Much of Sorcery: Contested Realm's design direction is rooted in the principles of alchemy.
Alchemy is the "science of the soul", an ancient discipline which seeks to turn lead into gold. This is further explored in the historical context of "Philosopher's Stone".
According to Alchemy, everything in existence comprises of 4 archetypal elements: Fire, Earth, Water and Air. These four elements combine in a myriad of ways to constitute all things, both physical and non-physical. It was believed by philosophers that understanding these four elements is the key to fathoming our own minds, and knowing how to transmute one element into another is the foundation for personal development. The balance of the four elements in each of us reveals our highest nature.
In Sorcery: Contested Realm, the four elements are integral to the game design. Players use the Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind Avatars as the conduit to summon mythical minions, conjure ancient relics, and cast spells to control, disrupt, and destroy their opponent.
There is no better artist to capture the essence of the four elements than French illustrator and painter, Séverine Pineaux.
Séverine refers to her artistic style as follow:
My painting is based on fusion: a mixture between man and trees, animals and plants. When I was young, I was very impressed by H.R. Giger (Alien) and his images of biomechanical creatures. But my vision is more ecological and this interpenetration with the plant kingdom as well as with technological artifacts sketches a possibility of reconciliation between humanity and nature.
Séverine's "Ysambre" series, composed of two volumes, "Le monde-arbre" and "La femme-graine", and her book "Gothic Faêrie" are two beautiful artwork collections that demonstrate her masterful ability to capture the concept of fusion between humanity and nature. Below are several examples from those books:
With the elemental avatars, Séverine draws inspiration from her prior works and masterfully captures the essence of each element.
Séverine commented that when she was painting these avatars, she imagined that the oldest one was Earth, then Wind, Fire, and Water as the youngest.