The Hearthstone art director talks about recreating the Blizzard look
As Hearthstone’s art director, you’re the perfect person to ask: do you think there’s a specific Blizzard art style?
Certainly. And so we have to work to guide new recruits and freelancers, who may have a lessthorough understanding of the Blizzard style, in the creation of artwork. As well as that, there are also important variations in that style between games. So Hearthstone’s style, for example, is 20 degrees off that of Warcraft – there’s a little bit of a flavour change there. And getting artists who understand both of those things well is very important to us.
So do you think Blizzard’s art style is something any talented artist can pick up?
I think it’s a lot to ask for every artist to do everything. It’s like saying, “This artist can paint in oils, surely they can do acrylics? It’s not that different.” And truth is, they’re worlds apart. Just as you might see someone who’s very talented at photo rendering and say: “They must be able to do caricatures, it’s much simpler and with fewer lines.” Also not true. So I wouldn’t necessarily say that everyone is able to dive into something as specific as the Blizzard style.
What do you do when an artist’s application shows some obvious talent, but their art style just doesn’t match a game’s specific needs at that time?
Just because you’ve applied for Overwatch, Hearthstone or StarCraft, doesn’t mean we don’t share a lot. So, for example, I’ll often get an applicant to Hearthstone that’s just wrong. The look, the feel, it’s just not quite right. But I might walk down to the desk of Diablo or Overwatch and say: “This guy wasn’t right for us, but I think they’d be dead-on for you.” So we do pass things back and forth a lot.