Upper Deck Entertainment recently announced the upcoming release of a new art book titled World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game. An official release date has not been announced, but the book should debut this month (January 2008). It will be hard to describe the contents of this book, but it is just thrilling to hold it in your hand, and browse through pages and pages of great Warcraft-inspiring artwork. This review is divided into a few categories to take you along my journey as I open the box it was shipped to me in. The first thing you see after opening the box dazzles you and makes the experience more joyful: its overall cover design.
World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game is a big book of 288-pages and 11” wide x9” high in dimensions. The book is eleven inches in width, so you have the pleasure of viewing bigger illustrations in more detail. I placed this book on my left hand to compare its weight with the, also big, Warcraft Manga Ultimate Edition I reviewed a few weeks ago. Upper Deck’s book is heavier. The first thing that captures your attention at eye contact is the awesome Ragnaros artwork on its jacket design cover with brilliant orange and yellow tones. Placing your hand on and rubbing the material of the jacket design cover feels like soft waxed paper. I had to rub the cover a few times. It just feels so good and comfortable to the touch. Almost addictive. Shows how much well thought the design of the book was conceived to pleasure visual and tact senses.
The cover is just a jacket paper wrapped around the book, which can be easily detachable, as it has no restraints binding it to the book. Personally, and this is my choice, I would remove the jacket design cover and frame it for posterity. You don’t want a fingerprint-smeared cover. It is so perfect looking, you would want to conserve it pristine.
On the back, it has six small icons on fire showing the logos and image of the World of Warcraft TCG series: Heroes of Azeroth, Through the Dark Portal, Fires of Outland, Onyxia’s Lair, Molten Core Raid Deck and Magtheridon’s Lair.
At the top of the back cover, it says: “Experience World of Warcraft:; through the eyes of the world’s top fantasy artists in this collection of paintings from the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game. More than 300 dramatic visions of Azeroth come to life from such acclaimed talents as Samwise Didier, Todd McFarlane, Greg Staples, Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai, Marcelo Vignali, Todd Lockwood, and others. At the bottom it says: Feel the magic. Live the glory. Heed the call!
On the interior of the jacket paper wrapping the book, it says:
THE WAR IS REAL.
Experience the fantastic world of Azeroth like never before in World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game, a compendium of World of Warcraft®‘s most valiant heroes, devastating spellcasters, and bloodthirsty creatures. Upper Deck Entertainment, the co-creator of the popular World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game, has sifted through its vast archive of card art to share more than 300 drawings and paintings in epic detail.
Featuring the talent of such master craftsmen as Todd McFarlane and Greg Staples, World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game brings our most primeval dreams to life, weaving an elaborate tapestry of might and magic. Each breathtaking piece draws the reader further into the World of Warcraft® mythology, which has entranced millions of players worldwide. Complementing the stunning imagery are forewords by Blizzard Entertainment® Senior Art Director Samwise Didier and Art Lead Glenn Rane that provide unique insight into The Blizzard Way.
With more than 300 fantastic pieces of art, World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game is the ultimate companion to the World of Warcraft® universe and a must-have treasure for World of Warcraft® enthusiasts everywhere.
BOOK COVER AND MATERIALS
I haven’t yet reviewed the artwork within, and I am already excited by the physical aspect: materials and design of this book. Let’s remove the jacket paper wrapping the book for a moment. I couldn’t but gasp at the material of the book cover. It is fairly a one-eight-of-an-inch thick. Rock solid, rigid cardboard. It takes some effort to attempt to bend it. The solid cardboard is wrapped firmly by what looks like a brown and very textured fabric. This one can’t be detached. It is embedded on the cardboard. In front of the book cover is symbol stamped in yellowish metalic paint … Two inverted triangles merged, a flaming eye at the center and a horned-skull above the eye. Opening the book to see its interior will make many who purchase this book a happy panda. Fifteen years ago, I graduated college with a Graphic Arts degree. Material planning and cost management was among the courses comprehending its program. I can tell you, right off the bat, this book has high quality materials. All pages are thick glossy paper. Nice to the touch, visually appealing, and … hold, sniff-sniff. These pages have a pleasant perfume fragance. Shows there was a lot of work, thought, and detail put into creating this book.
6 Foreword: Samwise
12 The Alliance
204 Monsters & Locations
Forewords take a full page divided in two columns with a sample artwork on the next page. The Samwise f
oreword section offers you a nice Samwise artwork showing the Warcraft III Panda hero who splits into three pandas showing
its fire, air and earth aspects. That would make a great desktop wallpaper, if you have a scanner. Samwise explains how each artist is handpicked from hundreds of candidates and how each artist is brainwashed, and practice and practice until they get the artistic nature of the Blizzard style.
Glenn Rane goes into explaining the term called “Blizzard Quality” which is meeting and exceeding people’s expectations. Jeremy Cranford, Upper Deck Entertainment Creative Manager, Art Acquisition of the World of Warcraft TCG explains how they aimed to bring Warcraft to life through detailed artwork, similar to how Alex Ross does for comic books. Jeremy explains the process of hiring various artists with attention to details, and how as Creative Manager he criticizes and guides each artist in capturing the Warcraft feel. His foreword shows three before-and-after sample images showing how concept art has evolved after he has criticized or suggested an artist to make changes in order to capture the Warcraft feel.
The World of Warcraft TCG cards are divided in three categories: The Horde, The Alliance and Monsters & Locations. Some of the Monsters include Un’Goro dinosaurs, Molten Core bosses, Magtheridon and Onyxia. Each artwork is catalogued with Card Name, Artist Name and Medium Used—information placed near the card artwork. For example, the first artwork is described as follows:
Most of the artwork is either made on digital, oil, or acrylic medium, with a very few exceptions which use colored pencil or gouache. Most of the artworks are incredibly detailed, and were painted with bright colors. Some of the stunning artwork resembles that of old-school Dungeon & Dragons, Dragonlance book covers, and other fantasy-setting books. Other artworks such as artist Udon and Michael Komarck’s look like norse mythology a la Alex Ross. Some artists such as Clint Langley use surreal or 3D elements. Each style capturing amazingly the World of Warcraft feel. Or comic-stylish such as the four TCG artworks by Gabe from Penny Arcade: Leeroy Jenkins (Warrior), Lt. Commander Dudefella (Mage), Dizdemona (Warlock) and Wyneth Harridan (Paladin).
Every World of Warcraft race and class is represented in this book, including the Draenei and the Blood Elves. Some of the cards portraying abilities, spells, items and weapons are shown in this book, such as bloodlust, charge, battle shout, fear, Sword of a Thousand Truths, Spectral Tiger, pick pocket, dampen magic, Noggenfoggen Elixir – among many others. If you can’t have enough after purchasing the World of Warcraft: Art of the Trading Card Game, you may be glad to know the jacket cover tags this book as Volume I, which may suggest there might be more volumes with new stunning artwork from the World of Warcraft TCG Series.
Whether you are a World of Warcraft TCG player, a Warcraft fan, or an artist yourself looking for inspiration and drawing/painting techniques from other fellow professional artists, this World of Warcraft: Art of the Trading Card Game is a must-have in your wishlist.
World of Warcraft®: The Art of the Trading Card Game
In January 2008, Upper Deck and Blizzard Entertainment® will release World of Warcraft®: The Art of the Trading Card Game, a new hardcover book featuring artwork created for the highly popular World of Warcraft Trading Card Game (TCG). Published by Chronicle Books, the 288-page, 11″x9” book will include more than 300 full-color iconic pieces of art featured during the first year of release of the World of Warcraft TCG.
World of Warcraf®: The Art of the Trading Card Game will include a collection of sketches, paintings and finished artwork highlighting a selection of World of Warcraft’s most valiant heroes, devasting spellcasters and bloodthirsty creatures created by some of today’s top fantasy artists. These artists include Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Greg Staples (Judge Dredd), Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai (InQuest Gamer magazine’s “Artists of the Year” recipients), Marcelo Vignali (Disney Animation), and Todd Lockwood (Forgotten Realms), among others.
Insightful forewords are given by Blizzard’s Senior Art Director, Samwise Didier, and Art Lead Glenn Rane. Jeremy Cranford, Art Acquisitions Manager for Upper Deck Entertainment, provides the book’s introduction.
$40.00 – Save $10
CARD TITLE INDEX
Aegis of the Blood God
Aldori Legacy Defender
Ancient Core Hound
Aspect of the Hawk
Aspect of the Viper
Bad Mojo Mask
Call of the Wild
Faith Healer’s Boots
Girdle of Uther
Golemagg the Incinerator
Gurubashi Dwarf Destroyer
The Hammer of Grace
Obsidian Edged Blade
Panax the Unstable
The Perfect Stout
Phadalus the Enlightened
Prayer of Healing