This Elden Ring player chronicled their entire playthrough with a gorgeous 600-page sketchbook, and it might just be the coolest thing I've ever seen

Elden Ring Sketchbook
(Image credit: Artyz Artifacts on YouTube)

What you need to know

  • Elden Ring was 2022's Game of the Year, with millions of fans worldwide stunned by the fantasy ARPG's colossal and rich setting.
  • Artyz Artifacts, an art YouTuber, has chronicled their entire playthrough of Elden Ring with a 600-page sketchbook.
  • The book is filled with gorgeous painterly art of the game's NPCs, enemies, bosses, locations, and more, along with notes on many of them and how they all fit into FromSoftware's world.
  • Artyz Artifacts' first video is centered around their exploration of Elden Ring's opening area Limgrave, and further videos on their adventures through the rest of the game's areas are coming.

Gaming is home to some of the most awe-inspiring fictional worlds ever created, but few are as rich and complex as FromSoftware's — and fewer still have the unbelievable scale of the studio's most recent fantasy ARPG, Elden Ring. The award-winning, critically acclaimed 2022 title was all anyone could talk about for most of that year, with millions around the globe captivated by its colossal, layered open world that teems with fascinating locations, well-written characters, and incredible stories.

With a staggering amount of environmental storytelling to be found in every nook and cranny of this gargantuan realm, the Lands Between's depth invites those who wish to engage with it to dive in and bravely explore. And one player has done so in a way that's left me stunned. 

Last week, art YouTuber Artyz Artifacts uploaded a video in which they show off something truly extraordinary: a 600-page sketchbook filled from cover to cover with gorgeous artwork of Elden Ring NPCs, enemies, boss fights, points of interest, and more, along with detailed notes on their place in the setting. Essentially, it's a visual journal of their grand odyssey through this amazing world, and it might just be the coolest thing I've ever seen.

I've embedded the full 46-minute video above, in which Artyz Artifacts goes through the sketchbook page by page and narrates their journey around Limgrave, Elden Ring's lush early game region. The YouTuber says that they "will be making a video for all the major areas," so tales of their expeditions into other areas and biomes will hopefully come soon.

It's fascinating to see and hear how someone else made their way through this massive game — taking in every detail, slowly connecting dots, and making sense of the map — as I did two years ago, but in an entirely different way. And with every bit of Artyz Artifacts' adventure visualized with vibrant, painterly illustrations, it's a terrific story to take in. Notably, the project is reminiscent of Arthur Morgan's journal in Red Dead Redemption 2, which Artyz Artifacts lists as a primary inspiration.

The attentive, observant approach to Elden Ring also reminds me of Kay Plays Dark Souls, one of my all-time favorite "Let's Play" series of videos. The 88-episode series chronicles host Kay's full blind playthrough of FromSoftware's first Dark Souls game, and watching her wander through Lordran, driven by curiosity and eager to piece together every part of that world, is an absolute treat. Though she said the run just started out as something her boyfriend thought would be funny to watch, it grew to become one of the best pieces of Dark Souls content there is on YouTube. There's even a chapter dedicated to it in the Dark Souls companion book, You Died.

A page for Godrick the Grafted, one of Elden Ring's earliest bosses, in Artyz Artifacts' sketchbook. (Image credit: Artyz Artifacts on YouTube)

Things like this journal or Kay's Let's Play are a testament to how compelling FromSoftware's world, art, and narrative design is, and how the universes it creates are a joy to explore, immerse yourself, and get lost in. Whether it's Dark Souls' vertical layered realm of Lordran, the detail-rich, war-torn planet of Rubicon 3 in Armored Core 6, or the dense wide-open continents of Elden Ring's Lands Between, the worlds this studio crafts are consistently a feast for both the eyes and the mind.

I can't wait to see Artyz Artifacts walk us through the rest of their voyage and show us the rest of their sketchbook — and I'm also hopeful that all Elden Ring players will soon have a new voyage of their own to embark on, as well. In December, a leak suggested that we'd be getting Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC later this month on the "Elden Ring Anniversary," which would be February 25. Then, last month, Elden Ring got a new DLC listing in Steam's backend.

Elden Ring is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PCs, and PlayStation systems. It's one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of all time, and if you're a fan of challenging action RPGs, rich, layered open worlds, and near-limitless options for creative buildcrafting, we strongly recommend playing it.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.