve, known for his work on Team Fortress 2, Portal and Left 4 Dead.
Another source of inspiration were photos of explorers like Jacques Cousteau, Robert Ballard, and Ranulph Fiennes, along with modern shots of sailors and ships' crew. Their uniforms, badges of rank, hats and so on were a key factor when Karina was doing her rough sketches.