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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.

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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

World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide available for preorder

Yogg Saron in the Ultimate Visual Guide
Today Blizzard announced a new book release in partnership with DK Publishing--the World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide. The guide features many pages of new and unreleased artwork, in-depth character profiles for famous WoW heroes and villains, location information, famous battles of Azeroth's history, lore references, and even a guide to the different types of magic found in the Azerothian universe. Oh, and there's a glimpse into the creative development process behind WoW, as well, something I don't think has ever before really been explored in a Blizzard publication. The pre-order pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble cite the release date as September 30th, so mark your calenders. This guide is sure to interest any WoW lore fan or art enthusiast. A full preview is available on the official DK landing page.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Blizzard spotlight on fan artist Dmitriy "Tamplier" Prozorov

I can't draw at all, so it is with a great deal of envy that I look upon works like those of Dmitriy Prozorov, also known as "Tamplier", who is the subject of a feature over on the official site. Winner of the Diablo III portrait of a champion art contest for his exceedingly cool barbarian, there are a lot of excellent works showcased, including an absolutely stunning Maiev Shadowsong, a brutal looking tauren warrior, and several Diablo III angels, including the Imperius shown above.

Head on over to the official site now and take a look through Dmitriy's body of work. It's quite impressive. Seriously, check out that picture of Maiev.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Arts and Crafts

Chris Metzen talks about The Art of Blizzard Entertainment

Over the last few years the question of art and video games has gone in and out of hot-button topic territory. Whatever someone's opinion of the status of games as art, though, it's impossible to ignore the vast amount of art that goes into them, and the cultural consciousness surrounding art and gaming is growing all the time. Earlier this year Blizzard published The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, a volume spanning over 20 years of concept art and development, complete with commentary by Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen. Along with the book was an exhibit of the same name at the Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, which ran from January 12th to February 3rd, 2013.

This is an old video by GamerHub.tv from the opening night of the exhibit back in January, but it's the first it has come to our attention at WoW Insider, and it's worth watching if you haven't already. Metzen talks about the origins and inspiration for Blizzard's art, Blizzard's feelings toward fan art, and some of his thoughts on the perception of art and games in general. Check out parts one and two on GamerHub's youtube channel.

Filed under: News items

These vintage-style WoW travel posters could level up your decor

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Though we've seen a lot of fan art in our time, the retro charm of Josh Atack's Azerothian travel posters struck us. So far there are two: one for Undercity and one for Thunder Bluff, both styled after vintage rail posters. It's hard to say which of the two we like better, but fortunately we don't have to decide, because they're both for sale on his society6 page. So if you're looking to decorate your office -- or your desktop -- with something that expresses your love of WoW without being too overt about it, Josh's art may be just the thing.

And if you're not fond of Undercity or Thunder Bluff? Josh plans to keep making these as long as he's having fun with them and he's aiming to get all the faction capitals and Dalaran done, plus a few personal favorites like Zangarmarsh and Winterspring.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Arts and Crafts

World of Warcraft Tribute Art Book submission deadline Jan. 15

World of Warcraft Tribute Art Book submission deadline Jan 15
Do you love creating Warcraft art? UDON Entertainment is teaming up with Blizzard to create what may be their biggest Tribute collection yet, featuring art paying homage to World of Warcraft. Both Blizzard and UDON have called on artists from around the world to submit their original World of Warcraft-inspired artwork for consideration. However, the deadline for submissions is fast approaching. If you'd like your work to be considered for this incredible collection, you'll need to submit it by January 15.

This is a worldwide collection, so anyone in any country may submit their art. However, you'll need to be 18+ to submit. Selected artists for the Tribute collection will have their work included and credited in the book, which was announced at NYCC last year, and should make its first appearance at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 as a special, limited-edition hardcover.

If you're an artist and you'd like to see your Warcraft-inspired work make its way into print, this is an opportunity you don't want to miss. For more information, including rules, guidelines, and submission information, head to the official World of Warcraft Tribute website.


Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Arts and Crafts

Detail-oriented artist shows Blizzard how it's done

Detailoriented artist shows Blizzard how it's done
Marie Lazar got the chance to step into the shoes of a Blizzard Entertainment intern last summer -- and there's still a chance that you could, too. The deadline for this year's Blizzard student art contest is next week. If you're an aspiring 3D artist, get your portfolios in by Jan. 15 for a shot at a three-month mentorship at Blizzard under the wing of a member of the WoW art team, plus a one-year subscription to WoW and some delicious WoW memorabilia and goodies.

You'd best be up for a stiff challenge, though, because this is no mere fan art contest. You'll face artists the likes of last year's winners Jessica Dinh, Peter K. Lee -- and the subject of this week's interview, the detail-oriented Marie Lazar.

"It's all about the details," said WoW lead environment artist Gary Platner of Marie's work. "When we create art for WoW, we have to follow some rules. Pieces must have hand painted textures that match our unique art style and they must tell a story. Marie's work does this very well! And, if you look close enough, some great details come through. It's a library of the afterlife floating on an island in the sky! There are book references everywhere, books lying around, book grave stones, even the roof is made to look like an open book. All of us could look at this piece and come up with a great story."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Interview: Fantasy art legend Michael Whelan relates his vision of Deathwing

Fantasy art legend Michael Whelan's vision of Deathwing
Sometimes we're so busy geeking out over the ways Blizzard inspires us with World of Warcraft that we forget that behind the curtain, the folks at Blizzard are busy geeking out over the people and things that inspire them. So when we learned that Blizzard had commissioned fantasy art legend Michael Whelan to create a painting of Deathwing for Blizzard's headquarters, we knew we had to bring you the inside story of how this singular vision of the iconic dragon came to fruition.

The most honored artist in science fiction, Whelan has created book and album covers for authors and musicians like Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, the Jacksons and Meat Loaf. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009, the first living artist to join such luminaries as H.G. Wells, Steven Spielberg, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

While Whelan actually executed the commission for Blizzard early last year, his enthusiasm for the project remains undimmed. The world-renowned painter of imaginative realism chatted with us about his rueful discovery of Deathwing's unique draconic qualities, his admiration for Blizzard's art team, and the special project he's working on now in memory of "Dragonriders of Pern" author Anne McCaffrey.

WoW Insider: Your artwork is such a part of the fantasy world that we need to go back a bit to get the full perspective of what you've done here, the long view you bring to an upstart like Deathwing.

Michael Whelan: It's been a little ways ... (laughs) I've been working at this for what, 35 years?

We have a Pern fan on staff who's curious about how you reconcile the stylistic differences between the art for Pern and art like what you've just done with Deathwing for Blizzard. Now that you're focusing more on fine art than illustration, was it odd to switch back to working on a commission with someone else's vision?

Yeah, it's really hard. Try as I might, there's always a period of adjustment between working on a commission piece and doing something for the gallery, where I'm just trying to satisfy my own aesthetic and intellectual sensibilities. It's funny; it can take me days, even, to switch gears and go from one mindset to the other.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

The Art of Blizzard covers Blizzard's artistic history

The Art of Blizzard covers Blizzard's artistic history
If you like the art that Blizzard creates for its games (and really, how can you not?), then you should get yourself a copy of The Art of Blizzard, a new hardcover that surveys the past 20 years of Blizzard's development in art. Covering the origin of the studio and its development with more than 800 illustrations and commentary from Nick Carpenter (vice president of art and cinematic development), Samwise Didier (senior art director) and Chris Metzen (senior vice president of story and franchise development -- and you seriously should probably know this guy already), it promises to have something for the dedicated fan or the fan of art and illustration. As Blizzard themselves put it:
This epic volume of art and behind-the-scenes insights celebrates the company's genesis, granting readers access to the inception and development of Blizzard's blockbusters and offering a never-before-seen look into some of Blizzard's unpublished projects.

I'm definitely looking forward to this one. I can't draw worth beans, but I love me some art.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

The bounty of Cataclysm

The Bounty of Cataclysm
I wasn't fond of Cataclysm when it launched. Not because of its zones or its story, both of which I probably like more than almost anyone. My major problem on Cataclysm's launch was that I was generally solo, having to use Dungeon Finder for my dungeon runs. The rest of the folks I was guilded with weren't on at the same time I was, and that meant I had to try and tank the new dungeons (with their emphasis on CC that no one wanted to remember how to do) and then the new dungeons on heroic, with all sorts of instant-kill mechanics that were completely avoidable and which no one wanted to avoid.

Pugging these dungeons as a tank in groups full of people conditioned by Wrath heroics was like placing my genitalia in a garbage disposal, except you can generally only do that once. I ran these dungeons repeatedly. It was not pleasant. By the time I was geared enough to tank the new raids, I was so bitter and hated Cataclysm as an expansion so much that my friends and colleagues (many of whom were lucky enough to have dedicated groups running these dungeons, not being forced to pug as I was) thought I'd gone frothing, barking-mad insane. I tanked in tier 11, but I had no desire to do so; I merely did it out of obligation.

What this meant was that I missed out on getting to enjoy those dungeons. The difficulty of getting groups to avoid Corborus' burrowing, the inevitable fallout of blaming and group disintegration cost me several months when I could have been admiring how well laid-out these dungeons were, looking over their art and enjoying the mechanics on a technical level. There were a lot of cool fights I spent my time gritting my teeth through, a lot of dungeons I endured due to their tuning. It's one of the reasons I like going back and tanking them now.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: What are the telling details you love in the game?

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I wasn't sold on the Bilgewater Goblins initially. When they and the worgen were announced in the run-up to Cataclysm, I had to wonder if there was any compelling reason to play what felt like a green gnome over a badass werewolf. (Yes, I was young and foolish in those days.) That changed quickly when I hit the beta and found them to be a hopelessly endearing race despite (or perhaps because of) their fairly amoral approach to life. I loved the little details in their towns, from the empty Chinese take-out boxes scattered around their inns to the little dinghies that fly underpants in place of flags.

Credit where credit's due -- most of this is the work of the Blizzard props team. These folks are also the reasons that Gilneas is so magnificently creepy, with its creaky windows, flapping sheets, and papers drifting across lonely towns. What little details do you particularly enjoy about the race you play as a main?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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