Lil' Witch Games

Role: Lead Artist, Character Designer

Tools: Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint

Our studio's debut slasher horror visual novel game, The Truth Hurts follows our Korean Exchange students at an American college until a rampant killer finishes them off one by one.

I was responsible for designing and rendering out 20 characters, with around 13 different facial expressions each. I was also in charge of designing and rendering out 30 scenes, or 'CGIs', including characters and backgrounds.

The game is still in progress and will be released on Steam, smartphones, and Nintendo Switch in February 2020. 

"Secrets will be revealed,

limits tested, choices made,

and blood will be spilled."

- The Killer, from The Truth Hurts

Killer sprite progress

Throughout this project, I've had very free hands to

interpret and design characters how I wanted, save for some necessary details. The details I got for the character 'killer' were the following:

"They should have a Korean mask that covers their face, their clothes should be baggy and should wear a raincoat. The killer's weapon is a Korean knife."

From this description, I came up with this character. In the beginning, I gave them a traditional Korean knife, but the feeling about it was too round and brutal, so I changed it to a Korean kitchen knife, giving a sharper and scarier impression. 

The raincoat is very detailed and has an almost gory look to it, and so does the hair. I wanted a creepy look but keeping in line with my style was a little hard, but this still worked perfectly with how I draw.

Killer sprite expressions

While most of The Truth Hurts characters have around 13 expressions, I wanted to showcase the killer's 5 expressions.


How do you express emotion through a mask? I took inspiration for Japanese Noh masks, which change expression depending on the direction you viewed it from. The killer's mask always wears a creepy smile, but making them look down slightly, the expression changes to a more sinister smile.


Most of the killer's expression is conveyed through gestures though, so I made three variations of their pose.  

Jacob Judge
Founder of Lil' Witch Games

Nathalie has been our lead creative on all character and CG artworks for The Truth Hurts, doing everything from working as a solo artist, collaborating with myself on in-game material and marketing content, as well as leading other artists in completing larger pieces to be used in-game.

Nathalie remains ever at the ready to step forward and take on extra work to better our title. We've been working together for almost three years now, and I can honestly say our The Truth Hurts would not be where it is today without Ms. Bartelius's work and dedication.

Nathalie has been a joy to work with, and from the first interaction in January of 2018, she's proven to be a
vital part of this project. She's shown tremendous determination, excellent communication skills, a drive to create, and has brought such a unique style to our game

Nathalie isn't afraid to pitch ideas during meetings; while at the same time being able to stay true to the ideas and concepts I've established as Lead months in advance. She's also not afraid to come to me with issues regarding development, pacing, or anything else regarding development - and I respect that immensely.

There's quite a bit of pressure when working with multiple individuals on a project as ambitious as ours, but Nathalie has hit the mark every step of the way to make sure our game stands out from the rest.
I am confident when I say that any task that is asked of Nathalie Bartelius will be tackled head-on with confidence, creativity, and a level of professionalism that far exceeds her years. It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to work with her.

Should you have any other questions regarding Nathalie and her time working on The Truth Hurts, please feel free to reach out to me directly at


©2019 by Nathalie Bartelius.