This month, Blizzard Entertainment and publisher Insight Editions will release The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, a 376-page art book that includes more than 700 illustrations curated from Blizzard's nearly 20-year history.
Dozens of illustrations, paintings and sculpture pieces from Blizzard's universes are currently on display at Gallery Nucleus, showing the developer's visual evolution. Blizzard artists, including longtime illustrator, concept artist and now senior vice president of story and franchise development Chris Metzen, were in attendance to sign the new book and take part in painting demos.
Speaking with Metzen, an artist who helped shape the worlds of Warcraft and StarCraft, said The Art of Blizzard Entertainment "encapsulates the vibe and history" of the developer, showcasing the "common language" of fantasy art formative of Blizzard's earliest days.
- Colorful StarCraft concept art adorns the walls of Gallery Nucleus.
- The Diablo 3 "Overthrown" statue from Sideshow Collectibles looks out upon Blizzard's 2D art.
- Diablo 2 concept art reflects a nearly empty gallery on opening night.
- The Warcraft universe is widely represented across its many games.
- Concept pieces from StarCraft and Diablo share a wall at Gallery Nucleus.
- Diablo and Warcraft statues and props sit under glass cases.
- Sideshow's World of Warcraft Blood Elf Rogue versus Draenei Paladin diorama.
- Blizzard artists patiently signing dozens of copies of The Art of Blizzard Entertainment.
- Blizzard fans waited in line for hours for a first crack at signed copies of The Art of Blizzard Entertainment.
- A fan proudly shows off his signed copy of the art book.
- Mana and health potions, stim pack shots and minerals (rock candy) waiting to fill Blizzard fans with fructose.
- The Butcher looking for fresh meat at Gallery Nucleus.
- Memorable catchphrases from Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft were stenciled upon the gallery's walls.
- Fans admire the concept art of Diablo games.
- Fans contemplate their print purchases: The Queen of Blades or Diablo?
- Fans waiting in line for autographs pass the time admiring World of Warcraft artwork.
- Cosplayer Jo-Jo Chen, a BlizzCon 2011 Costume Contest winner, wearing a StarCraft Ghost-inspired latex dress.
- Ms. Chen in her custom StarCraft latex dress, designed by Venus Prototype Latex.
- Blizzard's Chris Metzen being interviewed during opening night.
- Fans, some in Blood Elf ears, waited for hours in long lines on a chilly Alhambra night.
"We've been wanting to do a book like this for years," Metzen told Polygon. "Our art is so important to us; illustration is such a core building block to how the games come about and how we conceptualize the game worlds, but also how we express ourselves to each other.
"When we look through it, it says so much more than what these ideas express, it's us expressing ourselves over time."
Metzen says the book was not a commercial undertaking, but designed "for us to have that perspective and appreciation for that art and where we've come from."
"For us it's kind of like a time capsule and the emotionality embedded in that time capsule is very distinct," he told Polygon.
For a look at the opening reception and the installation at Gallery Nucleus, take a peek at the gallery above. The Art of Blizzard Entertainment exhibition will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 3 at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, Calif. The $74.95 art book will be released widely later this month.