The Fine Art of Fan Art: Thomas Karlsson, digital artist

The Fine Art of Fan Art: Thomas Karlsson, digital artist


My name is Thomas Karlsson I was born and raised in Sala,
northwest of Stockholm. Due to work, I eventually
ended up in Gothenburg where I work as a freelance
concept artist and illustrator. So, I started out as an Alliance player as most players did. A Human, of course questing through Elwynn Forest but at some point I made
the decision to go Horde and I never turned back. But I do miss tanking on
my Paladin sometimes. Previously, when I just
started playing the games I didn’t really think about
making it my career I was just thinking I was just blown away
by all the cool art in the games I’m not even sure I
considered the fact that someone actually created all
those cool things in the games. The first Blizzard game I played was actually Warcraft II. I didn’t actually speak
English very well at the time so I didn’t understand the lore very well but the best part of the box that I bought was actually the starter guide which had some really cool drawings by Samwise Didier and Chris Metzen in it. And those were kind of the things that sparked my interest in the fantasy genre. The style that Samwise brought forward with the cool Orcs with
the spiked shoulders was nothing that I had ever seen before. I would definetely consider
Samwise and Metzen to be two of my greatest inspirations when it come to my fantasy art and they have been a strong influence ever since the beginning of my career. All the years that I’ve spent
playing World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games as well have had an impact on
my art style, for sure. I used the things that I learned
from the Blizzard fan art shaped into my own kind of style, I think. Me and my girlfriend have been together for about twelve years now. She allows me to follow my dream so that’s why she is an inspiration to me. I think it’s really important
that your family and friends support your artwork with their understanding when it comes to the amount of time and dedication that it requires for you
to become a great artist. For this latest piece that I created I wanted to do something related to the new expansion, the Legion expansion. King Varian is a very cool character and he has like this raw energy about him and I really wanted to
capture that in an image. The piece usually starts
out looking very bland and I try to add all the fancy
lighting effects right at the end just so they don’t interfere with the actual shapes and construction
of the materials of the surfaces. Once I have nailed down the shapes of all the different pieces like the armor, the leather and the skin then I start putting in the light and putting depth and playing around
with saturation levels and light and just making the
image pop right at the end. So, the Varian piece took me roughly 21 hours, or so, to make. The most challenging part of this piece was probably Varian’s pose and to make him look interesting and to make it look like he was actually coming with speed from
the side of the image and make the impact really stand out. You have to be the judge
of how good it went.

100 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Fan Art: Thomas Karlsson, digital artist

  1. Thats why i will always love the game, it shaped its community so much and on so many more levels, way beyond the "simple" game

  2. Wish the in-game characters look this good, only wow environment is good the animations still suck and looks like school project.

  3. Basically blizz is saying that even if you're on this guy's level, you still can't work for us.
    Thanks for killing our dreams.

  4. Wow this is great idea for a video series! There is so much amazing blizzard fan art, this is going to be a great way to showcase some amazing artists!

  5. Love all the comments from Swedes about "yay sweden" and how great Sweden is. Honestly the closest you can get to being American without being American.

  6. I remember when I was a kid my dad would let me play as his human warrior and let me run around elwynn forest killing all the murlocs

  7. I live in Brazil and I love the art books of World of Warcraft. It is a pity that here is so expensive, otherwise I would have a whole library of these arts alone

  8. Wows art department never failed . Music and pictures are always 10/10. Warcraft 3 was one of my first pc games . And one thing that always sparked my imagination and drew my atention was pictures in loading screens and in score tab .

  9. I absolutely love the art and the story in WoW but what actually caught my attention in this video is the part where Thomas said that didnโ€™t speak English when he started playing and you can see now how well spoken he is. I can totally relate to that โ€œIโ€™m sure there are a lot of people like me out thereโ€. Thank you World of Warcraft for giving me the chance to meet some awesome people and help me learn a different language โค๏ธ

  10. Oh my goodness I'm so glad Blizzard is doing this! What a wonderful idea! Wonderful art dude absolutely striking silhouettes, comp and lighting!

  11. I wanted to learn more about what he does, see more of his incredible work, and why he does it, ended way too soon , left me wanting more. But that is your intent, correct? Leave them with wanting more, keep folks coming back with a smile on their face.
    Can't wait to see happens next!

  12. This resonates so much with me! My first computer game was WC2, and just like him I didn't know english at the time, but was blown away by the illustrations in the game manual. For many years I have idolized Metzen as an artist, and his illustrations from that time were one of my main sources of inspiration.

  13. It's not old it sucks, I loved the game a constantly get withdrawals to a game that's been milked to a pulp. It's not about the fan base its about the $

  14. Goodness I love WoW. 12 years strong, plus got the crest of Ironforge tattoo'd on my chest. This game is amazing and the community around it even more so.

  15. Why the hell this kind of inspirational things didn't came out when I was younger, when I got graduated from high school, at that time I didn't know this world of digital art and videogame industry, sometimes I feel it's too late, there are young people so talented, supported by their parents since they were children. To work at blizzard it's my dream but it looks almost impossible.

  16. OMG i wish i had his talent …,but i dont:(. come accross your vids because of blizz app front page and YOU ROCK DUDE!!!

  17. Wow, this is actually amazing. Truly epic! Dear Blizzard, please consider to let him make some of your art: like loading screens!

  18. I have so much appreciation for the fact that you guys recognize the amazing community artists out there , your awsome.

  19. Love your art, what is the equipment you are using to draw with? Sorry if I asked twice but I can't find my reply from this morning.

  20. Art and lore manuals as in Warcraft II were an inspiration for future Blizzard employees… and now they have disappeared, or only included in Collectors ๐Ÿ™

  21. As one who couldn't draw a decent stick figure using pen and paper I have always envied those who could do what this man is so great at doing. At least we who lack that artistic ability can admire the work of those who are.

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