Community Spotlight – Shabby

An illustrious illustrator with a passion for monster-making takes the latest Spotlight!

Another Community Spotlight means another chance to highlight one of our endlessly imaginative players! This time it’s one of the most widely shared artists in the Sea of Thieves community, who’s done everything from reimagining classic characters to dreaming up fish-based creatures that could easily be found on some of our less friendly shores. We took some time to talk to Shabby about what inspires his creative and colourful pieces!

[Q]: Can you tell us a little about what got you into gaming?

[A]: Originally my parents were the ones who got my brothers and I into gaming. So from an early age I was playing, well, trying to play video games while my parents helped with the harder levels, and now it’s quite the opposite.

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

[A]: In my earlier years on this earth I had tried playing a few Rare games, but if we’re being completely honest I was more than likely watching my parents or brothers playing them and just letting the stories run wild in my little mind.

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

[A]: I’m currently playing the new God of War game which is absolutely fantastic, the world and character building makes me care for every location and person introduced and it’s quickly growing to be one of my favourite games. Some other favourites include Red Dead Redemption 2, the Batman: Arkham series, and the Fallout series… so a lot of story-driven games!

Shabby came to the seas craving pirate adventure and found a home in the art community.

[Q]: What brought you over to Sea of Thieves and its community?

[A]: Seeing the original E3 trailer instantly stoked that craving for a pirate adventure I think all of us have, as a child I had a lot of pirate media surrounding me – my toys, the movies I watched (and still do). So when I saw Sea of Thieves it was an answer to all my hopes for a pirate game, the chance to make my own stories and experience the thrill of battle between pirates and their ships! Seeing Galleons emerging from storms atop behemoth waves, silhouetted by lightning… skeletons scraping their way out of the sand to serve their skeletal Captains and Lords… it was perfect.

Later on, when I got the chance to play the Beta with my brother, it was wish-fulfilling and imagination-kindling and allowed a fire of fan ideas and concepts to be birthed from my mind! As for an introduction to the community, that didn’t happen till years later in roughly 2019, when I posted a Sea of Thieves fan character called ‘the Admiral’ and began to meet many of the community members on Twitter.

[Q]: Can you remember the first Sea of Thieves art you created and what inspired it?

[A]: ‘The Admiral’ was inspired by me wanting a more supernatural enemy in the game, along with an enemy more aligned with the East India Trading Company or the Grand Maritime Union. Possibly an enemy the fanbase could form grudges against and actually fear when they see his phantom vessel charging from the distance. But now we have quite a few supernatural enemies which I am thankful for!

[Q]: What’s your favourite Sea of Thieves art piece that you’ve created and why?

[A]: I’m pretty critical of all of my pieces, bit if I had to choose it’d probably be a cursed Ancient, who has the unfortunate fate of turning into a rather nasty lizard-man. Most people who follow me would probably have assumed I was going to say my Captain Hook piece, but I am pretty proud of this Lizard-Ancient’s scales and lighting in particular. It also took me quite a while, for I am the self-proclaimed King of Procrastination.

Much of Shabby’s artistic inspiration comes from his love of fantastical films and games.

[Q]: Where do you get your inspiration for creating new creatures in a Sea of Thieves style?

[A]: Honestly, my childhood and the films, games and toys I was brought up playing with (Pirates of the Caribbean, Pyrates Mega Bloks and an assortment of fantasy themes sprinkled throughout). I often incorporate colours and vibes from them to hopefully spark that nostalgic note in others who had similar childhoods to mine.

I create enemies or characters I would personally love to see in the Sea of Thieves mythos, from maniacal chemists making Flameheart’s monstrous armies to Vikings bearing a frost curse, or even new swamplands hiding ancient threats and secrets. Ever since Rare added Ocean Crawlers to the game, it has sparked so much creativity around the kinds of cursed individuals we could find ourselves face-to-face with!

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

[A]: One great standout moment for me was when the Beta was ending. I was watching my brother play (as we only had one Xbox we had to take it in turns to play, so we played on the same account). We had met another crew, and after selling what we thought was a lot of loot back then, we all sailed out to a rock in the middle of the open water and stood atop the rock playing shanties until the Beta countdown ended.

Playing the Tall Tales (by myself when they first released) gave me some of my favourite moments in gaming along with one of the biggest payoffs: seeing the Gold Hoarder in the metaphorical flesh was pure euphoria, as ever since I’d seen his skull in the trailer and the concept art I was enamoured with his design!

Another cool payoff was when Old Horatio and the Ashen Lords were added. I saw Old Horatio on Google years beforehand and he was simply called ‘the Commander’, and when he was added to the game with three other Ashen Lords my excitement skyrocketed!

Shabby’s solo Tall Tale outings have been some of his most rewarding in-game experiences.

[Q]: What are your favourite additions to Sea of Thieves over the past year?

[A]: In the past year? Oof, there are so many to choose from! Personally I think it’s all the additions to Flameheart and Flameheart Jr.’s stories. Seeing them develop before our eyes as players fight tooth and nail for their desired outcomes is something I’ve never witnessed in any other video game; the way Rare can engage audiences with these choices which actually change their environments is something to behold. The storytelling added through the evolution of the environment is something I am very envious of, and I am always excited to see every small detail.

Seeing new adversaries added to the game also sparks my imagination. Before the Ocean Crawlers I thought Rare, by stylistic choice, were going to keep all the enemy designs fairly tame. Then Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life dropped, adding many new enemies which, in the Ocean Crawlers’ case, were a lot more chaotic (in an amazing way) in terms of overall colour, size and unique abilities! These sorts of additions to Sea of Thieves really release all kinds of chains when it comes to designing fan creatures, knowing Rare isn’t afraid of going into those fantasy realms. (Can’t wait for more!)

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

[A]: For Sea of Thieves itself, my greatest achievement would probably be obtaining the Hat of Unfeasibly Glorious Fame, a item I never thought myself capable of receiving. One day when friends in the Twitter community told me some artwork of mine was up on the Community Hub, I laughed pretty hard because it was Flameheart Jr. as a Power Ranger saying “It’s Reapin’ Time” which was my interpretation of a meme going around on Twitter.

Another great achievement is being able to interact with and even draw some pieces for my favourite streamers, along with making many friends in the community. I’ve recently been taking part in community roleplaying stories which has really gotten the creative juices flowing. I would also count doing a Community Spotlight as a rather large achievement in my book (another opportunity I never thought I’d have bestowed upon me)!

Shabby’s art ranges from monsters to ship sets to new spins on well-known characters.

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

[A]: My ship is called Shabby’s Sorrow as I was quite sorrowful when I couldn’t name it what I originally wanted. As for my pirate’s name, his real one has been lost to time and madness on the seas so his friends and enemies all know him as ‘the Chemist’, a maniacal cultist hellbent on chemistry, alchemy and making all sorts of Frankenstein-esque creatures for Flameheart’s army!

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

[A]: I really, REALLY love drawing and painting, whether that’s digital or traditional, I love it all! I also love worldbuilding and story writing, just making characters to inhabit all these little worlds I create or enjoy being in lets me relax and do what feels comfortable.

I play the occasional game of golf, which may seem really random but it’s an amazing sport which is quite calming and allows you to take your anger from the last shot out on your current one… which is always good fun.

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

[A]: Hmmm, a fun fact. I am a 20-year-old South Australian service person working in Western Australia in a completely non-art-related industry… that’s more of a sad fact… um, how about I can’t grow a moustache! MUHAHAHAHA!

And on that bombshell, another Community Spotlight comes to an end. A huge thank you to Shabby for taking the time to talk with us! No doubt many pirates will be keeping a keen eye on Twitter for his next creative endeavour. In the meantime, if you’d like to see and hear more from Sea of Thieves players, you can check out all our previous Community, Creator and Legend Spotlights and the regularly updated Community Hub to get a fantastic cross-section of our community. Until next time!