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Around Azeroth: Poppies! Poppies! Poppies!

"Nothing like taking a break from your daily round of killing things, picking things, digging through things, stomping things, riding things, and dying from things than lying blissfully in a field of poppies," writes submitter Arugadh of The Brotherhood of Iron on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). She also wanted me to mention the title is from "Existential Blues" by T-bone Stankus, who those of you who are Social Security-aged may remember from the Dr. Demento Show. Or not remember, considering what drugs Dr. Demento's fans tended to consume. I prefer "(Nothing But) Flowers" by Talking Heads for this picture, but I've referenced that song a little too much in this column.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

BlizzCon 2014: Art gallery celebrates Blizzard's past and present

World of Warcraft 10th anniversary
The Blizzard art gallery on display at BlizzCon is always worth a visit for convention-goers, but this year's gallery was a special treat highlighting the history and development of Warcraft and World of Warcraft. If you were looking for a trip down memory lane, this was the place to be: along with early concept art and design documents, a monitor cycled through screenshots of WoW's past, including an early image of WoW running on the Warcraft III engine, the first Molten Core raid and the first Blackwing Lair raid (the which goes about as well as you'd expect).

After the opening ceremony announced Overwatch, an empty part of the gallery filled with Overwatch concept art and attracted most of the attention away from Warcraft's past... but it was fun to venture back into Blizzard's past before heading into Blizzard's future. For more art, check out the full gallery below.

Filed under: BlizzCon

A Behind the Scenes look at Lords of War with Senior Illustrator Laurel Austin

Earlier this month, Blizzard released a behind the scenes look at Lords of War, the latest short series from the team that brought us The Burdens of Shaohao. Although that behind the scenes glimpse was pretty good, it focused mainly on the story of the short films, the ideas behind the process. Yesterday, another Behind the Scenes featurette was added -- this time, featuring Senior Illustrator Laurel Austin, the artist behind all of those gorgeous moving frames. Austin goes through the process of character design for the shorts and the challenges of bringing the various warlords to life.

This is frankly the kind of behind the scenes stuff I really like to see -- don't get me wrong, I love a story as much as the next person, but I like seeing how it's all put together from a technical standpoint. While the exact process of animating the still paintings is only brushed on, it's still incredibly cool to watch Austin work and explain why particular stylistic choices were put into play. I didn't expect a second installment to this series, so I'm almost hoping we might yet see a third installment that goes into the animation process itself and how all those stunning paintings are brought to life. Either way, the video is a fascinating watch for anyone who wants to see how Blizzard puts their art together.

If you somehow missed Lords of War when it originally aired, you can catch the entire series on World of Warcraft's Youtube channel -- they've even put together a helpful playlist of all the episodes in order.

Filed under: Machinima, Blizzard, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warcraft wallpaper, costume, art, and comic updates

Another round of new art and updates has been added to Blizzard's official website. This time around, the costume updates are all featuring cosplay from BlizzCon 2013. Mylune makes another appearance, along with some stunning costumes of various tier sets and familiar characters from the franchise. In addition to the costume updates, a new wallpaper has been added to the fan art section. The piece, by Juyoung Oh, is a warlock flanked by a couple of Nightmare steeds and wings that would make Deathwing jealous.

And if you're still anxiously awaiting Warlords of Draenor, the concept art gallery has been updated with some new images. There are a few new concept pieces of draenei temples, as well as a pretty stunning piece of Tanaan Jungle lit at various times of day. Rounding it all off is an update to the comic section, appropriately themed for Hallow's End. Take a look at Blizzard's official post for links to all the new updates.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

New Warcraft wallpaper, costumes, art and comic updates

Blizzard has put together another giant pile of updates to many of the fan content galleries on the official site this week. Included with this round of updates is a new wallpaper featuring Chen Stormstout, along with a new fan comic. But the highlight of the gallery updates this time around has to be the costume section, featuring a ton of the costumes and cosplay from Gamescom 2014. The attention to detail with all of that armor continually impresses me, and this round of updates features a ton of trolls!

I think what excited me the most, however, was the fact that we got a couple of new concept art pieces -- and this time, it's Warlords of Draenor art! Don't get me wrong, I love seeing the Mists of Pandaria concept art, but Draenor is so visually unique on the beta servers that I pretty much figured the concept art for the expansion had to be some amazing stuff. While we only got a couple of pieces this time around, I'm hoping we'll see more added as the weeks go on. Check out Blizzard's official post for links to all of the new additions.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

New Warcraft wallpaper, costume, dessert, art and comic updates

Blizzard has put together another gigantic round of updates to many of the fan content galleries on the official site this week. Included with this update is a new wallpaper featuring Grommash Hellscream, a Pandaria-themed cake, another round of Mists of Pandaria concept art, and a new Warcraft fan comic. In addition to all of that, there's another group of images for the costume gallery, including the familiar face shown above. Cosplayer Lyz Brickley made the amazing recreation of everyone's favorite critter enthusiast Mylune for BlizzCon 2011, and we interviewed her about the process shortly after.

I think the costume section updates win out as my favorites for this round -- in addition to Mylune, there are several other really well done costumes featured, including an amazing Garona and even someone who chose to cosplay as a Training Dummy, of all things. This is also the first update we've seen to the dessert gallery in quite some time -- I'm hoping that means there are more updates on the way for that particular section as well. Check out Blizzard's official post for links to all of the new additions.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

Warcraft wallpaper, costume, art, fan art and comic updates

It's been a while since we've seen any updates to the various galleries Blizzard has featured on the World of Warcraft site. Blizzard has just updated its costume and fan art galleries with a handful of new photos from various artists. The costumes are pretty clever, but my personal favorites have to be a really clever training dummy costume, and a checkered box that should be very familiar to anyone who has played on any of the beta servers over the years.

In addition to the costume and fan art galleries, there is a new community comic available in the comic gallery, as well as a new wallpaper featuring the Jade Forest rare, Martar the Not-So-Smart. And if that weren't enough, several new images of Mists of Pandaria concept art have also been added to the Blizzard art gallery. I do love the early hozen concept art, but I hope we get to see more of the concept art from Warlords, too. Check out Blizzard's official post for links to all of the new additions.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

BlizzCon 2014 Talent Contest now open for submissions

The sign-up page for the BlizzCon 2014 Talent Contest is now open and taking entries. For the Talent Contest, entries should be a 2-minute video of a Blizzard-themed performance. This year, Blizzard has obtained the rights to several different songs that can be used during the performances, either as a backing track, or even as a Blizzard-themed derivative version -- in other words, parody tracks using the approved songs are completely fine. The full list is available on the official announcement post.

Semi-Finalists in the Talent Contest will receive $500. Four Finalist acts will be chosen and provided with airfare, tickets and hotel accommodations to BlizzCon 2014, where they will perform their acts for the judges, who will then decide the winners. The Fourth Place winner will receive $800, Third Place will receive $1,250, Second Place will receive $2,000, and First Place will receive a whopping $3,000. But if you want to throw your hat in the ring, you better get moving -- all entries must be received by 11:59PM PDT on August 5.

As a reminder, those looking to enter the Blizzcon 2014 Art and Movie contests only have a few days left to enter -- submissions will be closed on July 7. Good luck to all who enter!

Filed under: Contests, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2014 Art and Movie contest submissions now open

If you're an artist or a movie maker with a penchant for all things Blizzard, now's your chance to show off your talents and win some prizes. The Art and Movie contests for BlizzCon 2014 are now officially taking submissions, and there's a sweet list of prizes to be had. For the BlizzCon Movie Contest, third place will receive $850, second place will receive $1,300, and first place will receive $2,000 and an Oswald Statue. Prizes for the BlizzCon Art Contest are $700 for third place, $1,000 for second place, and $1,500 to the first place winner ... but that's not all. Each winner for both the Art and Movie contests will also receive either a ticket to BlizzCon 2014, or an additional $175 cash.

Keep in mind that the submissions for these contests don't necessarily have to be Warcraft related -- you can take your inspiration for your artwork or film from any of the Blizzard franchises. But if you want to enter, you might want to get a move on -- the deadline for submissions is 11:59PM PST on July 7. For more information, official rules, and submission guidelines, head to the official site.

Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2014 - Many contests, handle them

I have never been to BlizzCon, so I assume it's a lot like a raid. This year, amongst the many encounters will be a series of contests that you have the opportunity to defeat. As is customary, there will be an excellent costume contest (at least, it's always been excellent when I watched it on the stream) with some fairly sensible rules, like 'no real weapons' and 'please design your costume so you can see and walk because otherwise you'll fall down a lot'.

Then there's the expanded talent contest. Can you sing, dance, or make people laugh? Send 'em a YouTube link with your intended performance and make sure you keep it within their suggested limits so they can use it during the con if they like it and you.

There's also an art and a movie contest, for the artistic and visionary types among us. So go ahead and check out the dungeon journal for the BlizzCon contests. There's also an email address for any questions you may have - BlizzConContest@Blizzard.com.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Contests, BlizzCon, Arts and Crafts

Doodlegnome is here to help you find your Valentine

Still not sure what to get that special someone for Valentine's Day? our favorite doodling gnome is here to help by taking your Valentine doodle requests on the forums. So if you're not sure just what to say or how to say it... why not say it with a romantic (maybe) doodle? We can't think of a better expression of affection.

If you want a doodle of your own, head to the forums to request one. But if you just want to see the latest Doodlegnome masterpieces, here are our favorites: Just remember: Doodlegnome is but one gnome and might not get around to all requests.

Filed under: Comics, Arts and Crafts

Would Warcraft make a good animated movie?

If you've ever wondered what Jasmine from Aladdin would look like as a blood elf, wonder no more. Thanks to this story on Kotaku, we get to see how DeviantART poster LiberLibelula would design various Disney characters in terms of the races of World of Warcraft, and while some are no real surprises (Snow White as a dwarf lass) some caught me off guard (Rapunzel as a gnome I did not see coming, and I was pleasantly surprised by draenei Cinderella and troll Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire). The art style here is interesting and captures both inspirations well, in my opinion, and it gets me wondering why we've never seen a Warcraft cartoon of any kind.

Frankly, while we're waiting for a Warcraft movie, I've always wondered why we never saw anything like the Diablo III Wrath trailer for the Warcraft setting. Seeing these images only makes me wonder more - we've seen enough comics and graphic novels in the Warcraft setting to convince me a wide variety of animation styles and artwork could work, so where's our Animatrix for WoW?

I've always been a big fan of the DC Animated films (frankly, I think they're better than the live action movies in most cases) and I'd definitely like to see Blizzard do something similar for Warcraft. While we wait, you can always head over to LiberLivelula's gallery and dream.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

BlizzCon 2013: Art panel featuring angry toucans, gronn-bone fortresses, spikes

BlizzCon 2013 Art panel Title TK
Today's Art of Warcraft panel provided more than just an in-depth look at the new character models coming our way in Warlords of Draenor. We also glimpsed some of the exotic locations that we will visit once we cross through the new, rosier Dark Portal. One area features a fortress built in the skeletal remains of a massive gronn. With steaming fumaroles, gushing waterfalls, and vibrant flowering plants, Draenor appears to be a livelier place than much of Outland.

Designs for the new garrison system displayed interiors for various additions, including what appears to be your future inn and smithy.

Many of the new weapon, siege weapon, vehicle, and building designs were also shown. The visual look for the intimidating and aggressive Iron Horde has themes of metal, fire, and unabashed spikiness. Artwork of what appears to be a war barge could be Iron Horde in origin.

The panel also showed some of the wild fauna that we will encounter through the Dark Portal. Included were a crazy armless rodent, a vicious sunflower-esque sprite, and one very angry toucan. Trippy whales appear to be the evolutionary ancestors of Zangarmarsh's fungal giants. Curiously, the whale artwork is labeled "Zangar Sea." Massive void giants appear to be the bigger, voidier versions of void walkers.

Check out the full gallery of over 120 images below!

Filed under: BlizzCon

Fantasy character artist explodes onto WoW community scene

15 Minutes of Fame Fantasy character artist explodes onto WoW community art scene
If you're headed to BlizzCon next month, will you be lucky enough to be wearing a coveted custom name badge by Noxychu? Her whimsical character portraits have become all the rage this year, and Noxychu has even turned out badges for the entire Blizzard community manager staff. As staff artist for Wowhead and well-known WoW "Twitterati," the unassuming Brit has long since had to pause taking on new commissions, and her newfound popularity promises great things post-BlizzCon.

WoW Insider: Everyone wants a Noxychu! I'm betting most readers will recognize your name from the artwork you do for Wowhead. Tell us what you do there and how you got started.

Noxychu: I'm not sure I have a proper title; I guess just "artist" covers it. I make logos for the various ZAM websites, and I illustrate the occasional contest and guide. I got started with Wowhead by volunteering, I made some badge art for them in 2008, and then after that the occasional Warcraft-themed web comic. And they were bloody awful. I really loved making them, and they were weekly for a while. Unfortunately I'm a terrible at writing scripts, and I have been unable to find a consistently funny writer that is willing to put up with me to try and get the Wowhead web comic back to regular updates.

Read more →

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

World of Warcraft Tribute by UDON now available

World of Warcraft Tribute by UDON now available
World of Warcraft Tribute, a 224-page monster of an art book by Blizzard Entertainment and UDON is now available for purchase. The book showcases Warcraft art by both Blizzard artists and Warcraft fans alike, featuring pieces by Samwise Didier and Arnold Tsang as well as a ton of other notable fan artists -- you may recall Blizzard's call for fan submissions earlier this year. Over 200 illustrations are featured in the deluxe softcover edition, all paying homage to World of Warcraft through gorgeous illustrations depicting some of the most notable characters and places in Azeroth.

You can order your copy of this gorgeous book on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble for $32.30 USD -- it would also make a great holiday gift for Warcraft fans as well. In addition, Blizzard has made new desktop wallpapers from several of the illustrations available for free on the website -- don't forget to check those out as well!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Arts and Crafts

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

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It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

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