Published on November 7th, 2011 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor
Square Enix Celebrates 15 Years of Tomb Raider With Impressive Artwork
Crystal Dynamics, a Square Enix studio, today announced Tomb Raider’s 15 Year Anniversary Exhibition has ended, with a gallery of commissioned art now ready to debut in its entirety.
Crystal Dynamics played curator to the unique digital exhibition, commissioning eight original pieces from an accomplished collection of artists and releasing them throughout the month of October to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the legendary Tomb Raider franchise.
The pieces showcase the new vision for Lara Croft in the eagerly anticipated Tomb Raider, while embracing the individual style of each handpicked artist. The exhibit includes contributions from three legacy Tomb Raider artists, most notably franchise creator Toby Gard.
Two Crystal Dynamics artists also lent their skills, in addition to a third artist from sister-studio Eidos Montreal. A pair of fresh faces chosen for their unique styling round out the list of contributors:
Work #1: “Rebirth” by Andy Park
“It was such a treat to revisit Tomb Raider since I illustrated her adventures in the Top Cow comic book series over a decade ago. Typically, Lara is always shown as being supremely confident despite the odds she faces.
Here I wanted to show trepidation and yet a confidence that is deep within but not fully realized. It was fun to be able to tackle the challenge of illustrating Lara in a similar way that I do in my day-to-day job as a concept artist for the film industry. I had nothing but fun.”– Andy Park
Work #2: “The Depths” by Camilla d’Errico
“When I watched the new trailer, I thought of the moment when Lara drops from the ship into the water and what that would have been like for her.
What would she have done? Simply let the crushing debris and water overwhelm her, or would she fight?
Seems to me that a heroine needs to struggle to define her strength and this piece to me shows Lara’s strength. I hope that I have that kind of strength in me too.” – Camilla d’Errico
Work #3: “Wolf Den” by Long Vo
“When I saw the demo for the new vision of Tomb Raider, I was instantly struck by how desperate and gritty the scenarios were. The original games always evoked a sense of awe, but none of those environments ever felt as threatening or ominous as the new game.
My piece is a scene from one of the early demos where Lara is attacked by a grizzled wolf in its den. I tried to go for a claustrophobic scene with the only space being the light from Lara’s torch — Lara being pulled into the dark by the wolf. I hope you enjoy it!” – Long Vo
Work #4: “Shipwreck Beach” by Brenoch Adams
“I’ve been locked up in Tomb Raider land for almost four years, and it was nice to step back and take a different approach to a subject that I have become very close to.
The focus of this new Tomb Raider is about Lara’s mental and physical growth as a woman, but it is the island that ultimately changes her forever.” – Brenoch Adams
Work #5: “Into the Darkness” by Brian Horton
“Survival has been a rich theme for the dev team, providing opportunities to add emotional depth and a new range of scale for a Tomb Raider game. For this painting I wanted to explore an intimate moment of Lara overcoming fear, pushing forward through a dark and claustrophobic space.
In my fine art I collaborate with models so I was fortunate to work with Meagan Marie on a photo shoot for the painting. She captured the emotion I was looking for perfectly, pushing through the pain of that pose I asked her to hold. Thanks again Meagan, you rocked it!” – Brian Horton
Work #6: “The Crucible” by Randy Green
“Lara Croft has always come across as a strong-willed, self-confident character. Here however, I imagined her at a point where that inner confidence must be forged into action and put to the test.
She is shaken and unsettled by her current situation, but ready to face head-on whatever challenges lie ahead!” – Randy Green
Work #7: “Profile Pic” by Jonathan Jacques-Belletete
“The idea behind the illustration was to give the viewer (and the players) something a bit different; a bit unexpected. People are now well aware of the events portrayed in the trailer, as well as the plausible impact they will have on the actual game.
So I didn’t want to show these same events again. I wanted to illustrate something new, something that happened before the trailer. The new Lara is all about her genesis, the beginning, and the unknown. Hence, I thought it was suiting to show her right before she gets on the Endurance.
Ultimately, I wanted to put some meaning inside the image. The piece is basically a premonition: she’s taking a picture of herself before getting onboard, but the resulting photo is her future self. It’s her on the island, discovering who she really is and what her destiny will be.
And if you squint your eyes while looking at the image, you will notice that the strap from her bag looks like the braid she had in the older Lara models. Which for me, also represents an omen of the women she will become.” – Jonathan Jacques-Belletête
Work #8: “Kyudo” by Toby Gard
“I think the key thing about the new Lara that Crystal is creating is how much more human she is.
I wanted to capture fear and vulnerability but in a way that expresses her ability to overcome both her internal and external difficulties.
I’m a sucker for bows, and I wanted to represent her as an almost mythical figure, like some injured Ronin against a harsh but beautiful world.
I’m a game designer and animator by trade, who just does a bit of art on the side, so knew I couldn’t possibly stack up with the accomplished artists who have gone before me by trying to render the image realistically.
I chose to go the natural media route and used Painter 12 to imitate an ink wash/watercolor look getting a lot of texture but with little detail.” – Toby Gard
The art exhibition’s close marks the start of Crystal Dynamic’s partnership with The Nerd Machine. A limited run of t-shirts and prints featuring work from the exhibit are now available for purchase online, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Child’s Play Charity.
For a full wallpaper archive of Tomb Raider’s 15-year celebration Exhibition can be found on the game’s official website.