Grabbing Pixels...

Space Invader
Mael
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Concept Art and Illustration

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

Personal

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Professional

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Graphic Design

I also like to make things look good.

Professional



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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 and work opportunities.

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

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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

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PunkQueen

Creature Design

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Creature

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

The Cosmonaut

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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..

Dry Bones

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A character study from the Mario universe:

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Caitfell

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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. Below you can also see the linework for the project.

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Storyboards

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dawn

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Dawn

Dawn

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Dawn

Personal character project.

Gone Fishin'

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Fish

Studies

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Ecorche Studies

Forms

Forms

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Forms

Twenty Below

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Snow

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

The Paladin

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Paladin

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

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Paladin

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Paladin

Pirotase

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Pirotase

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

Orson

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Orson

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

Bucky O' Hare Album

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A cover and promotional image created for a tribute album to the old NES game Bucky O' Hare. I was responsible for the illustration, and while I did not create the font for the logo, I did work on the graphics for the logo itself (rabbit icon, bars, etc.).

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Linework and final cover:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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. 
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And finally, the in game versions.

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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.

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

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

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Other Assets

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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!

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Developer Logo

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M25 Hurricane

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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.

Little Red Goblin Games

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Character concepts created for Little Red Goblin Games.

The Jester:

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The Grey Guardian:

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The Gentleman Thief:

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Legendary Levels

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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.

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Krineska

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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.

Logo Design


Below you will find a few selected logo designs. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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Classic Game Fest

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In function during the 2016 event:

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This particular logo was created for a gaming convention that occurs yearly in Austin, TX. Classic Game Fest is not only the largest retro gaming convention in Texas, but likely the second largest retro gaming convention in the entire country. It is currently rounding its 10th year, celebrating with 75,000 square feet of retro awesome-NES! It also is now sporting an entirely new logo, as well as a completely new website, completely new promotional material, and quite a bit of new swag. I've been responsible for all design and art for the entire event, down to things such logos, t-shirts, booklets, and more!


Game Over Cast

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The Game Over Cast logo was created for a company podcast. They release monthly recordings discussing news, games, and talk. You can find some of their discussions here: Game Over Videogames.


Game Over Plays

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The Game Over Plays logo was created for a Let's Play category. While the segments are still a work in progress, this logo will appear on all splash screens of the videos.


Personal Logo

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A personal logo design. Anchored to love of retro games and daydreaming about the days of the '90s, I'm an artist that creates wildly with instant inspiration. My work is a Bit O' Love wrapped on a digital canvas.


Hear No Evil Audio

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In function:

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Hear No Evil Audio is a professional sound production company based out of Austin, TX. They help developers create the perfect audio for various projects. You can find them here: HNE Audio.com. My role was to not only develop a single, primary logo for the company, but I also worked on other various logos and promotional art as well.


Austin Historical Weapons Guild

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This logo was created for the Austin Historical Weapons Guild, a school focused on the study and recreation of Historical European Martial Arts.

Justin Fowler Art

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On some occasions, I get to help co-develop a logo design, and this was the result of one of those situations. Justin is a digital artist, and he can be found sporting this logo here: JustinFowlerArt.com.

Vehicle Wrap Design

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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A vehicle wrap created for Game Over Videogames. I produced all artwork and the layout for the wrap, including a highly organized AI file for the installation company to use for printing. 100% of the van was designed in Illustrator, and then taken to Photoshop to match to templates.

Business Card Design

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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A few selected business card designs.

Austin Historical Weapons Guild

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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These are marketing and branding materials created for the Austin Historical Weapons Guild.

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Below are a handful of logo variations that we went through.

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Here are tshirt mockups and more illustrative versions of the logo (complete with variations), meant to be placed on things such as installations, tshirts, and etc. The final version was completed in Illustrator so it could easily be translated for printing.

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Black and White Flyer Work

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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These are examples of black and white formatting I have completed for in-store/in-convention usage.

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Social Media Formatting

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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Here are a handful of examples from our company social media pages - I'm in charge of formatting all cover photos, ad images, thumbnails, and - at times - profile pictures. I am very fluent in dodging around Facebook compression, formatting for the squareness of Instagram, and filling the immense spaces of the Twitter, Google +, and Youtube banners.

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Grand Opening Poster

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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A grand opening poster created for the store environment.

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A black and white variant:

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Pokemon Standup Sign

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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A social media check-in sign with a Pokemon theme.

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In-Store Signage

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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Various in-store signage and products.

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Classic Game Fest

Below you will find a selected design work. All materials, vector art, and images that you see were created solely by me, unless specified otherwise.

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The following products, branding, and marketing material were created for a gaming convention that occurs yearly in Austin, TX. Classic Game Fest is not only the largest retro gaming convention in Texas, but likely the second largest retro gaming convention in the entire country. It is currently rounding its 10th year, celebrating with 75,000 square feet of retro awesome-NES! It also is now sporting an entirely new logo, as well as a completely new website, completely new promotional material, and quite a bit of new swag. I've been responsible for all design, products, and art for the entire event, down to things such logos, t-shirts, booklets, and more!

Logo Design:

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Main Promotional Image:

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Tshirts:

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Event Badges:

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Band Promotional Image:

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Event Booklet (All ads except Funimation, Retron, Ebay, and Pinballz were designed by me, as well as the rest of the booklet):

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General Handouts:

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CGF Guests Promotional Image:

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Stickers:

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Koozies:

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Eco Bags:

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Other Event Pictures:

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Master Study

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A master study of Earle's "Purple Tree and Mountains."

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