Another year of Spotlights has almost come to an end and we’ve had a whole host of pirates making their mark and featuring within these hallowed webpages. From zookeepers to father-daughter Arena duos, cosplayers to comic artists and more – the Sea of Thieves community has shown that no matter your walk of life, a love for virtual plundering and piracy can, funnily enough, bring people together.

For today’s Community Spotlight, a fan artist many may know as Libby Sharp takes the stage to talk to us about her work, as well as what it felt like to have one of her pieces selected to feature on a T-shirt in the Design by Humans Sea of Thieves Shop. Over to you, Libby!

Libby has done a great job of bringing her own style to Sea of Thieves' world!

[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves? Do you have any favourite Rare games?

[A]: The only Rare game I had played before was Viva Piñata which I really adore, so I was a Rare fan purely from that! Sea of Thieves very quickly became my favourite, but Viva Piñata will always a special place in my heart.

[Q]: What other games are you currently playing? Any favourites?

[A]: Right now, I’m pretty addicted to Planet Zoo, but I'm also enjoying Anno 1800, and occasionally Fallout 76.

[Q]: What was it that first drew you towards Sea of Thieves and its community?

[A]: I have a bit of a thing for pirates, so when I heard Rare was making a pirate game I just thought “Yes. This is absolutely a thing I need”. I ended up playing so many hours in the Technical Alpha and fell in love with it.

I don’t remember when exactly I shared my first piece of Sea of Thieves fan art, but the community has always been really positive about my work. It’s full of so many nice and supportive people who are super passionate about the game… it’s a lovely thing to be a part of.

[Q]: Judging by your ArtStation, you’re a pretty prolific artist! What set you on this course of creativity?

[A]: I always loved drawing when I was younger and we were encouraged to be creative and make things at home, so I just kept doing it! I used to mainly just draw in pencil but discovered digital art shortly after high school and my parents ended up buying me a Wacom tablet, which has been my main tool for probably about five years now. 

[Q]: When it comes to your Sea of Thieves artwork, how do you decide which part of the game you want to bring to life as an illustration?

[A]: The game is stunning, so when I’m out on the seas I take a LOT of screenshots. I’ll use those as inspiration, combined with any adventures I’ve had recently, or even lore and stories from the world that grab my interest.

I like to try to capture the sense of adventure you get when playing, from Skeleton Ships on the horizon to digging up treasure at sunset, or desperately fleeing an erupting volcano, or even just relaxing at the tavern. There really is so much going on in the game, it’s sometimes hard to decide what to draw next!

Working on illustrations whilst running a Trade Goods Commission - we respect the hustle.

[Q]: We sometimes get a glimpse of how you go about creating your artwork. Could you elaborate more on this?

[A]: My workflow is pretty haphazard... I’m still learning, so I’ll often go about things in a few different ways.

I work in Affinity Photo either on my PC with my Wacom tablet, or on my Surface Pro, and start by sketching out my image, usually with multiple reference images open. These tend to be screenshots of landscapes, props, outfits, characters or anything else I’ll need for a particular composition.

I usually end up with a few sketch layers, refining the sketch each time once I’m happy with the layout. From there, I’ll either work on line art, or start painting colours depending on how I want the final image to look.

If I’m using line art, once I’m happy with it, I’ll paint the colours underneath. I don’t really have a specific technique for painting, and mostly just go with the flow from that point!

[Q]: Your ‘Too Many Megs’ T-shirt made the cut for inclusion on the Sea of Thieves Design By Humans store. Congrats! How does it feel to have something you’ve created be recognised and appreciated like this?

[A]: Having my own ‘official’ SeaofThieves design available for sale is pretty darn incredible! Even just having my art noticed by the Sea of Thieves Twitter account was cool, but this is on another level. I really appreciate the way Rare is giving the community so many opportunities to get involved and be a part of the Sea of Thieves story.

[Q]: Do you have any advice for other fan artists out there looking to get more exposure?

[A]: I am so bad at promoting myself, so all I can really say is just keep sharing what you do, be proud of what you do, and get involved in the community!

Don’t be afraid to show off your art. It can be disheartening if something doesn’t get the attention or exposure that you wanted, but it’s important to keep doing it, especially if it’s something you love.

It can also help to look out for hashtags and things that other fans may use to find content and interact with them!

How's this for atmosphere?

[Q]: Thinking back, are there any standout moments for you in Sea of Thieves since you started playing?

[A]: I think one of my favourite moments is still the first time I fought the Meg in The Hungering Deep update. We’d just loaded into the game, and another ship showed up and asked if we’d like to join them. We went along with it, all the while having no idea what was happening or where we were going, and suddenly we were fighting and killing this massive shark! 

It was an amazing battle, and the first time we were encouraged to work with other crews which was really special. There have been so many great moments though, like the first Skeleton Ship battle, adventures in The Devil’s Roar, PVP fights and silly encounters with other crews.

[Q]: What are your favourite new additions to the game since the Anniversary Update launched?

[A]: That probably has to be Tall Tales! They’re such a cool way to experience stories in the world, and I love all the unique puzzles and characters throughout.

Although there is now a drum that looks like a pie, so that’s pretty high on the list too…

We were always told not to play with our food...

[Q]: What is your greatest achievement in a game, Sea of Thieves or otherwise?

[A]: Honestly, becoming a Pirate Legend was a pretty magnificent feeling. Opening the Legends’ hideout for the first time, when I’d never even been inside before, is something I won’t forget.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate and ship name, what would they be?

[A]: My sister calls me Captain Krabs when we play, after Mr. Krabs in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, so I’d have to go for that as I’m terrible at picking names! As for my ship… probably something simple like the ‘Sea Dragon’, as I always use the dragon figurehead.

[Q]: What kind of other hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?

[A]: Drawing is obviously the main one, but I enjoy lots of other creative things too. Cosplay is something I’ve gotten into in recent years and hope to do more of (hopefully a Sea of Thieves cosplay will happen soon). 

I have contributed to a few game mods, mostly with texture work which I really enjoy, but also a little writing and voice acting. I also enjoy baking now and then.

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!

[A]: I keep a framed picture of Shrek on my bedside table…

If this cosplay is anything to go by, we look forward to seeing what Libby can create for Sea of Thieves!

There you have it, a peek into the life and adventures of another seasoned Sea of Thieves community corsair. Captain Krabs, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions – we look forward to seeing where the Sea Dragon takes you next, and of course more of your fantastic artwork!

That’s us for the year, but you can be sure that we’ll be back again in 2020 for more Spotlights of the Community variety. In the meantime, you can catch up on our pantheon of previously spotlighted community members.

Until next time!