Bet that header image got your attention, didn't it? It certainly got mine when it appeared in my mailbox! From the details on the armor to the expression on the face, you can't really help but stare and admire. Ginny Higerd, otherwise known as Tsunomi on the Elune server (A-US), has been doing artwork for a very long time, and her Warcraft fan art is the stuff dreams are made of -- well, my dreams of being pretty good at that whole drawing thing, anyway.
But art like that also takes a lot of hard work, and Ginny's certainly no stranger to it. What's more remarkable than Ginny's work itself is that you can see the natural progression of skill with each piece that she draws, from early-day scribbles to full-out masterpieces like the image above. Ginny was kind enough to send in a submission for World of WarCrafts -- and heck, with skills like that, how could I not interview her about her methods?
World of WarCrafts: Hi, Ginny! Can you tell us a little bit about your background in gaming?
Ginny: I've really been a video game nerd all my life since my cousin first introduced me to Mega Man X in the summer of '94. Wow, I think I was 8 years old then. From that point, I just kept going with it until about Warcraft 3. I played a little and was really interested at the story, but at that point when it it first came out, I was just too young to really enjoy it then. I finally got into World of Warcraft in the fall of 2005, and I've been stuck ... er ... happily playing since. I even fell in love with StarCraft, and I'm pretty sure I'll be drowning in Diablo III this year, too.
You've got a lot of really lovely pieces! What kind of background do you have in art? Have you taken any classes? How long have you been drawing?
I've been drawing for as long as I can really remember and even have pieces of work laying around with 1995 on them. It wasn't really until my first year in high school before I actually gave a crap into trying to get better at my work. Those four years kinda exploded, and I ended up going to Memphis College of Art for about a year until my money some how magically vanished into the world of student debt. Oh money, I miss you so ... If you're reading this, please come back home into my wallet. I know we had some rough years in college, but I promise I'm a better person and will manage you better. And don't worry about Sallie Mae calling you so much. I'll take care of it.
What drew you to doing Warcraft art? Was it just wanting to draw the characters you play, or something else?
What drew me into drawing Warcraft-related stuff was seeing my toon at level 58 (so close to 60!) and seeing other level 60s around in T2 armor ... I wanted her to look like that, too. Some time about that just sparked me into drawing this piece, and I always did small drawings and commissions here and there afterwards. It wasn't until I drew this piece of Tharion on Earthen Ring that commissions actually started to take off. My work kinda jumped in quality after that, and I've been slowly getting better since.
So take us through creating a piece.
I currently use a Wacom Cintiq 20WSX for drawing. I was always fascinated with digital artwork since high school, and it provided an easier way of drawing when I have a 4-year-old running around the house. No accidental messes to clean up.
I generally start on the basic sketch on one layer. And when I mean sketch, I mean ... woah, it's a sketch. You can barely tell what the hell is going on in the picture other than "Hey, look, there's shapes!" After that, I knock down the opacity to roughly in the 30% area and draw over the sketch with another sketch! Yeah, I know. Mind. Blown. Sketch two is what actually shows you the picture. You see armor, some minor detail, etc. Nine times out of 10, I generally go straight to inking there (repeating the whole opacity turn down and drawing over again with my inking brush), but sometimes my mind still doesn't know what the hell I'm attempting and I add a third sketch layer that's even cleaner than the other.
Yeah, then if I want to go into serious detail coloring work (because I hate myself), I turn down the ink layer and color it like I'm some next Van Gogh ... TL;DR: It's harder than hell, and I've been teaching myself for over 10 years or better using Photoshop only. God help me.
What's your favorite subject to draw? Any particular race or class or lore figures?
My main Tsunomi is my favorite character to draw. She always has been, and since I have an unhealthy relationship with tier 8, that's generally what I enjoy drawing the most besides basic Warcraft. However, I love doing Warcraft crossovers, and my favorite so far as been Kingdom Hearts/Warcraft. I've had one of those pieces colored by Warcraft colorist Tony Washington, and it's just so much fun to think of alternate reality stories for my toons and others.
But I've been drawing Warcraft so much that people tend to get snarky and ask if all I can draw is WoW. That's when I usually flip my table/desk/tablet, storm off for about an hour, stuff my face with Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream, then come back and politely tell them, "No, but if Warcraft art pays my bills, that's what I draw."
Advice? Hm. I'll try to keep this part short, since I've already bombarded half your reader base with enough Wall Text Crit to down three Deathwings in heroic mode, but ...
- Don't trace. I know you might be starting off drawing, or things just end up too hard to keep working on. Don't give in. It's OK to have references to eyeball, but you can't teach yourself if you just trace your work.
- Anime isn't everything. Oh, Christ, if my art teacher could read this now, she'd probably slap the crap out of me. That's all she ever told me, and I never listened. I regret not trying to branch out past that in high school. As my art improved in the last three years, my style has quite seriously leapt away from it, and while I still enjoy anime/manga in general, it's not everything.
- Keep trying. Always keep trying. If it sucks, draw it again. If it still sucks, keep drawing. Who cares? Just keep going.
- Critiques aren't the end of the world. I agree that a lot of people out there generally do not know how to properly critique art work and come off as huge assholes. That doesn't mean you should turn your nose away from people who want to help. Sometimes they're simply offering advice. Whether or not you agree with it is one thing, but don't belittle people publicly about it. It makes you look like a jerk, too.
Huh? You're still here? Why are you still here? I told you everything I know! I don't know anything else! Please don't beat me, Anne! I told you that Johnny was mooching bribes off Ben! I didn't hear anything else!
I mean, thanks for interviewing me. It's been a real pleasure, and I hope everyone enjoys my work!
Thanks for sending in the submission, Ginny! Let us know if you happen to whip anything else up!
If you'd like to see more of Ginny's Warcraft work, as well as other pieces in her collection, check out her page on deviantART. And if you do fanart and you'd like to be featured on a future World of WarCrafts, drop us an email and let us know!
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 email@example.com with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.