Making the Strangers Skin Pack

Sarah Kisor, Minecraft skins artist, speaks!

Our parents always told us never to talk to strangers. Ah, but what if we talk to people about strangers? Pretty smart loophole, huh, mum and dad? Oh, that's right. They're still not talking to us.

Anyway, one person who is still speaking to us is Sarah Kisor, a Minecraft artist who worked on the Strangers skin pack!

Living in the far-reaches of the Minecraft universe - from the depths of the ocean, the abyssal End, and all the way from the impossibly broken Farlands - come the Strangers skins! With this pack, we had the opportunity to really push the envelope creatively and do things that wouldn’t really work with other themes we had done in the past. Sarah Kisor

Not familiar with the Strangers Skin pack? Check out Marsh's guide and gallery here.

Now making a skin pack doesn't just involve locking an artist in a room for 24 hours with a crate of energy drinks (that's just how we write the website). Sarah and the other artists sketch designs, then continue to develop and edit the skins throughout development, making sure each individual skin is consistent with the pack.

Some early design sketches for the Strangers. Proof that you can doodle at work and get paid for it.

Some early design sketches for the Strangers. Proof that you can doodle at work and get paid for it.

Some early design sketches for the Strangers. Proof that you can doodle at work and get paid for it.

"The Farlands set of characters was especially fun to make," explains Sarah, of the freaky Farlands settlers. "Because of how broken and glitchy the Farlands are, coming up with characters that lived there and were 'warped' or 'corrupted' by it was a delight. One of my co-workers adored the Farlanders so much he would lovingly refer to them as “Sarah’s Wonks.” They have a special place in my heart - especially the Farlands Zealot. I just want to boop his little teeth and make baby noises at him. Ahem, anyway..."

"The first draft of the Farlands Brewer. The concept was a character transforming into a potion," explains Sarah, of this early concoction "but that idea was hard to read in the initial design."

"So in the end, we went with an obvious potion-head because it was silly and over the top and matched the other Farlanders better in their outlandishness." Wait, an obvious potion-head?

"This guy had a total makeover because the initial design wasn’t quite cutting it." And here's the finished potion brewer, stood proudly amongst his fellow terrifying freaks. Don't try uncorking him.

Things got no less strange or sinister when it came to designing the Ocean Biome Settlers. "With the Ocean dwellers, we have folks who grew fishy qualities to them to help them live underwater," explains Sarah. "You’ll see some familiar faces with some of these guys - many were directly inspired by what already lives in the water."

"The Ocean Zealot, for example, is so far advanced in his tidal transformation that he’s beginning to look like a Guardian himself! The Ocean Tamer is another great character in this set. With his bulge-y, panicked eyes he’s a fella after my own heart."

Concepts/designs for the Ocean Biome Settlers, lined up like the world's creepiest football team.

"The End guys are super, super cool," says Sarah, of the work that went into designing the End settlers. "The End feels so mysterious and dangerous as a location and we really wanted to have that quality come across in the designs of the skins that were meant to live in this realm of permanent darkness. They each have this ageless, mysterious quality to them behind these neat masks and robes that conceal their identity. The End Hunter is my favourite here. This guy totally assassinates in style. I love his mask and stylish purple hood."

An early design for the End Hunter, one that was very different to what the team eventually went with. "[It] was originally more directly inspired by the Ender Dragon look," explains Sarah.

The problem? Inconsistency. "In the end we went a more mysterious route with each character masking their face in some way. The final design also matches the other End folks much more."

The final design, one that's more consistent with the other masked End Settlers. "We definitely have to consider that each of the skins are cohesive and look like they belong together as a set."

"Don't forget," says Sarah. "Some of these charming little guys are free and need homes!"

'Charming?' That's not the word this coward would use to describe such a sinister collection. But if you're made of sterner stuff, then you can find the Strangers Skin pack on Windows 10/Pocket edition now!

Written by
Tom Stone

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