I had this intense sense of nostalgia as I was designing and illustrating aspects of this overlay. I spent about 7 years at WCReplays.com as graphics staff. It was where I learned of eSports and found something of a home for my passion of competitive gameplay as well as my artistic aspirations. I spent a lot of time trying to marry the idea of fantasy art with eSports. As you probably know, that concept is pretty much behind us as we have had the pleasure of consuming content from HoN, LoL, dare I say WoW, and of course DotA.
During my time at WCR I was able to meet some personalities that you may be familiar with: Grubby, ToD, and Phreak to name a few. I have a very warm place in my heart for those times as I struggled to learn all I could about my ‘crafts,’ so to speak, while sharing and exploring the very new idea of eSports with those of like-mind.
Delving back into a fantasy based eSports project, I realized how much I’ve grown as an artist over the years. It was a sense of reflection. I fairly easily achieved the look and feel I sought for the project. This was in direct contrast to the feeling of constant struggle over the basics that had plagued my work just a few years ago. When I have a concept or an idea, I find that I now am able to shape it onto the canvas with a great deal more confidence. What a fantastic feeling that is!
So for all those who struggle with your craft, know that the struggle only will make you stronger. I still struggle every time I approach my work, but it is with much heavier concepts and challenges. Every new design brings with it new hurdles. Sometimes things work better than I expect, and sometimes the design beats the $#!+ out of me. The trick is to never give up. If you take anything from reading this, I would hope it would be: obstacles will make you stronger, but only if you continuously choose to face them head on.
Some of the fallout:
Draft Sample A
Draft Sample B
Draft Sample C
Draft Sample D
Draft Sample E
Draft Sample F
The TeamLiquid DotA 2 overlays inspired me to sketch out Sven. Since DotA All Stars, he has been my favorite hero by far. The rogue Knight, a misunderstood Paladin, the Badass Berserker. I can’t dream up much cooler of a character. I was nicknamed ‘Blue Boy’ in my early years, because I constantly wore blue (hence the ‘Raihn’ ID). With Sven also being a very blue dude, I felt quite akin to this fantastic character.
I had planned to fully render the illustration, but some friends told me they think it looks cool as is. I’ll give you that it does have a certain energy to it, and by accident it almost has a Chinese ink painting feel to it. This wasn’t intended to be the final, but I’m interested in the concept of just leaving it where it is.
What do you think? Should I fully render this guy, or leave him suspended in imagination? There is a lot to be said about inviting the viewer to participate in the image. So I am quite curious as to your thoughts.