Maria Ku: Re-imagining The Quarry

Maria Ku is an illustrator based in Moscow, Russia and has a style that we can only describe as delicious, is it weird to say a poster is delicious… maybe. But the art is satisfying on so many levels, the colour, the texture, the attention to detail. Art that keeps fans salivating for more.

Here at PosterSpy, we love Maria’s work so much that we commissioned her for the cover of our art book The Art of Movie Posters so it’s no surprise to us that she was chosen by 2K for this commission.

Below is her poster for The Quarry, we love how dynamic this piece is, and what is that lurking in the trees? 😭😭

What made you want to apply for this opportunity?

2K and Supermassive Games are very big in the industry, so I knew it would be a real honour to work with them. Also, because I do a lot of horror art and posters, it seemed like I would have a shot if I applied.

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

My art is playful and cartoony, or at least more playful and cartoony than what people in the horror community typically make. So I figured this approach would at least be original if nothing else.

Maria’s other work

What’s your experience with horror in general?

Horror is a very fun genre, and I think it’s deeper and more subversive than people normally give it credit for. I’m, unfortunately, very squeamish, so I have to really monitor what I watch. I love horror punk, I love gothic literature and podcasts like Dead Meat and The Magnus Archives. But with movies, I tend to be a little cautious. I’m very bad with gore and torture porn, so I tend to stick to older films where I know the effects are not particularly realistic — something like Evil Dead 2, Videodrome, The Thing, Re-Animator. But yes, horror is great and I’m happy to consider myself a part of this community.

Are you into gaming at all?

I am now. I picked it up during the pandemic, because I had more downtime in the lockdown, and then I just never stopped. I think that video games allow for a different approach to storytelling and worldbuilding — something like Disco Elysium or Papers, Please wouldn’t work as well in book or TV form. But gaming is a big-time commitment, so I try to stick to shorter games.

Do you play a lot of horror games?

I’m a big fan of Dead by Daylight and Sunless Sea, and they’re both technically survival horror. Neither is very scary, I would say, but they do have all the attributes of the genre.

Any experience with Until Dawn?

I watched some gameplay of it when it came out because I really like Rami Malek. Before Mr. Robot made him big, there was barely any content with him, let alone good content. So I went and watched some Until Dawn, but I have never played it.

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

No, but what got picked was the first concept that I came up with, so it was the one that came to me most organically. I also know how these things work, which is that your least favourite concept is always the one to be chosen, so I didn’t submit the one sketch that I liked the least.

Early concepts submitted to 2K

What are some of the inspirations behind your art piece?

We were given a list of movies that The Quarry homages, and my poster is a cross between two reference points. The slant is from the original The Evil Dead, and then the focus on the moon and the two characters is from An American Werewolf in London. Additionally, I was inspired by the horror comics of Tess Stone and the illustrations of Daria Romanova, aka daryshkart.

What was the biggest challenge regarding your piece?

The biggest challenge was for sure Siobhan Williams’s likeness. I think I’m pretty good with cartoonifying people, but her face was very hard to draw for some reason. Also, my laptop would sometimes start lagging in the middle of work, and that was a big annoyance.

Maria’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?

It’s really not, especially because this game is very cinematic. The process behind the piece, at least, is the same. You watch all the materials available, in this case, the trailer and the gameplay of the prologue, and then you look for some cool visuals, some themes and key moments. And you start working off of that.

More information on the game can be found here:

Pre-order The Quarry

© Supermassive Games 2022. Published and distributed by 2K. Supermassive Games, The Quarry and Quarry names and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Supermassive Games Limited. All rights reserved. 2K and the 2K logo are trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

Jack Woodhams

Founder of PosterSpy.