Conor Fenner-Toora Re-imagining The Quarry

Conor Fenner-Toora is an illustrator based in London, UK. His work mixes bright vivid colours with splashes of texture giving his art a rough but refined look. Recently, his work has become quite popular online, particularly his poster for Midnight Mass.

Given his work is both simple yet eye catching there was no doubt that his work for The Quarry would impress. Conor chose to draw inspiration from the tense and harrowing scene from the trailer where one of our fellow campers suffers a painful demise… or did he?

Below is Conor’s work and we also got to chat about his process to!

What made you want to apply for this opportunity?

I’ve been looking forward to the release of The Quarry since its initial announcement, being a fan of the developers’ previous work. When I saw that PosterSpy were doing a collaboration with 2K and were looking for a poster artist, to apply was a no-brainer! The idea of doing some art for the game was irresistible to pass up and being a fan of horror, it seemed like a good opportunity to go for.

What are some of the strengths you believe you brought to this job?

I’ve always had a pretty striking colour palette in my work, with the colour red being a standout in a lot of poster work and illustration pieces, so this being for a bloody horror game definitely helped! And, I suppose my love for the genre, too.

Conor’s other work

Could you elaborate on your love for horror a little?

It’s probably my favourite genre in any form of media. I think horror can be great at dealing with some pretty hefty themes such as life, death, and the afterlife, as well as tapping into some universal fears and anxieties, while simultaneously creeping the hell out of people with striking ideas and eerie imagery and really getting under your skin. There’s also the other end of the spectrum where horror can shock and test your resolve for some blood and gore and all that nasty stuff, which when well-handled can be pretty fun and intense, not to sound like a psychopath. Horror movies in general will always have a place in my heart and are always a good time with friends or with the lights off by myself. I think the possibilities for storytelling in the genre are endless. 

You mentioned being excited for The Quarry’s release. I take it you’re into gaming? 

I am, for sure. My first console was the PS2, and from there I never really stopped keeping up with it through the generations, though it’s tough to find the time and patience for it these days sometimes! But yeah, gaming is great fun for me whether it be with friends, or alone digging into a single-player story game, or exploring some of the crazy worlds that are available to us now. It’s a great platform for storytelling, though my favourite type of games has to be the ones that offer a steep learning curve in their difficulty, they’re always very rewarding.

Do you play a lot of horror video games?

Love them. I’ll always have an interest in any horror game that gets announced as there is really no other medium that puts you that close to the fear and intensity of the genre, being placed into the protagonists’ shoes trying to navigate some nightmare. Some of my favourite gaming moments come from horror games, and just like the movies they can range from violent and gory fun to eerie and intense scenarios that can really get the heart going, or a mixture of both! 

Any experience with Until Dawn or The Dark Pictures Anthology?

Until Dawn was probably one of my favourite games of the last generation. It’s a great game that me and my friends still talk about to this day. Sharing and comparing our different experiences and choices was always a highlight, and it’s only then you realise just how varied that game is with its scenarios and consequences. It was a lot of fun, and the characters and cast were great and memorable. It offered more than enough spooks and surprises to please this horror fan and definitely asked for a few replays.

Early in the project, you submitted several concepts. Did your favourite concept end up getting picked?

Actually, my least favourite concept was chosen! As is always the way with these things! But in the end, I’m pretty grateful it got picked. I was quite fond of the other two, they were a lot more detailed. My first concept was the broken-down car from the prologue in the woods with its eerie atmosphere, though it did look a bit like a car commercial (albeit a spooky one). Drawing cars does suck though. The second concept I thought was quite cool design-wise, with faces rising from the smoke of the campfire. Admittedly it was a design choice that I had used in previous works. In the end the staircase concept got picked, which at first I had concerns with, it being so abstract and quite simple. It was almost a throw-away rough during the concept phase! Though I came to love the concept in the end. Offered a chance to illustrate plenty of blood too, so there’s that.

Early concepts submitted to 2K

What are some of the inspirations behind your art piece?

Watching the opening 30 minutes of The Quarry online and seeing that basement and its steps was my main inspiration. That location offered some pretty intense scenes, and of course the moon is featured quite often in the game’s promotional work, so I had to feature it somewhere. Apart from that, I looked at loads of horror movie posters, as well as some of my classic favourites. The Evil Dead poster was a big inspiration, with its slanted imagery that offered an otherworldly and disorienting effect which I tried to incorporate into my own piece. A few of my previous illustrations lent their DNA to this piece, with my strong use of the red glow and bloody steps, so I have to give some credit to my past self here too!

What was the biggest challenge regarding your piece?

Definitely the simplicity of it, with my piece being quite abstract. My main concern was how to make it visually interesting and powerful, as well as not too flat and boring. I worked with texturing a lot to achieve this and just built up the piece as I went along with a lot of trial and error. It’s probably one of my most improvised pieces! It strayed away from the initial concept rough and became quite sinister and otherworldly as I went on. It was messy and at times a little unfocused but I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I think as soon as I started adding the strange bloody glow on the steps and along the wall, it started coming together for me and I was a bit more confident with it.

Conor’s poster from early sketch to colour work.

Finally, would you say that working on an alternative game poster is different from working on an alternative movie poster?

Not too different in my opinion. The two mediums of game and film often lend themselves well to one another. I think the main difference is the material you must work with, in this case with an unreleased game, understandably there’s only so much to reference from. With films, especially older ones, I find I draw a lot of inspiration from certain shots or scenes that are easy to grab either from online or repeat viewings. It helped that The Quarry was heavily inspired by horror films, and there was a considerable amount of promotional work at our disposal. 

More information on the game can be found here: https://quarrygame.2k.com/

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Jack Woodhams

Founder of PosterSpy.