Meet the Artist: Nicolas Bouvier (AKA Sparth)


Nicolas Bouvier (AKA Sparth)
Concept Designer and Illustrator

Sparth has been an active artistic director and concept designer in the gaming industry since 1996. Born in France, he now lives in Montreal, Canada, where he has been working for Ubisoft since 2003.

Having had the privilege of travelling extensively at an early age to such places as far afield as the USA, Singapore, China, France and Europe, he was influenced greatly by the various cultures, and he enjoyed observing people and making notes of all these tiny details of life that he was witnessing. The varied influences are largely responsible for his multiple creative passions, which range from space, to buildings, to robotics and beyond. After several years abroad, Sparth returned to France in 1987 to begin his studies.

There are no limits to his creativity when it comes to translating forms and concepts.
One of his greatest passion remains contemporary architecture, of which he applies principles in his own art, with an experimental and original approach. He also harbours a fascination for modern skyscrapers, although he admits that he wouldn’t be able to live too high above the ground himself.

After graduating from the ENSAD (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs),
he began working for Darkworks studio, the French gaming company responsible for such titles as “Alone In The Dark 4” and “Cold Fear”. He was particularly heavily involved in the former title, for which he began creating initial material in 1998. Working as the sole designer initially, he later invited additional illustrators (Bengal and Benjamin Carre) to join the project as the production pace increased.

The game was finally released in 2001. The three years of production paid off as it turned out to be a major success as a pre-rendered game for this period, selling 1.4 million copies. Within Darkworks, Sparth then contributed to the development of several game projects (“Lost Mantis”, “Time crisis”) with large companies like Capcom and Namco, and in the beginning of 2003, started the pre-production of “Cold Fear“, a survival horror genre title later produced by Ubisoft, in March 2005.

In 2003, en route to Canada, Sparth decided to leave Darkworks while working on the production of “Cold Fear“, and joined Ubisoft in Montreal.
He was assigned the task of exploring new directions and atmospheres for the new “Prince of Persia - Warrior Within“ title, working both on the environment and on the Prince’s new look. a very challenging year.

During the last four years, Sparth has also been having a enjoying a career illustrating book covers. His images have been actively chosen by publishers to adorn the covers of authors such as Jack Vance, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, and Robert Silverberg.

When he is not working, he finds time to relax with his wife Lorene and his two sons Arthur and Leopold.

Related links:

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The “Meet the Artists” forum provides a conducive environment where CGTalk members can have the opportunity to speak to some of the finest digital art talents in the world! CGTalk members can post questions and artwork, and have them answered or critiqued by these master artists. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight from seasoned industry veterans!

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  5. Note that the Artist is under no obligation to answer all questions or critique all work posted. It is at his/her sole discretion to answer questions or critique work.
  6. If the Artist does not answer your question or critique your work, do not harass him/her.


I wasn’t familiar with your work but I’m an instant fan :thumbsup:


Wow, I love this new section. I learn about someone new every week. Glad to have you here.

  1. Why did you want to become a Concept Atist?

  2. Do you find yourself doing any work with indie groups nowadays?

  3. Were you ever part of a Indie group?

  4. How is it in the Ubi Soft Studio?

  5. Where do you get your inspiration from?

  6. Is your work completely digital or do you also use pencil and paper?

  7. Would you agree to help out a small indie game group?

Thanks for joining and answering our questions. Much luck in the future.


hi !

I’m Tham Chien Yih, a 20 year old malaysian, just noticed your artwork in cgtalk, have to say that I was immediately captivated by it.

so, you’re from France I hear? awfully rich country.

1.what’s life like working for Ubisoft as a concept artist and illustrator ? how was it like developing prince of persia?

2.from your illustrations, you seem to have this influence with the sci-fi and fantasy realm, correct me If I’m wrong, I often judge artwork to soon.

  1. How long have you been working in the games industry? have you played other roles like 3d artist or 3d character animator?

  2. What sort of art mediums do you work with? do you like working with photoshop and corel painter? I’m kinda into photoshop mroe than illustrator, but I am new to painter.

  3. Heard that you’ve done visual communication before, is graphic designing : book cover illustrations still one of your favourite careers?

  4. This might seem abit ambitious but, do you plan to own your gaming or animation studio someday?

Thank you for your time :slight_smile: !


Hey Sparth

Got to see you at the concept art workshops in Austin last year (what a sweatbox - but boy was it worth it!) and really enjoyed it.

Out of curiosity, when you’re doing concept art on a game, is most of your input at the onset, or do you find you are continually refining and adding material as the game progresses? At what point are you ‘finished’ the concept work, and then what do you do?

Also, what was your experience in film work like - worth pursuing for you?

Thanks for sharing with the community, it’s much appreciated!

Dan Wheaton


your work is ucompromisingly unbelievable and fantastic… you have great skill …

A few questions from me…

  1. as you went from country to country and were influenced by all different cultures does that affect your work as in, when you are creating art do you add different ideas you have recieved from cultures to produce the image in your mind? If so what steps do you take?

  2. were you always interested and good at being a concept artist , because many people ahve this skill as a natural skill, my question is did you develop it or was it natural for you? if it wasnt natural please explain how you developed your great skill?

  3. What software do you prefer and if you were to create your own software to help artists out there to achieve there goal what software would you create and what would it be used for?

Thankyou for taking out your time to answer our questions… Im sure your time is valuable seeing the great work you produce it’s fantastic and very helpful and unselfish of you… Very kind… cheers!


Sparth, Im a big fan of your prince of persia 2 concept art. Great moods on some of the castle paintings.
As a student artist, I would really like to hear some recommendation on good practices to increase concept painting/drawing skills.
As Tiger woods’ Father said “practice alone does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”

Thanks again,


Hi Sparth,

Like everyone else, I have to say that I love your paintings. Just great!
My question is have you ever had an agent? and why or why not?



I just visited your website, great work .I love it


Have a nice day Nicolas,
Say that I (read:we)love your works is obvious…
What I ask to myself, when I start a project, and I must to sketch an idea is…How Can I obtain the level of design that I see in images like yours…
I love the building’s design, and spaceships… They remember me the last spectacular Star Wars(Mytical Lucas). They are dusty, with a lot of lines, full of particulars…
It’s just your mental priviledge,a sort of…genius, or there’s a secret for learning to paint,sculpt, in this way? I haven’t schools of design…I have only passion…
Get us your secret if it exist… :shrug:


Hi nicolas, sorry for my post but it is easiest for me to ask my questions in french.
1- Tout d’abord je tiens à te féliciter pour tes travaux, qui sont vraiment de toute beauté. J’aime beaucoup ton style et ton univers graphique.
2- Je vois que tu as étudié ENSAD. Je voudrais savoir comment s’est déroulé cette formation et ce qu’elle t’as apporté. En es-tu satisfait ?
3- Je remarque également que, une fois de plus, un Francais s’expatrie à l’étranger pour travailler, et en particulier au canada. Je pense aussi en disant ca a Pascal Blanché, lui aussi chez ubisoft. Est-ce si difficile de trouver un emploi stable en France ou plutot, à l’inverse, est-ce si facile d’en trouver un au canada, ou meme dans d’autres pays ?
4- Pour le moment j’ai un niveau relativement correct en dessin mais je pêche un peu au niveau du dessin. Et je souhaite donc m’améliorer le plus possible. Que pourrais-tu me conseiller pour apprendre par moi-même ? est-ce un bon point de départ de recopier énormément de dessins pour se créer une sorte de bibliothèque de références ? Ne fais-je pas au fur et a mesure devenir dépendant de ces références à tel point que j’aurai du mal à m’en détacher ? Car pour le moment je suis dans une école de 3D qui est plus axée technique qu’artistique.
Voila je pense avoir fait à peu près le tour. Je crois que tu es tenu de répondre en anglais mais il n’y a pas de soucis je le comprend sans doute mieux que je ne lécrit :slight_smile:
Merci d’avance et bonne continuation.
Frédéric FOURIER


Your work is highly inspirational, from back when I was going for my degree/major in computer games art, to now still, as I persue Architecture.

I am interested to know what kind of formal Architectural studies you undertook. If non, then was it purely out of high interest in your environment, and those you visited, that you were able to produce works such as this? (theres others I highly admire, just an example of your excellent use of architectural disciplines)

Have you ever worked as an architectural concept designer, producing work for the billboards that go next to sites to show what they could look like, its what I’m interested in keeping up while studying Architecture at University. I think I could hold a great advantage if I were able to show clients conceptual art rather than just line plans which they cant make head nor tail of. I would charge for these ofcourse, but what do you think?

Thank you for taking the time to do this, and keep up the good work :thumbsup:


wow…fantastic work you’ve done there!

Where are you getting the ideas of your artwork?!


hi, i’m a big fan of your work, especially your brilliant book covers and of course the work you did for PoP 2

  1. You seem to only use warm colours in your work, is this just personal preference or is there another reason behind it?

  2. Also, your work always has an impressionist quality to it, with very few unnecessary details, because of this, your paintings very rarely seem to be overworked. At times are you conscious of trying to acheive this looseness, or is it something which always comes naturally?

thanks a lot


I’ll just start off with one question (hey, I have to leave ideas for everyone else…)

What’s your attitude towards color and do you use a color ‘formula’? Do you reserve certain colors for certain moods- do you have a sort of color ‘mood book’ or something similar?
I ask because I see certain sets of colors cropping up in your work and t hey always work!

Aside from that, another instant fan here! :thumbsup:


Aside from that, another instant fan here! :thumbsup:

here too , heh .



Sparth, I’ve been loving your work for a long time. My question is about your palette. You seem to always use the same brownish/reddish hues. Is it because you feel comfortable with it, something impossed from outside for your recent works, your current animic situation?..


I’ve always been a big fan, especially the Prince of Persia art. :buttrock:
You are one of the artists that can be said to have a distinctive style. Your work always has a “this was done by Sparth” feel to it.

Are you ever going to put a tutorials section on your site? And what photoshop tools do you find yourself using the most?


i’ll be honest and say this is the first time i’ve heard of u too,but damn…glad i did hear of u,excellent work.

what programs do u use? painter/photoshop?

how did u go about getting into the industry?


Congratulations for your excellent achievements, you is a large
representative of our colors, good continuation. :thumbsup: