Lords of War: Durotan

The most enjoyable episode for me to work on was probably Durotan.  This is pretty much entirely due to the subject matter (I love me some wolves), and the schedule at this point allowed this to be the only episode whose final art I worked on pretty much on my own.  The simple needs of the story helped this.  When your backgrounds are just trees and snow, you can concentrate a lot on the characters and action without getting bogged down too much in the ambience of the situation.

Don't get me wrong, ambience is awesome, but when you've got to finish 91 shots in 6 weeks, it's nice to embrace the simpler side of things.


Watch first if you care to!

Also around this time, Blizzard's wonderful Video and Post Production department were making a couple of "Behind the Scenes" videos to accompany the series.  They didn't end up getting released till after all 5 episodes were already out, but they made one consisting mostly of yours truly talking about art things.

Let me tell you -- it REALLY helps to have an awesome editor/interviewer that will ask you good questions and later edit out all your various ums, ahs, and awkward pauses.  He managed to make me sound like I knew what I was doing.  You're the best, Lucas!

The Frostwolf clan of orcs hang out with wolves ... in the frost.

Durotan is shown here as a kid with his mom's wolf, Stormfang.

The Garn (aggressive big black wolves) were invented in WoW specifically for this story, however I think we may have met them elsewhere before.  Possibly in conjunction with several below-market-weight hogs.

They get a little roughed up.  Poor dears.

The introduction of the red in every episode was a thread tying them all together, stylistically.

Moral lesson - if you screw up and accidentally kill your best friend, you get to wear her as a hat for all time.

I can't help but feel more connected to Durotan as a character after drawing him so much.  Funny how that happens, really.

Lords of War: Hellscream

The second episode of Lords of War was actually the first one we made.  When you make anything new, the first time you try it, it's full of a lot of things that need working out.  The first time usually takes the longest.

The first piece below was the first painting in the series where we all looked at it and thought it was right for the show.  Something that was attractive, but achievable in the time allowed.  Trying for tight pockets of rendering with large, splattery, scratchy looser areas.

Grommash Hellscream - My painting on Doug Alexander's layout

My painting on Doug Alexander's layout.

You can see on Grommash a couple different "animation" phases of his arm.  The banners on his spears were left straight so that the cloth could be easily animated.

Though I did do these two pieces myself, most of the colour was not done by me, but by Charles Lee.  Here are a couple of my raw BW pieces that Charles ended up adding colour to later.

Grommash on the tree and the ogre

This wolf... and the back of an ogre's head

Would you believe I'd never drawn a WoW ogre before this?   ... I guess that's probably not that hard to believe.  The parade of orcs goes on!

Ceratosaurus Process

I went to visit the Tyrell Museum last week.  I haven't been for a few years, but they had some pretty awesome new things on exhibit.  It put me in a dinosaur-type mood.

In my mind, all dinosaurs have whiskers.

So I thought I'd use the opportunity to do a little sketching and break out the process video.

Who knew they could play such haunting music with such tiny hands?

Lords of War: Kargath Bladefist

For nearly the whole of this past year at Blizzard, I've been working on a project that eventually became known as Lords of War.  It was originally conceived as the spiritual successor to The Burdens of Shaohao but having to do with the upcoming release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion for World of Warcraft.  My life has been a parade of orcs for these past many months.

I began working with director Doug Alexander on it last December.  He did layout (i.e., shot composition) as well as various and sundry ridiculously important things that directors do (you know.. the story). I developed the art style within that direction, and integrated/designed the characters and environments, trying to do something interesting within the Warcraft universe that's true to the game but also (hopefully) working in its own context  In the end it took over a year and a whole lot of other people, but it's finally out there in the wilds of youtube!

Spoilers below the line

If you care about being surprised, I suggest watching first.

It was a great, skill-stretching experience.  I can only describe it as hybrid existing somewhere in between illustration and animation.  It would never have happened without the extreme perseverance and late nights by Doug, who was really the progenitor of all of this.  He's a humble guy, but deserves all the credit in the world.

Kargath killing the final orc

My role in the whole business was developing the art style and going from layouts to illustrations.  In the first two episodes, I was responsible for the finished drawings, colour scripts, and a small amount of the final colour.  Most of the colour was not done by me, but by the incomparable Charles Lee.  For most of them on this episode, I was in charge of the black and white -- a division of labour not dissimilar from comic book artists.  

Kargath dreaming of freedom.  Or... I guess not freedom so much as dreaming of decapitating ogres.  Lucky for him he'll get to do a lot of that.

Big Bad Orc

I did have the privilege of doing the complete shots for the fight sequence at the end of the show.


I think this is what happiness looks like.  Possibly not for the ogre.

There are 4 more episodes.  Look for more posts on the art soon!

The Egg Thief and the Headless Horseman: Process Videos

It has been tremendously long in coming, but I've finally got off my duff and uploaded a couple of process videos to Vimeo.  It is not unlikely that many of you have seen these before, but at the very least it is an easy permanent place to find them should you ever want to do so again :)


The Egg Thief can be found finished in the Illustration Gallery.


The Headless Horseman was created for Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft TCG and the final can be found in the Illustration Gallery.


I have also been faffing around with camtasia.  More on that later, potentially.

New Website

It has been a long time in coming, but I've finally made a new website.  In an attempt to aggregate my content (which has been diffuse across various places on the internet for some time), I have decided to continue my blog here.  Excite!

I wish I had a bit more work to show, but the life of an artist in the entertainment industry, working on long-secret projects .. this is oftentimes the way of things.

I do hate making blog posts about random news when I have no new art to show.  My worry is that lovely hopeful people will come to the blog for new art and be disappointed when they don't find any.  So in the spirit of this, I drew you a picture:

Look in this space for future updates!