Multiple art styles

Is anyone aware why FL and Sea have multiple visually contrasting art styles (despite all art in Skies being near-identical)? It seems strange to me that the cartoony pics are frequently next to photorealistic ones.

At first I assumed that all the cartoony ones were from &quotold FL&quot, but the rusty census badge is pretty cartoony despite having been created only a few months ago.

The more cartoony ones from the cards are definitely from the beginnings of the game. Some have been phased out, but a fair few remain. Will be nice when the day comes when the more irksome of them are gone forever, as they do jar, but part of me will be sad to see them go.

Personally I don’t find the art style of the census badge out of keeping with some of the other newer images.

Personally I really don’t like the hyper-realistic oil painting style. They’re fabulous artistic creations in their own right, but they don’t fit the vague, half-sketched, mysterious atmosphere of the game at all. (like, why even bother giving characters the &quotAdjective Noun&quot naming style if you’re going to draw every pore on their nose?)

But some of the more recent pieces of art seem to have backed away from that a little, while still maintaining an overall higher quality than the early &quotcartoons&quot. I can live with that compromise. --I will maintain to my grave, though, that the simple, schematic, almost wood-block style is a better fit for FL’s atmosphere and tone than even somewhat-realistic portraits. (I always found the Sunless Seas NPCs whose portraits were based on real-life backers quite cringey, for example.)
edited by hwoosh on 5/28/2021

While i see much merit in Hwoosh’s point, i find it hard to look past the fact that a significant number of the portraits in SSkies are just… really hawt. >_>

Yeah, there are a couple of backer portraits in the games that are… obvious. When you look at a well-designed character such as the Dark-Spectacled Admiral, it’s pretty clear that his proportions are quite stylized, which gives a better overall design. When it is based on a real person, it just looks jarring.
edited by NotaWalrus on 5/29/2021

I’m still bothered by the new Stolen Kiss art. It’s almost the same as the old art, but before it looked like a classic “kiss” icon, and now it looks like part of someone’s face.

To be fair, not being a Catholic priest - I’d much rather kiss a part of someone’s face, than an icon.

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I completely agree, the older art was much more mysterious and seemed more Victorian.

It’s a very mixed bag. I’m not particularly bothered about the small images (though let’s not mention the Princess). Some are very appealing: for instance, I really like the picture we got for the big dig and subsequent rescue of the Neath: the green skyline.
The larger ones are a different matter. Part of the purpose of, e.g. the art announcing the ES every month is to add to the appeal and encourage you to want to play it and meet the character. It usually does that very well indeed.
For me, one recent failure was the mushroom tale. I found that image (and hence the character) really offputting and still haven’t decided whether or not to unlock the story & the island with Fate.

The only pictures I really dislike the new art for is the rats. I preferred when they looked like actual rats, not anthropomorphic cartoon animals.

The worst, IMO, is the recent Rubbery Man art that makes it look like an earthly squid, rather than a tentacled horror from Somewhere Else in a Victorian suit and top hat. “Squid-face” is supposed to be a slur, not a straightforward description of what their heads look like.

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