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Space Park: Cosmic Canyon

Our journey through Space Park continues with one of the rockiest locations yet: The Cosmic Canyon! Rocky spires reach through the heavens as explorers brave enough to scale the cliffs are rewarded with breathtaking setting suns. 

Space Park  · Cosmic Canyon · Type Design by Mattox Shuler

Space Park · Cosmic Canyon · Type Design by Mattox Shuler

For those who may not know, Space Park is a board game designed by Henry Audubon and the fine folks at Keymaster Games which will be launching through kickstarter soon. Players ride rockets to extraordinary realms throughout the galaxy collecting exotic crystals and badges as they set out to become the next great space explorer!

This was one of the first pieces I sketched for the project and it was a location I was very excited to tackle. I've drawn canyon scenes before but I knew this was a chance to really amp up the depth and atmosphere of the setting to bring life to this spectacular location. These kinds of settings really set the stage for adventure, a theme which is the driving force behind the game itself as well as most of my illustration work.

Now let's explore the creation process!

Thumbnail Sketches

The longer I've worked as an illustrator, the more I've come to value thumbnail sketches. Here's why:  Artist's block can often come in two forms:

  1. Not having enough ideas or
  2. Having too many ideas and not being sure of which one to pursue.  

Thumbnail sketches helps overcome both of these challenges by allowing the free exploration of ideas quickly without over investing in any one direction.

With Cosmic Canyon, I knew what I wanted the location to feel like, the kinds of rock formations I wanted to see, and the atmosphere I wanted to capture, but I didn't know what composition to best showcase the setting simply because there were so many fun angles to choose from. Ultimately, I opted for this composition:

Space Park  ·  Cosmic Canyon  · Thumbnail Sketches

Space Park · Cosmic Canyon · Thumbnail Sketches


Once the sketch for this location was set, it was time to paint. As with the other pieces in this project, I purposefully left much of the sketch unfinished so I could explore during the painting process. This method kept the painting process interesting from start to finish as I knew the biggest decisions had already been made but there were still lots of little decisions which needed to be resolved. I started with the background and as I landed at this point, I knew things were headed in a fun direction...

Space Park  ·  Cosmic Canyon  · Background

Space Park · Cosmic Canyon · Background

This piece was a lot of fun to work on and I think it adds a lot of tonal variety to the overall family of illustrations for Space Park. So often when I'm asked to do a series of illustrations, there isn't a lot of variation requested in each piece. With each one of these locations having such a strong color profile for gaming purposes, it really gave me an opportunity to explore and push myself as an illustrator - and projects like that are always ones I relish.

Space Park  ·  Cosmic Canyon  · Final Illustration

Space Park · Cosmic Canyon · Final Illustration

Big thanks to the folks at Keymaster Games for such a great opportunity. It's been a joy seeing this project come to life and I can't wait until it launches through Kickstarter on February 6th! I'd also like to thank my agent, Deborah Wolfe and her talented staff for taking care of everything behind the scenes. It's an honor and a privilege to work with such fine individuals and I count myself blessed because of it!