Grabbing Pixels...

Space Invader
Mael
Block

Projects

Creating a more colorful world, one client, and one project at a time.

Personal

ShamanThm
PunkQueenThm
LavaThm
CosmonautThm
GameArtThm
CaitfellThm
StoryboardsThm
DawnThm
FishThm
StudiesThm
SnowThm
VixenThm

Professional

PaladinThm
PirotaseThm
OrsonThm
hneThm
hneThm
masseffectThm
guardianThm
thiefThm
jesterThm
InkThm
KrineskaThm
PhoenixThm

What I do

I'm a professional concept artist, illustrator, & graphic designer based out of Austin.


I'm currently employed with a sweet principle graphic designer gig, but feel free to reach out to me for other various contract projects.

I'm a Natural

Not to brag, but I graduated with highest honors after attending a couple of the finest colleges available for Game Design and Game Art in the country.

Modern technology

I like to use state of the art technology and only the best tools available for the job. I've worked with quite a bit, including the Adobe Suite, Autodesk, Pixologic, and other various software.

Locations

Visting places is fun! I also work with a lot of clients that are out of state and - at times - even out of country.

For every project

I like to tell a story with every project I work on. The reward, for me, is the collaborative atmosphere that I have with my clients and team, as well as the opportunity of discovering something new.

About Bar

Skills And Programs

Graph

Wanna Chat?

You can find me deep in the heart of Texas.

Email is always good too.

Shaman

Shaman

Shaman

The Shaman was created primarily for color scheme practice and painterly methods of drawing. I started the work by selecting an accented analogic color scheme consisting of greens, reds, and blues. After sketching out a very rough idea, I went to research hippo, warthog, and sheep skulls as her armor. The hippo lies over her head like a helm, the yellowed tusks protruding out from the sides to frame her face. Horns are the foundation for the feathers on her head, which hold a wispy mana. A peacock feather hangs from her skirt which is lined in other various bones and beads. Lastly, I wanted a new way to frame my characters outside of my generic flat background with a mirrored bottom. I took this chance to also practice environment studies, and came out with a jungle themed table.

The Queen of Punk

PunkQueen

Creature Design

Creature

A quick breakdown for one of the processes I sometimes use when rendering characters and objects.

The Cosmonaut

Cosmonaut

The cosmonaut was a painterly study completed with the intention of becoming a banner artwork for a university's Facebook page. I was approached and asked to complete a work to represent the university and its agenda of innovation. After sketching out many ideas, I eventually decided that a Cosmonaut would appropriately symbolize technological innovation and exploration. Space also effectively attracts the interest of a wide audience..

Game Illustrations

DryBones

SuperSmash

SuperSmash

A few character studies based on already existing games and IP's.

Caitfell

Caitfell

The Caitfell is a race that was created for a past project titled Death to the Immortals. A team asked if I could complete concept works for their project, and one of my tasks was to create a tiger-like race for the game. I started with a comic-book like approach and created a monstrous and aggressive race inspired by a sabertooth cat. The bone armor seen on the character indicates their age: the older the Caitfell, the more broken the bone armor appears. Below you can see the linework for the project.

Caitfell

Storyboards

These works were completed to expand my knowledge on storyboards. Directly below is a script that was pre-written, but it was my decision on how to visualize the scene.

Piano

Next, I selected a movie and chose a scene to break down into a storyboard. Credit goes to Disney's Tron: Legacy for the scene.

Tron

The work below was completed as a conceptual illustration for a storyboard script that was pre-written. The script was of a man sleeping, dreaming (or so he thought), until death appeared before him at the foot of his bed, eventually taking his life. I had to decide which pivotal moment I wanted to illustrate, so I chose to illustrate the moment death loomed over his bed, smiling.

DeadlyDream

Dawn

Dawn

Dawn

Dawn

Dawn

Personal character project.

Gone Fishin'

Fish

Studies

Ecorche Studies

Forms

Forms

Forms

Forms

Forms

Below is a master study of Earle's 'Purple Tree and Mountains.'

Earle

Twenty Below

Snow

This character and race was created for Dwarfstar games. I was approached to concept a snow inhabitant in an alien world

Vixen Squad

A study of 80's typography and general logo design. This eventually inspired an online women's game group to use as their own logo for t-shirts and other swag.

80's Text Study

vixenlogo

vixenclean

Logo Studies

logo2

logo

comparisonchart

The Paladin

Paladin

This is a player character design created for Knight Mayor Games. A part of the process can be seen below.

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Paladin

Pirotase

Pirotase

Pirotase is a 'sidekick' character created for Knight Mayor Games .

Orson

Orson

Orson is a an antagonist character created for Knight Mayor Games .

HNE Audio Graphic Design and Branding

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE

HNE
ava
An experimental and innovative project by Sayla Barnes

AvA, by utilizing a gripping and bold visual style along with immersive music and storytelling, will accomplish the aesthetics of being both an artful and emotional game that will help uproot the social stigmas attached to both suicide and depression. It will also feature a realistic and relatable young female protagonist to embrace that female leads in games can still result in a successful title. To pair with the art direction I have developed, the music selections for the game are also directed towards creating a more personal experience for each player. The overall goal is to introduce a completely new aesthetic both visually and emotionally, and provide players with a unique and unforgettable experience.
Above was my SIP video, but you will find more information below on the game and its development, including my innovation brief and a small slice of the game design document (for further understanding).

Innovation Brief

Here you can find some of the artwork that I created prior to the game and some of the processes I went through to determine which direction I should take when creating the art for AvA.
As mentioned in the video and my SIP innovation brief, I looked heavily into the art history of games and how games have effected player's emotions in particular ways. I wanted to have a clearer definition on the interaction between both the player and the game. Escapism is a highly interesting topic, and I needed to find out how I could add to the immersive capabilites that games have on people. And not only did I study game art itself, but I studied player emotions, interactions, and even what players have contributed to the industry in terms of turning games into art. A few examples below.

ava

While these artworks may not look like much outside of a few random screenshots taken while playing a game, they actually speak volumes for the game industry. The works that I selected to show above were more publicly well-known and accepted as artworks compared to many others that I sifted through. There is a common theme throughout all of these pieces, however. Something that can be noted is the lack of realism and addition of abstract practices in each work. In order to define a meaningful art direction for AvA, I needed to find what people actually consider to be artful. The public seems to enjoy the abstract direction taken when dealing with art, and so I decided to keep this in mind while developing a direction of my own. It appears that players can still enjoy experiences with low poly counts and pixelated themes in relation to the high-poly, realistic art directions that we see a lot of today.
After seemingly endless amounts of research, I was finally - and officially - able to define art as emotion. This was something that I needed to utilize in my work. My plan was to create a game that could help break and redefine the social stigmas that we have attached to both suicide and depression. Emotion is what I needed to utilize both visually and possibly through the storytelling aspect of the project. The next step was to find modern examples to help guide my aesthetic direction for the project.

ava

Limbo and Superbrothers : Sword and Sworcery became my final inspirations for the aesthetics of AvA. I wanted my game to look approachable and accessible to a wide audience, and so I chose a more "indie" approach to the art style. At the same time, I didn't want AvA to be verbatim to a typical "pixel art" title like Sword and Sworcery. That's where I found Limbo to fall in as a secondary inspiration. Limbo keep it's simplicity without being a pixel art style game. It helps to set it apart from the rest of the titles, and remain unique.
After several different renditions, I finally managed to sketch something that I felt like finally struck a chord with my idea. My first official artwork for AvA can be seen below.

ava

Admittedly, it looks simple, while remaining subtly complex. The direction ended up being a balance between pixel art and shape art with gradients. I'm used to working in very colorful palettes, but I decided to try something completely different than what I was used to. I wanted the world that AvA drops into to be completely opposite of ours, and a little "techy." I wanted the trees, and buildings, and platforms, and backgrounds to be copied and pasted over and over again; unlike our own world, I wanted patterns to be seen, with nothing remaining overly unique. This world needed to be different in every way possible : it needed to look different, act different, and play different. After further refining this style through weeks and months of working and reworking, my final iteration of the lead illustrative work was complete.
ava

Ava - the lead protagonist - went through a few iterations as well. The first step was deciding on her silhouette, what she would look like in the real world, and then what she would look like in-game. 
ava

ava

ava

And finally, the in game versions.

ava

Spirits

Some of the spirits that Ava has opportunites to encounter and befriend can be seen below. I had already established the direction that I wanted to take with the animals in my lead illustration, which included the deer and the wolf.

ava

Before creating any assets to put in an engine, I created a quick screenshot mock-up of what the game could possibly look like.

ava

The next step was to begin creating assets for the game. Below is a large backdrop asset that I used for the background.

ava

Other Assets

ava

Final Result:
*Note* : Animations seen below are currently placeholders.

Thank you for your time. I will conclude this page with another promotional art I completed for AvA as well as a few logo designs I developed for the game. Hopefully there will be more developments on the way soon!

ava

ava

Developer Logo

ava

M25 Hurricane

MassEffect

MassEffect

Vehicle design created for a team working on Red Sand : A Mass Effect Fan Film. I was approached and asked to create a vehicle design to transport small cargo and people around the planet of Mars. I heavily studied past vehicles from the Mass Effect universe (specifically the Mako and Hammerhead), and eventually painted a concept of the M25 : Hurricane to be used in the film.

Grey Guardian

MassEffect

The Grey Guardian was created for Little Red Goblin Games, and the illustration was released in a publication titled The Rogue's Gallery. I was the sole artist for this publication, and it was my job to establish the art direction and character appearances for the work. I was given high artistic freedom during this process when creating the characters. This means that I was simply given a title/phrase, and then I created my designs.

Gentleman Thief

Thief

The Gentleman Thief was created for Little Red Goblin Games, and the illustration was released in a publication titled The Rogue's Gallery. I was the sole artist for this publication, and it was my job to establish the art direction and character appearances for the work. I was given high artistic freedom during this process when creating the characters. This means that I was simply given a title/phrase, and then I created my designs.

Jesters

jester

The Gentleman Thief was created for Little Red Goblin Games, and the illustration was released in a publication titled The Rogue's Gallery. I was the sole artist for this publication, and it was my job to establish the art direction and character appearances for the work. I was given high artistic freedom during this process when creating the characters. This means that I was simply given a title/phrase, and then I created my designs.

Legendary Levels

The characters listed below were all created for Little Red Goblin Games, and were all included in one of their best-selling publications titled Legendary Levels. I was the sole artist for this publication, and it was my job to establish the art direction and character appearances for the work. I was given high artistic freedom, however there were many limitations for the project itself. There were many character illustration designs that I needed to complete, and because they needed to be developed in a timely manner, I chose a different art direction than what I usually work with. Instead, I chose an 'inking' effect with smooth, dynamic lines to retain the life of the characters without sacrificing their personality. I looked primarily at Marvel comics and other comic artists to help establish the style.

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

legendary

Krineska

Krineska

Krineska (antagonist) was created for Little Red Goblin Games, and the illustration was released as the cover to a publication titled The Rogue's Gallery. I was the sole artist for this publication, and it was my job to establish the art direction and character appearances for the work. I was given high artistic freedom during this process when creating the characters.

Rise

batman

Tattoo design created for a client.