The Warcraft universe is generally seen as a fairly dark place. With Old Gods and evil dragons bent on global explosions, bloodthirsty battles between Alliance and Horde, and the Burning Legion knocking down Azeroth's door, it's hard to picture Azeroth as anything but dark. But sometimes all it takes is a second look to find the whimsical side of Warcraft, and today's featured artist has done just that.
Aly, a video game artist, has captured Warcraft in a manner that's much less "war" and a lot more "craft." Her illustrations manage to be light, airy, and fun while at the same time capturing the essence of iconic Warcraft races and characters in images that are effortless and brilliantly charming. Take a look through the gallery for a peek at Aly's images of WoW, and follow us after the break for a few words from the artist herself.
World of WarCrafts: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Aly! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Aly: I'm a video game artist from California. I've worked for a few small start-ups here and there, mostly on mobile phone games. Besides art and gaming, I like music, sewing, languages and neurology. I have a pet rabbit named Simon the Destroyer of Tablets.
How did you get started with illustration and art? What kind of schooling have you had?
Honestly I can't imagine not creating art. It's not so much a passion as a compulsion, and I've been drawing for longer than I can remember in any media I could get my hands on. It is also basically my only talent, which made a career choice a bit easier at least. I went to Laguna College of Art and Design and they gave me a degree in animation, although I took classes in every major I could, especially in the video game department.
Can you tell us a little bit about the process of creating your work?
Sure, my process for these is embarrassingly simple. They are 100% digital. I sketch out the scene in Photoshop and figure out what pieces I'm going to need to define. I apply a texture to the default brush and set the hardness to about 85% and the flow anywhere from 10-90% depending on how light or opaque I need it to be. Then I go over the part I'm working on in a large sweep and mask out just the shape I need. Basically I am mostly painting the visibility, which makes it easier to make changes later and still preserve the textures since it's a non-destructive erasing method. I get most of my textures from http://www.cgtextures.com, which is a great free resource for digital artists.
The style you chose is really lovely and a unique take on Warcraft. Why did you go with that particular style?
I was playing around with a bunch of different styles; I wanted something a bit different from the in-game look that still captured the characters. I came up with this one specifically for one illustration (of my hunter and the worg) and I liked how that came out so I did a few more in that style for my friends, and eventually it just became my go-to method for quickly sketching out funny things that happen to us in game (for instance, my friend crashing her new X-53 rocket) or as simple gifts for people. I was definitely not expecting them to draw any sort of attention like they have.
Your pieces look like they're right out of a children's book. Any plans on doing a fanart/fanfic children's book with them?
I am actually talking to a writer right now! Hopefully that will go through; the script is super cute, and I'm really looking forward to working on it.
Any words of advice for aspiring artists out there?
Do what you love. Find your own voice, instead of following trends or trying to emulate another artist. Learn the basics: anatomy, perspective, color theory. It may feel like it doesn't matter but it really will make all the difference. Listen to critiques and try not to get defensive. I know it feels like someone is attacking your babies, but it's good for you, really. And finally, you'll always think there's someone "better" out there. Don't compare yourself to others and bring yourself down. You're the only one with your vision.
Thank you for your time, Aly -- we hope to hear from you again!
If you like Aly's work and you'd like to see more, you can check out her art at Alyflock.com.
World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including arts and crafts, fan art, WoW-themed recipes, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.