Thursday, April 4, 2013

Old World of Warcraft Shtuff

I spend a lot of time posting about Magic:The Gathering but not too much about the other TCG I do work for: World of Warcraft.  Obviously, it doesn't have the fervent fanbase that M:tG has and the design and sensibilities are very specific, but I have a lot of fun when working on a WoW piece. The first five or six illustrations I did for WoW were lackluster - I think it took some warming up to their crazy, ham-fisted style.  But once I figured out where my boundaries were and when I could stretch those or not, it started to click.

I'll spare you from seeing some of those first pieces when I was getting my legs under me and jump ahead a few jobs to what you see here.  Not only do these mark when I started to have a better approach and enthusiasm for Warcraft art, they also came at a time when my painting style started to get a little bolder and painterly.  Whether one was the result of the other or not, I'm not sure.

There are a handful of recurring visual-cues for Warcraft art.  First, dudes are built like juicing narcissistic bodybuilders and females are lithe and sexy.  Second, armor and weapons must be insanely huge and impractical.  And thirdly, lots of shit glows.  Take, for instance, the piece at the top of the draenei sorcerer and the Moonkin one below.  Expect there to be multiple light-sources and/or multiple glowing items in each WoW illustration.  Rare is the piece that has NO glowing anything in it. Heck, even that archer guy below has nocked a glowing arrow!  Why is it glowing?  Just turn your brain off and look at the pretty pictures.

Accounting for all the glowing shit and crackling energy and what-not can sometimes be a bitch.  But I often welcome the challenge and try not to put too much emphasis on the complications of those little details.  As with any job, I have to try and make whatever is asked of me look awesome somehow.  A dude in huge armor using a bow and arrow? Wha? Well, ok - here ya go.

I get asked all the time what medium I work in.  If I don't feel like explaining myself, I say acrylic - because, for finished full-color artwork, it is true 99.9% of the time.  Unless it's for World of Warcraft.  the truth is, almost all of my Warcraft art has a degree of digital touch ups.  Some more extensive than others.

Most of the time, there are fixes and reworks asked of me after the final art has been turned in. It is unusual if anything major is asked - usually it's quite small.  For such things, I just bring it up in photoshop and fix it in a few minutes.  All three of the images above have some minor digital tweaking here and there - making the glow a tad glowier, punching up the contrast just a smidge, etc.  Still, they are predominantly acrylic paintings.  I could still show and sell the original paintings - they are finished pieces by themselves.

But have I ever done a digital piece before?  No - not 100% digital.  But this one here comes the closest.  This piece is probably 75% digital.  The dude in the foreground retains some painted elements that I tweaked and worked over - everything else is digital.  Why did I do this? Well, this piece was going nowhere fast and I had exactly NO enthusiasm to traditionally paint it that day.  I decided to just scan in what I had and muck around with it digitally and see what happens.  It's effective and looks nice shrunk down - but it's not a very memorable or good illustration. I did however want to show it as an example of an extremely rare foray into professional digital work on my part. Photoshop was very helpful in getting me through that piece, but it's not a dish I want to eat very often.


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