May you have prosperity during the most festive time of year: Overwatch Lunar New Year! In the days leading up to the event, six different community artists brought the new Year of the Pig skin concepts to life, each in their own unique way.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LÜ BU REAPER – Illustrated by Ethan墨画
HUANG ZHONG HANZO – Illustrated by 茗莎社-胡雪朗
GUAN YU REINHARDT – Illustrated by A-KA
ZHANG FEI TORBJÖRN – Illustrated by Matt Hubel
ZHUGE LIANG ZENYATTA – Illustrated by Kaoruru
HONG GILDONG TRACER – Illustrated by Uguubear
A game art veteran, Ethan墨画 began his career as an oil painting major and worked in the game industry for about 10 years. During his time in the industry, he studied Chinese traditional painting as a hobby, which he merged with the western painting techniques he’d been employing in his work. The painter was struck by the powerful design of the Lü Bu Reaper skin. “Creating a piece inspired by an Overwatch skin is a challenge to me,” Ethan墨画 said. “Combining the Overwatch style and my style led to a very interesting result.”
Ethan墨画 credits his social media following to the medium he works in. “Video content is popular in China now. It is also attractive for me and my art work. The unpredictable nature of Chinese calligraphy brush pen strokes is what I want most to share with my audience.”
Ethan墨画 finds much beauty in the skin, but also in the game itself. “Overwatch is a peak work of art to me as a former game developer. I am hardcore Blizzard fan.”
To see more art by Ethan墨画, you can follow him on Weibo.
茗莎社-胡雪朗 first started playing Blizzard games 22 years ago and have been a fixture of his life ever since. Today, he works as a sand painting artist and was thrilled to have the opportunity to create a sand painting to introduce Hanzo’s Huang Zhong skin.
“Overwatch Lunar New Year skins are epic,” 茗莎社-胡雪朗 said. “The Westward Journey theme for last year was awesome, and the Three Kingdoms theme for this year is even better. Hopefully Blizzard will continue to introduce more real Chinese elements into the game.”
Not just a static image, the sand painting video 茗莎社-胡雪朗 created shows an animation of Huang Zhong Hanzo in action. “The process of sand painting is interesting for audiences to watch. In order to show more content in this short video, I used traditional frame animation to showcase my work.”
茗莎社-胡雪朗 says he admires Overwatch for the values he sees reflected in the game.
“For a 36-year-old ‘advanced age’ player, I care about the social responsibility and meaning of the game. I watched all of the Overwatch animated shorts many times. This world needs heroes. I wanted to be a hero when I was young, and I am my wife and my daughter’s hero now.”
To see more art by 茗莎社-胡雪朗, you can follow him on Weibo.
A freelance illustrator by trade, A-KA’s specialty is using warm color palettes to bring people to life. Guan Yu Reinhardt was a perfect fit for her style.
“To me, Guan is a figure of reassurance and guardianship, so it was no surprise when I found out that the Overwatch team designed this Reinhardt skin based on him,” said A-KA. “Reinhardt is always the vanguard of a squad, which is very fitting for our impression of Guan.” Along with her signature warm color palette, A-KA included a caption in their painting. “I love the idea of Reinhardt saying ‘Beard!’ out loud. Well, one of his in-game voice over lines is ‘Beer!’—that’s close enough, right?”
A-KA’s spends her time in Overwatch playing against A.I. with friends, and participating in brawls during seasonal events. “Overwatch is a good way for me to relieve pressure when I’m at my limit,” she said. “I love the heroes in Overwatch. Each one has his or her own charisma and in-depth backstory.”
Besides her love for Reinhardt, A-KA mentioned that there’s another hero she holds in the highest regard. “Sombra is my favorite, as she’s willing to do anything to achieve her goal. She's always helping those in need, like Robin Hood. From her, I learned that you can’t judge someone from the first impression!”
Matt Hubel, an independent artist based in Colorado, loves creating art that’s as meaningful to him as it is to his fans.
“With this piece, I’m really happy with the sense of motion I’ve created,” said Hubel. “Posing Torbjörn in a way that is dynamic is really difficult. He’s basically just a little ball with legs, so he doesn’t have a lot of long curves or angles to play with.”
Hubel says Overwatch has changed the way he sees character design. “Each character has such intentional design, and every decision tells a story about that character. I’m trying to think about story more and more as I design my own characters. Overwatch has some of the most fantastic design in games right now.”
Beyond its role in helping him learn about art and character design, Hubel also enjoys playing Overwatch. “On a fan level, I just love this game. It has something for every type of gamer, for all skill levels. I love the feeling of comradery that winning as a team can bring. I’m not going to get a ton of kills, but I know that if I play Rein or Mercy, I can really help my team. There are so many different ways to be an effective player and that’s what’s great.”
To see more of Matt Hubel’s art, you can follow him on Twitter.
Kaoruru’s style comes from a history of dabbling in many different approaches, from high-contrast, energetic anime to low-saturation and texture-focused art. Since this Zenyatta skin is presented in a Chinese style, Kaoruru added elements of Chinese brush painting into the piece. For Kaoruru, Zhuge Liang Zenyatta stands out thanks to the similarities with the historical figure this vision of Zenyatta was inspired by.
“Just like Zenyatta, Zhuge Liang is a figure of wisdom, so when I saw this skin, I immediately thought, ‘This skin is a natural fit for Zenyatta!,’” said Kaoruru. “Although both are lauded for their intelligence, there’s one thing about Zenyatta that contrasts with the historical scholar the skin is based off. Zenyatta hits hard and is pretty much a damage dealer with a support toolkit. The Zhuge Liang skin serves as a very good disguise for him, so watch out!”
Zenyatta is not alone in this painting; Baihu Genji also makes an appearance. “I love the Zenyatta-Genji mentorship relationship, and Genji has the Chinese-style Baihu skin. I think it’s fitting to include Baihu Genji with Zhuge Liang.”
Overwatch is the first shooter Kaoruru played seriously, and she now considers herself a support main. “It's so satisfying to provide sustainability and help my tank and damage teammates have a better game experience.”
A self-taught artist, Uguubear has experimented in different art styles ranging from anime to realism and everything in between. When we shared our concept art for Tracer with her, Uguubear was drawn to the skin’s color scheme.
“When I saw the Tracer skin, I immediately fell in love with the colors,” Uguubear said. “The boldness of the red, yellow, and blue in contrast with the intricate accents of silver and white were so complimentary that my eyes just darted around the design, wanting to absorb it as quickly as possible!”
Although she’s refined her technique through years of practice, her daring spirit still burns bright, and she’s never afraid to experiment with something totally new. “I really wanted to challenge myself with this piece, so I pushed out of my comfort zone and focused on creating an interactive scene. It was a risky move, but I am very pleased with the outcome.”
Uguubear is a proud Mercy main who enjoys the hero’s versatility. “That's what makes Overwatch so great; there's a role for everyone to fill and feel like a part of the team.”
To see more art by Uguubear, you can follow her on Twitter.
GOOD LUCK AND GREAT FORTUNE AWAIT
Seek out your fortune in-game and check out Lunar New Year now! Embrace prosperity now before it's too late—Year of the Pig hoofs it February 18.