A watcher is shining its light into the long grass searching for something that made a noise. Aloy look up directly into the light, unafraid. The image is set at night and is painted in a limited colour palette consisting of purples, blue, pinks, and yellows.
Media: Digital.

For those who have played Horizon Zero Dawn, you might recognise this scenario, the machines have heard a sound, and trying to figure out where it came from. The best place for Aloy to hide during the machines’ search is in the long grass, the one with the red flowers/leaves. Because she’s usually not discovered there, despite the machine looking straight at her. Of course, depending on where you are in the game, Aloy may be able to override the machine in question, so being face to face with them in this way doesn’t faze her.

This image is actually based on a few ink paintings I did back in 2018, which were also painted in vibrant pinks and purples. I found it quite apt to use this image to play around more with a digital watercolour style. And of course my colour palette is almost identical to the two digital watercolour portraits of Aloy painted a month earlier. Sometimes a colour palette tends to stay with me for a few images, and this one definitively has done that.

This image was painted for Project Gaia, a fan book for Guerrilla Games, the company behind the Horizon games. At the time of writing Project Gaia is up on Kickstarter with a few days left for people to pledge. I’m really excited to be part of the project, which will produce the book, not for profit, but in order to give something back to the team at Guerrilla who made such an amazing game.

A crop of the previous image focussing on Aloy and the watcher. The watcher is shining its light into the long grass searching for something that made a noise. Aloy look up directly into the light, unafraid.
Media: Digital.

A closer look at Aloy and the watcher. A lot of time went into this image, close to 20 hours actually. There was a lot of experimenting with brushes and getting the right composition and colour balance. A lot of time went into the details of the watcher, as I don’t really paint many machines. I also ended up repainting Aloy’s face a few times, adding more details, fixing the highlights and the light coming from the Focus over her ear.

Believe me when I say I used plenty of references for this image, which is a must for these things. The most used ones must have been for the Watcher, as I wanted to get as many details in as possible.