Steve Gabry
Steve Gabry

Being one of the biggest Sally Face fans and having been artistically inspired by Steve Gabry, the game’s creator, I have chosen him for one of my University projects. I have to admit that I had major doubts that he would even bother to read my messages and questions, let alone answer them in such a beautiful and kind manner.

With this in mind and given the release of the newest and last Sally Face episode, I think that some of you may understand his creative process better so I asked for his approval to publish this interview, which he was extraordinarily genuine about. In the following, you can see why and how certain characters and techniques were used to portray certain emotions.

What was your greatest source of inspiration during the development of Sally Face?

The greatest inspiration came from 1990’s cartoons and a love for all things strange and supernatural.

In order to build the in game universe, which character did you actually design first?

Sal was the first character I designed. I actually thought him up around 2007. Then once I started working on the game, he was the first one I redesigned.

When creating the story, what were your main focal points?

As far as the story goes, I primarily wanted to create a thought provoking mystery that centered around a group of friends. I wanted to have this supernatural story that progressively evolved into something more extreme as it went along.

What was the most difficult part in finding your own unique art style for the game?

My goal for the the style was to have something that looked like a 90’s cartoon, without looking too similar to any specific show. This wasn’t too difficult, as my personal style is sort of inline with that already. However, it was a challenge to have hand drawn animations throughout the game. It was tough keeping the workload manageable for only one person.

Which is the most difficult part in designing a character?

Sometimes characters just come to me and the first sketch I draw is the final design. Though other characters, I may not have a clear image of and will go through a bunch of sketches to search for the right look. You want to make sure that the important characters have a memorable look. They also have to be unique from the other characters in the game. Sometimes that’s though too. I find it’s best to trust your gut in those cases.

How much of the story is truly inspired from real life events?

There are a lot of little details that are inspired by real life. Though nothing in the game is fully based on anything real. It just has pieces of reality sprinkled in the mix. 

I also had a lot of intense nightmares as a kid, which was definitely a source I pulled from as well.

Which other artists inspired your drawing style?

Some specific shows that inspired the art style were Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life and Hey Arnold!

Does the choice of colors actually try to incite certain reactions/emotions?

I do use color to provoke certain moods. Could be a heavy fog for uncertainty, the red glow of the sun setting for dread, dead flesh colors for disgust etc.

I want to personally thank Steve Gabry for being so kind so as to help a student and I hope all of you get inspired by his style. Good luck playing the game!

Author: Andreea Câmpean