Nicolas Bouvier, known as Sparth, is a concept designer for high-end games, and also illustrates book covers. Born in France and now residing in Texas, Sparth has done concept art for games like Cold Fear and Prince of Persia – Warrior Within and illustrated book covers for authors like Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert and Neil Gaiman. His concept art has been featured in collections like Concept Design 2 and Exposé 3.
His site’s Gallery pages include extensive sections of Illustration and Concept Art. There is also a large section of “Archived Materials” which actually contains more images than the other galleries. The images are reproduced nice and large so you can really get a good look at them.
His concept art style is loose and painterly, with a great economy of strokes, suggesting rather than trying to capture every detail. His use of color and atmosphere is also very effective.
The “Artistic Process” section contains several extended tutorials, including a 19 page tutorial for the image shown above. The “Press” section contains links to illustrated interviews on Making of, CG Talk and CG Channel that discuss his work and techniques in some depth.
Although he works primarily digitally, the “Traditional” gallery contains sketches in pencil, watercolor and gouache.
If you guessed that the image at left is from the “Traditional” gallery, you guessed wrong. It’s actually from a fascinating section called “live digital pictures“, meaning digital sketches done from life with a laptop and Wacom tablet. (This is something I enjoy doing myself. It’s like having a huge paintbox with no mess. It lets you paint in places where you ordinarily couldn’t bring paints and allows you to paint at night.)