World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card - Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

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.



JACKET DESIGN COVER

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.
AND YOU ARE IN IT.

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.


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BOOK CONTENT

6 Foreword: Samwise
8 Foreword: Glenn Rane
10 Introduction: Jeremy Cranford

12 The Alliance
96 The Horde

204 Monsters & Locations

286 Acknowledgements
287 Artist Index
288 Card Title Index

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:

Card Name
Graccus
Azeroth 4/361

Artist
Douglas Alexander

Medium Used
Digital

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.

For more information on World of Warcraft TCG Products, log on to www.wowtcg.com or www.upperdeckstore.com


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CARD TITLE INDEX

Abyssal
Acolyte Demia
Aegis of the Blood God
Aldori Legacy Defender
Aleyah Dawnborn
Anchorite Kalinna
Ancient Core Hound
Anger Management
Angrida
Araelun
Arcane Blast
Arcane Power
Aspect of the Hawk
Aspect of the Viper
Avanthera

Bad Mojo Mask
Baron Geddon
Battle of Darrowshire
Battle Shout
Bellowing Roar
Benethor Draigo
Berserker Rage
Big Game Hunter
Blade Flurry
Blistering Fire
Blood Guard Mal’wani
Bloodlust
Bloodrage
Bluffwatchers
Boat to Booty Bay
Borlis Brode
Bulkas Wildhorn

Call of the Wild
Cannibalize
Challenging Shout
Charge
Chen Stormstrout
“Chipper” Ironbane
Chromatic Cloak
Chromie

Claw
Cleave
Commanding Shout
Core Hound Tooth
Corki’s Ransom
Crown of Destruction
Crush
Crushing Blow

Dampen Magic
Daspien Bladedancer
Deacon Johanna
Deadly Brew
Demoralizing Shout
Destiny
Diplomacy
Divine Shield
Dizdemona
A Donation of Silk
Doomguard
Dragon Hide
Drusenna the Vigilant
Dual Wield
Durdin Hammerhand
Dwarven Hand Cannon

Earth Shock
Elendril
Erytheis
Eskhandar’s Right Claw
Execute
Expose Armor
Eye of Kilrogg
Eye of Rend
Ez’trin

Faith Healer’s Boots
Fang of the Crystal Spider
The Fare of Lar’korwi
Fear
Field Commander Olinnae
Fillet Kneecapper Extraordinaire
Finkle Einhorn
Fire Elemental Totem
Firelord
Firesworn
Fizzle
Flames of the Incinerator
Flametongue Weapon
Flaming Assault
Flight Form
Foolish Mortals
Forbidden Knowledge
Force of Nature
Fortune Telling
Frost Shock
Frost Trap
Fury
Fury of the Firelord

Garr
Gehennas
Girdle of Uther
Goldenmoon
Golemagg the Incinerator
Graccus
Greefer
Grennan Stormspeaker
Grumpherys
Gurubashi Dwarf Destroyer
Gustaf Trueshot

The Hammer of Grace
Hammer of Ragnaros
The Haunted Mills
Hellfire Channeler
Hellreaver
Helw
en
Herod’s Shoulder
He Who Has No Life
Hidden Enemies
High Overlord Saurfang
Hotter Than Goo
Hur Shieldsmasher

Immolate
Indalamar
Infernal
Innervate
Inspire
Inventor’s Focal Sword

Jackknife
Jazmin Bloodlove
Jin’do’s Bag of Whammies

Jon Reaver

Kaal Soulreaper
Kailis Truearc
Kallipssa
Kana Nassis
Katsin Bloodoath
Kavai the Wanderer
Killing Spree
King Magni Bronzebeard
King Mukla
Kor Cindervein
Kralnor
Kulan Earthguard
Kulvo Jadefist

Landro Longshot
Last Stand
Latro Abiectus
Lava Spit
Lava Splash
Leeroy Jenkins
Legplates of Wrath
Lt. Commander Dudefella
Lobotomize
The Lobotomizer
Lokholar the Ice Lord
The Love Potion
Lucifron

Magma Blast
Magmadar
Magtheridon
Magtheridon’s Rage
Malfunction
Manhunt
Manticron Cube
Mazar
Meekway Humzinger
Mind Soothe
Mind Spike
Mind Vision
Moala Stonebinder
Mojo Mender Ja’nah
Molten Armor
Molten Giants
Mordotz
Morova of the Sands

Najan Spiritbinder
Nalkas
Nathressa Darkstrider
Nalkas
Nesmend Darkbreaker
Nightfire
Noggenfogger Elixir
Nyn’jah

Obsidian Edged Blade
Omendus the Punisher
One-Thousand-Battles
Onyxia
Orgrimmar Grunts
Ornate Adamantium Breastplate
Outrider Zarg
Overseer Oilfist
Ozzati

Pagatha Soulbinder
Panax the Unstable
Parren Shadowshot
Parvink
Penelope’s Rose
The Perfect Stout
Phadalus the Enlightened
Pick Pocket
Pithran Mithrilshot
Plagueborn Meatwall
Poison Water
Prayer of Healing
Predatory Gloves

Ra’chee
Radak Doombringer
Ragnaros
Rampage
Raul “Fingers” Maldren
Reaver of the Infinites
The Relics of Wakening
Renew
Retribution Aura
Reverend Tobias
Rexxar

Sal Grimstalker
Savin Lightguard
Scimitar of the Nexus Stalker
Scorch
Scout Omerrta
Seal of the Crusader
Seva Shadowdancer
Shadowmistress Jezebel Hawke
Shadowstrike
Shawn of the Dead
Shred Soul
Silencing Shot
Sister Rot
Slam
Slice and Dice
Slow
Snarl Hellwind
Sneak
Sonic Spear
Sow Destruction
Spectral Tiger
Spellbreaker’s Buckler
Spellsteal
Spinal Reaper
Spirit Healer
Spiritual Attunement
Spirtual Healing
Spiritual Wrench
Stellaris
Stitches
Stone Guard Rashun
Sulfuron Harbinger
Sunder Armor
Sus’vayin
Sword of a Thousand Truths

Tail Swipe
Tanwa the Marksman
Taz’dingo
Teebu’s Blazing Longsword
Telrander
Tempest, Son-of-Storms
Terrifying Presence
Test of Faith
Timmo Shadestep
Tinkmaster Overspark
Tiril Dawnrider
Totem of Coo
Touch of Chaos
Travel Form
Tristan Rapidstrike
Tyrus Sheynathren

Ubel Sternbrow
Undaunted Defense

Valanos
Valthak Spiritdrinker
Victoria Jaton
Vigilance
Vindicator Enkallus

Wanted: “Hogger”
Warmaster Hork
Warrax
When Smokey Sings, I get Violent
Windfury Totem
Windseer Tarus
Wrath
Wrath of Ragnaros
Wyneth Harridan

Yanna Dai’shalan

Zalazane
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds
Zomm Hopeslayer
Zygore Bladebreaker
Zy’lah Manslayer

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