Any words we could offer pale before the awe and humbleness that we’ve felt in the last couple of weeks. In that time, fans of Stoic and the Banner Saga series have worked diligently to prove that they are some of the most talented and skilled folks to ever grace the internet. So before we announce the winners, we just wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed. You’re all Viking legends in your own right! To see the runners up, you can go to part 1 or part 2.
Picking the top five winners was no easy task. There were many ties through the first few rounds, which prompted expanded voting. After much deliberation, we eventually came to a consensus on the top five (and even then there was still a tie). So without further ado, here are the top five submissions of the fan art contest.
(By the way, clicking on the images will bring you to a larger sample of the image.)
by Alex Holt
Myths, and the oral histories that often accompany them, are double-edge swords. On one hand they are fragmented, passed from parents and teachers to students and thus changing over time. This has given us great variations of the stories we know. Likewise, there could very well be hundreds of stories that have been lost, all because they were never preserved with written words. Even real Norse mythology has a number of unknowns, such as details regarding the Vanir half of their pantheon.
That’s why Alex Holt’s Godstone, a depiction of Ingrid, is a strong reminder of everything we do not yet know of Banner Saga’s mythos. Even while the godstone description suggests she maybe a goddess of writing and poetry, we actually can’t be certain. Especially given the raw power the menders have tapped by translating her stone.
One could even read some psychological notes in Holt’s additions to the original piece, such as the faint mist that suggests being forgotten or fading away. And the migrating birds as if to say a season and time is ending… hints of what is to come.
by Daniel Sachs
The moment it arrived, Daniel Sachs’ Griss checked a lot of boxes. The easy looking yet deceptively challenging art style of Eyvind Earle? Check. The splendor of Banner Saga‘s gorgeous backgrounds and hints of its vast, barely scratched mythology? Got it. A secondary character begging to have his story expanded upon? Oh yeah.
And there are subtle details that many people would miss about Sachs’ work. The proportions to varl are about right, the care given to Griss’ hands (a bane of many artists that Sachs handles with skill), and the facial wrinkles of everyone’s favorite cantankerous tank.
But perhaps the secret that won us over lies in how Griss’ pose suggests more. Is he just resting, or is there something of importance to that stone? Is there a tale to tell behind those worn eyes? We may very well find out…
A big congratulations to Daniel Sachs for his terrific work!
by Brett Bullion
In the digital age, skilled environmental artists aren’t exactly something you run into everyday. Fortunately, Brett Bullion was around to remind us all how essential they are. Little else can hit that wow you’ve been craving like sunlight striking the mountain. Or rather, the godstone of Hadrborg, the resident Allfather of the Banner Saga universe.
Bullion knew exactly how to elicit that awe that we were looking for, that all encapsulating sense of what makes Banner Saga so captivating. One glance at his art page and Instagram account prove he is no stranger to evocative art, the kind that draws strangers in and transforms them into fans. In the artist’s own words:
“This piece is meant to be a lone varl, perhaps the last varl, standing before Hadrborg’s godstone. I’ve been fascinated with the idea of varl extinction and what they must think of the one that created them. Do they hold regret, sorrow, anger?”
Good questions, Brett. And perhaps we’ll find out come Banner Saga 3.
by Alexander Charleux
Where do you even begin to talk about a piece like this? The colors, the lighting, the way each brush stroke crafts life from nothing. I highly recommend opening this image up to feast your eyes on the hundreds of details you risk missing otherwise. There are subtleties and nuances that cannot be expressed in a mere 300 by 450 pixel snapshot.
Charleux’s piece doesn’t just pop. It singes the eyes with the raw emotions of the horseborn, threatening to pull the myth out of our minds and into reality. Derdriu is something special, and something this writer will pull out to admire whenever he needs to be reminded of the definition of art. I honestly can’t think of anything else to say… the work simply speaks for itself.
Amazing work, Alexander Charleux!
by Nuo Xu
Nid and especially Oddleif hold special places in our hearts. They were there from the beginning, and while one was an old hand at the bow, the other could prove to be a capable protege. They also come from shockingly different walks of life; one the housewife and mother of three kids, the other an adviser and chief archer who helped keep Skogr alive against the tidal wave of dredge.
While we never imagined the women portrayed with manga influences, Nuo Xu came out of nowhere to flabbergast us with a vivid and jaw-dropping image of the two. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend clicking on the image on the left to take in the full majesty of their work. No one should miss out on the careful line work beautiful trimmings that went into this masterpiece.
As a matter of fact, Xu’s work has charged this writer with a few fresh ideas… but let’s not give away too much just yet. Fantastic work, Nuo Xu! And check out their portfolio here!
Another huge thanks to everyone else who produced works and pieces for the fan art contest. We’ll be posting the runners-up on social media so everyone can see how incredible talented our fans really are. And keep your eyes peeled for more Banner Saga news as we get closer to the release of Banner Saga 3!