There's knitting together a World of Warcraft-themed scarf or emblazoning a T-shirt with Alliance pride, inviting your game of choice to mosey along hand-in-hand with your hobby of choice -- and then there's oozing WoW-themed personality through every creative pore of your sweating brow. Jay Scullin comes from the second camp. A web designer by day, Scullin is a WoW-centric artist and blogger by night. When the sun goes down at the end of a long day, on comes his work lamp and in comes a flood of rich, color-saturated ideas pouring forth in his computer-generated artwork and a fanfic account of his character's progress through WoW.
Scullin originally created this portrait of his beloved gnome mage Ollo Ollovious of Uldaman (US-A) for last year's Blizzard fan art contest. Using Photoshop and Illustrator with a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet, he painstakingly labored over some 12 hours to keep the representation as true as possible to Ollo's in-game demeanor. In yet another character-focused project, he blogs at Legend of Piket, the ongoing tale of his level 76 protection warrior's ascent through Azeroth, Outland and Northrend. Join us after the break for a brief conversation with Scullin about what keeps his creative pot bubbling with Azeroth-influenced projects.
World of WarCrafts: First of all, Ollo's portrait – fantastic! Can you share any more details about the tools and process behind its creation?
Jay Scullin: Most people don't take gnomes all that seriously. My overall goal was to take that stereotype and make people think twice about it. Ollo is looking very gnomish with his Destruction Holo-gogs and spiky green hair, yet the smirk on his face and the arcane energy emitting out of his hands give the impression that you'd better watch where you step.
Ollo started out as a sketch based on my main character at the time, a level 80 arcane mage. My intent was to make it as sharp and detailed as possible, so instead of painting everything with brush strokes, I decided to use vector shapes as a base and utilize a lot of different textures on top. I traced my image using shapes in Illustrator, then pulled those shapes into Photoshop and used them as masks.
The process was somewhat tedious. I would pull in shapes as I needed them for every major part, bouncing back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop until I had everything proportionally right. I also took dozens of screenshots of my character for reference and tried to replicate his armor as closely as possible, adding more detail where necessary. Each major area consisted of about four to six layers: color, shading, texture and two or three different overlays.
Hardware-wise, I used a Wacom Intuos 4 9x12 tablet and a Macbook Pro connected to a 24" Monitor. The final image came out to be 3300 x 4200px at 300 DPI. It took about 12 solid hours to complete.
Surely there's some other WoW art in the recesses of your files.
My first digital painting was Magni Bronzebeard, which I completed in 2005. Back then my computer was somewhat outdated and my tablet was very small. I think I spent more time waiting for it to save than actually working on it.
In 2006 as a college project, I created a 3-D animation test of a goblin I named "Gadzooks," which was inspired from the goblins in WoW. He is synced to some sound clips we've all heard before. This model was created in Maya in about a week's time. I wish I could have given him a body, but unfortunately, the work was lost a while back.
What's your art background?
I've always been into art and design, yet at the same time, I am passionate about code production and programming. In fact, I started college as a computer science major. I sometimes enjoy simple pencil sketches and photography, but overall my medium of choice has always been digital. I started with CorelDraw and eventually worked my way up to Photoshop and Illustrator. Off and on, I like to work in 3-D as well. Today I work as a web designer and enjoy putting my design skills to use while spending just as much time writing code. Most recently I've been working on coding and designing iPhone and iPad Apps under the moniker littlebit.
The Legend of Piket -- how did this all begin?
Legend of Piket is a geeky side project that I launched in December. I came up with it when I realized that my World of Warcraft character is a whole lot more interesting than I am. It takes my real-time experience leveling a gnome warrior from level 1 onward and tells it from his perspective. Everything that he's gone through in the game is talked about with a fan-fiction edge. The approach I take with it is as if Piket is keeping a journal where he recounts all the things he's been through.
It's a lot of fun keeping up with Piket's adventures, looking back at certain events and exploring the way it affects the way he looks at life. Writing this has made me ask myself about certain things I never really thought of before, like what exactly would "leveling up" feel like? How would it feel to get killed and have to track down your body? Or what sort of effect would killing hundreds and hundreds of creatures and other people have on someone? I also enjoy going into detail on some of my favorite quests like Tooga's Quest or instances like Gnomeregan and describing people who happen to be in my party or who help me out in game.
To get the word out, I created a guild called <LEGENDOFPIKEToCOM>, so people in game would know to follow along online. I also created a Twitter account http://twitter.com/legendofpiket/ and set up a few RSS feeds to announce when I do things in game. There are 65 stories up to this point, and I've got a lot more to write about.
Is there a story somewhere for Ollo, too?
Sort of. I like to bring in all my favorite past characters from time to time. I look at them as past lives. When you get bored with your character, that character passes away and is reborn as your new character. So, essentially Ollo is Piket, but Piket doesn't know that. So for example, when Piket gets a letter in the mail and a heap of gold from Ollo, he is actually just picking up gold that he left himself in a past life. I put Ollo in a few of Piket's stories like that. I guess you could say he is Piket's conscience, guiding him in the right direction. He also had a nightmare once about my old Horde tauren druid, Pawkatawk. But that is another story.
Do you think you'll still be working on Piket's story when Cataclysm hits? Do you anticipate taking him into Cataclysm?
Well, it depends on how Piket is affected by the events of the Cataclysm. At level 74, he's grown a bit tired and jaded. The main thing keeping him going is the fact that all his fighting and killing brings peace and hope to the places he goes. After the events of the Cataclysm, if he returns to these places and sees nothing but destruction, he may be inspired to help or may give up all together, deciding that all of his efforts were ultimately in vain. Either way, Cataclysm presents a whole lot of possibilities for story telling, so I will definitely continue it in one way or another.
World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players. Sample the entire spectrum at WoW.com's Arts and Crafts in WoW page, and strut your own stuff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.