FanArt Brawls are a fan held competition by Anton Zemskov, an artists who makes official Hearthstone art.
We bring you the showcase of Legendary Winners and Epic Contributions for the 17th FanArt Brawl - Alterac Valley. As well as a short interview with each winner.
- Theme was: "Draw your gladiator in the Alterac Battleground".
You can check rest of the submissions on the Brawl's social media where you can also find works from previous competitions!
Interview with the Winners
We got in touch with the five Legendary Winners and asked them a little bit about the competition, why they picked the characters they did and their design process in general. Read what each had to say below.
Ramzy Kamen - Let There Be Fireworks!
Sinti: Hi Ramzy, what was your preparation for this piece and do you have any sketches to showcase your progress?
Ramzy: This piece had very little thought behind it to be honest haha, it was a very straightforward one with little to no exploration before. I also just checked the PSD, I merged everything with the initial sketch, sadly.
Sinti: You said that it was a pretty straightforward piece this time around, how come? Was that just first thing that popped into mind?
Ramzy: When I read the brief of the contest I thought I had to strictly follow the accuracy of the Alterac Valley battle that happened between the Horde and Alliance meaning I had to also choose specific races that have participated in that battle but that wasn't the case. We were able to create any fighter from any race with any class. I guess I've ended up constraining myself and chose a human mage. For the idea of the piece itself I've always had it in the back of my mind (the same pose, with the same angle, casting a similar spell) but just haven't had the chance to implement it anywhere until now.
Sinti: I get where you're coming from. I once had a very specific idea for a custom card in mind based on its art and was just waiting for a correct prompt in our Weekly Custom Cards Contest to use it. I had to wait for a few months :)
So you had the ground work ready? What kind of references did you use?
Ramzy: I used reference from the already official Alterac Valley cards. Tried to take a good color scheme from it. Other than that not much. Some Dalaran mage outfits here and there and I just took a picture of myself doing the pose. I've built the surroundings (trees, snow ground etc) afterwards when I got a strong focal point (the character).
Sinti: Wait, you took a picture of yourself and used it as reference? That's some out of the box thinking, I love it! That must have been a fun experience getting "into character", right ?:)
Ramzy: Haha it might seem out of the box but pretty much every artist I know uses real life pictures as a reference. That's how we know we get the anatomy and lots of stuff right.
Sinti: Real life picture, of course, but picture of yourself, to get the pose you want/need instead of searching for it, is that a common practice?
Ramzy: Oh yeah yeah it's very common to take a picture of yourself and use it as a reference! A lot of times you don't find the exact pose you're looking for so you make it yourself!
Sinti: Ok, I didnt know that. That is interesting to hear. When you say it like that, it does make sense.
Last time you said that ever since discovering and then playing Hearthstone during Rastakhan's Rumble, you transitioned mainly into Hearthstone style art. Do you still play? What expansion is your favorite?
Ramzy: Yes I very much play everyday! Kazakusan was a ton of fun lately! I don't have a particular favorite set BUT I have a particular year I enjoyed. I don't remember what year it was (year of the dragon or something) but it had Rise of the shadows+Saviours of Uldum+Descent of Dragons and it was the best year ever for me!
Sinti: Yeah, that was it. I agree that it was a pretty cool year for Hearthstone, the year-long over-arching storyline they made was pretty amazing. We've now basically finished another year similar to that. Lady Prestor being Onyxia was a fairly common knowledge, but Kazakusan revealed to be another "hidden" dragon character, similar to Renogos, wasn't as clear from the start, thought there was a hint in Kazakus' flavor text way back in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan :)
Do you think that having a competition where you would be tasked to create a dragon form for a Warcraft/Hearthstone character that is "secretly a dragon" would be a cool prompt? Maybe Anton would consider that while we're waiting for new expansion to drop :)
Ramzy: That’d be cool although it’s very hard to make dragons seem different from each other and i’m not used to do dragons but it could be an interesting challenge!
Ira Firoy Fidler - More Than Meets the Eye!
Sinti: Hello, Firoy. I must say I really loved your character. It stood out to me, maybe it was the color scheme, since most guys were rocking fiery colors a lot. Can you tell us a little bit about her?
Firoy: Oh winter is my best time in a year. That's why I like Alterac. I can understand other guys, there is so cold there! A touch of rocking fire definitely will heat up your day there. But she is as cold as winter. Draenei priest that you think will heal your wounds and warm your heart. But you will only be left with horror of destruction she causes to your foes.
Sinti : Hah! I like her smirk, looks like someone is about to get a whooping :) You got a lot closer to Hearthstone art style in few months since I saw your last submission, is that something you focused on?
Firoy: Yes, I am now actively analyzing the Hearthstone style to better understand it. I find something new every time. I analyze the overall design of shapes, color combinations, dynamics in compositions, and so on. In each new illustration, I use new knowledge and experience and try to make the illustration look as good as the original Hearthstone cards.
Sinti: I can say that your hard work is definitely showing, so whatever you are doing, keep doing it because it bares fruit. Do you have any favorite artists or characters you are trying to learn from?
Firoy: Oh, this is my favorite topic! Of course! These are artists from the Art Tavern team. Also I really like: Arthur Gimaldinov, Nicola Saviori, Joe Madureira, Ludo Lullabi, Arthur Bonnet and others.
Sinti: Those are good ones, I like Nicola's style a lot, it is quite unique. Did you have more than one character and decided to make a Draenei, or was that something that you ended up doing based on your research?
Firoy: I totally agree! I had other options, very rough ones. Initially, I wanted to make an undead warrior who fell into an ice trap, but after a while I came up with an idea with a vile priest and decided to do this illustration.
Sinti: Trapped in the ice is a solid idea :) I like that, flavor wise, for some Hearthstone cards that did it before, but a shadow priest ended up looking very well!
Firoy: Thank you!
We weren't able to reach Anastasia for an interview, maybe next time :)
Diego Gil - Rattling Performance!
Sinti: Hi man! Congratulations getting back up among the winners!
Diego: Hello Sinti! Thanks a lot :))
Sinti: It's great to see your style evolve. I think you are much closer to Hearthstone art style, while still keeping your own vibe. How do you feel about it?
Diego: Thanks a lot for your words! I think this “hearthstone style” is coming to me naturally. During this piece I had no time when I did a decision thinking about making it more like a hearthstone style. I just let things happen and I think it ended like this due to my references, who many are hearthstone artists hehe.
Sinti: Interesting. Have you made any other Hearthstone character since last ArtBrawl?
Diego: Unfortunately no :( After the last brawl I felt a bit bad about my work, nothing related to the brawl, but I spent the weeks after the challenge without drawing. This piece was the first after my return, it took me a lot of time, and I felt good after finishing it, because I felt that I was able to do stuff that pleases me again!
Sinti: I'm glad you feel good about your work again and you should! What I was getting at was, I did like your previous pieces as well, but if you managed to adapt your style this much just based on the references, that is some impressive skill and I feel like it will make you a very versatile artist.
Diego: Thanks a lot Sinti! I feel like when you are not working on some piece, or even studying a foundation, it is still possible to learn by consuming references. Having an active look, try to understand what you like and what works for your job, I feel like it helps a lot ;-) Maybe just a different approach you choose to take in your new piece, is enough to make it completely different. I appreciate your words!
Sinti: True. Btw what made you choose your character? While the theme this time around felt like it was more narrow than usual simply based on the setting, at the same time there were plenty of directions one could go with it.
Diego: That's true! I think that I chose a Goblin because I really love goblins hauhuha and I wanted to draw a character with chains in his arms. I don’t have any specific reason for that, but it was kind of the spark I needed to start the character. I was sketching before I decide what I was going to do, and this was the sketch I liked the most.
Anton Shakhov - Redheads Rule!
Sinti: Hi Anton, congratulations to Alterac Brawl victory! Up for a short interview?:)
Anton: Hi Sinti thank you :) Well, I passed my artwork almost 2 months ago, but I'll try to answer some questions!
Sinti: Right, that you did. How have you been since? Doing ok, I hope?
Anton: Yes, everything is fine, a lot of work every day, so time passes quickly :) How are you?
Sinti: Pretty much the same, sometimes I wonder if work and sleep is all i do :D But I do find time for some fun thankfully as well.
When I first saw your paladin, I was wondering if the book was homage to Librams or did it have any other meaning?
Anton: It's good to have time to relax :) Hah to be honest, I didn't originally have a plan to connect it with some kind of story. I wanted to try to draw a brutal warrior (paladin) and in my first ideas he was gray-haired and quite old, but when I got to some point I realized that he merges quite strongly with the environment and somehow it turned out that he became red and not so old :D
Sinti: I actually like the red hair. Though I guess it must be hard not to fall into Uther look-alikes, even here you can see some resemblance. Did you have a reference you were working off of?
Anton: Yes, Uther is quite strongly sealed in the minds of many, and any brutal male paladin with a beard will resemble him. I used quite a lot of refs from different sources (HS, Warcraft, Wow and from other games) somewhere in the composition somewhere armor or emotions.
Sinti: I see. You said you wanted to draw a "brutal warrior", paladin specifically. What was the reason? You did draw two rather light-hearted characters in past two competitions, did you want to change it up?
Anton: I quite often draw characters of a less standard race (murlocs, kobolds) and this time I wanted to take something more standard, this time my eyes fell on a human paladin.
Sinti: That's fair. I believe you played WoW, right? Do you have any good memory from Alterac Valley that you'd like to share ?:)
Anton: Oh, the times spent in the game were quite exciting, especially when I just started to figure everything out, but it's been a long time since I last went into Wow, which I'm afraid I forgot a lot, drawing has become something daily and more addictive (I hope that it will continue like this and I will not get bored doing this :D).
Sinti: Haha, I definitely understand that. I used to play Hearthstone (mainly Arena) very frequently, now I play a lot less, but have stayed covering the game all the same, I grew attached to the people and our community we built.
There you have it! Which one is your favorite piece? Tell us in the comments below :)