Friday, September 4, 2015

Warcraft and Hearthstone Art

Last time I posted, I showed some of the pixel art/icons I have created for various video games.  I hadn't really shared that before.  This week I share some more artwork that I haven't publicized much.  More about that later.

I met Jeremy Cranford at San Diego Comicon (btw, almost all of my big clients have come from a face to face meeting) and showed him some of the work I had been doing for Magic: the Gathering and was fortunate enough to get some commissions from him.  Jeremy is an excellent art director and was generous with good input and patient as I worked to find the WoW style.

Later on, Ben Thompson Art Directed for the WoW card game and was also great to work with.  Blizzard was a client that I had worked with before (I worked on Starcraft: Broodwars) but not as an illustrator and I was thrilled to do some work for them.  I ended up doing about 50 illustrations for them.

In 2013 the card game was cancelled.  The game had many avid fans who were upset with the cancellation.  I think a lot of people were scratching their heads at what seemed to come out of the blue.  What the world didn't know though, was that Hearthstone was around the corner.  I don't know if that played a role in the cancellation or not, but it did mean that a lot of the card game art was repurposed (in addition to many new images) into Hearthstone.

Some of my art as it appears in Hearthstone

I haven't shared a lot of the art I have done for WoW because I don't really feel that it is indicative of what I love to paint, or the look and feel of my work, but Blizzard was an amazing client and I loved working with them.  I no longer include my work from WoW in my portfolio, but Muddy Colors is a good place to bring some of this work out and give a little time in light of day. :)

I have to admit I haven't ever played WoW, at least not more than a few minutes.  I had this underlying feeling that if I started playing it would prove to a black hole for my time and once I crossed that event horizon, I might never break free from its pull.  Because of that, some of the characters were totally new to me, like this Boomkin below.  I had a great time painting him.

Thanks for giving this post a read!

Howard Lyon



  1. WoW related art always gets me. i've got a lot of fond memories of the game.
    i never played the card game but i did buy the cards just for the art. i also bought the TCG artbook.

    1. That is cool. It was a fun product to create for and Hearthstone looks amazing too. Blizzard knows how to make great games! Looking forward to seeing what comes next.

  2. You know, I feel I have the same relationship with WOW that you do. Not in terms of getting commissions out of it, unfortunately, but that I worried about what it would do to my productivity.

    I played the beta version back in fall of 2004; my friends and romantic interest of the time thought that I had fallen off the face of the earth for about 5 days. I've since played it on friends' computers a few times (creating a natural time constraint), but aside from that I've stayed away from it and similar games. There's just too much (art)work to be done and not enough time as it is!

  3. "I had this underlying feeling that if I started playing it would prove to a black hole for my time and once I crossed that event horizon, I might never break free from its pull."

    You had the right feeling ;)
    I had it too but I started playing anyways, and boy did I play.
    It was a great game, but I'm happy to say that I have been clean for 6 years.

    The art brought back some memories.


  4. Am I correct when I assume that artists who made paintings for the TCG did not get compensation for the RE-USE of their work in Hearthstone ?