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BlizzCraftsApr 29, 2015 7:00 pm CT

BlizzCrafts: Badge Babes turn your characters into art

Creating art based on game characters is nothing new, but the particular trend of making BlizzCon badge art may seem a bit unusual if you’ve never made it out to the convention yourself. For real world meetups like BlizzCon, it can be hard to recognize your in-game companions — none of whom have names hovering over their heads. Though character names are written out on badges, many attendees supplement them with art of their own characters, designed to clip on to a lanyard alongside their BlizzCon badge.

This year the Badge Babes, a collective of artists, have grouped together to create badge art (and lanyards to hang your badge art on). Though some of them are booked solid making badges, if you’re looking for a custom work of art to carry with you to BlizzCon — or just because — many are still taking orders and others may open orders again once the first batch is finished. In short: it’s not too late to get your art on!

With the popularity of the Badge Babes, we were curious about just how and why this group makes custom character art, so we caught up with them to ask a few questions. Find our interviews with Ammosart, Avaltor, Cadistra, Faebelina, Frankie D, Frenone, Fyreuni, Ketsuki, and Zoezazu below.

blizzcrafts ammosart khadgar


Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

This is my first year of making actual badges, but I’ve done Warcraft-related commissions in the past. I enjoy seeing people excited to have their characters shown off in a unique way. Creating something that someone can point to and say “this is me, that’s my character!” is very rewarding, and I love that.

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

One of the first things I do is ask what sort of mood a person’s character is in, their general disposition or whatnot. From there I look at their armory link or any screenshots they’ve sent me. I try to style them similar to their in-game models, unless otherwise noted. Then I just crank up the mood and add some fun into the picture!

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life? 

Drawing someone else’s character is very challenging because what you draw may not be “right” to them. It’s not just a matter of getting the armor to look correct, the character’s attitude and tone need to fit and be reflected properly.

How long does it take you to make a character image?

For badge art (or other bust-style images), it takes usually about two days for the drawing, depending on the complexity of the character and armor.

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?

As for favorite art, it tends to be the latest picture I’ve finished. Recently I’m especially proud of my Highmaul boss artwork for Ask Mr. Robot’s combat infographics (see part 1 and part 2). It was a challenge to make all those monsters fun, and each one was exciting to do.

Find Ammosart on Badge Babes, Twitter, or her website.

blizzcrafts avaltor deathknights


Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

I wanted to make badge art because I thought it would be great to do something I love to do and make bit of extra money so I can achieve some of my goals in life. My favorite part of doing character art is to see people’s reaction to my work. It makes me feel happy to make someone else happy.

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

I like to have many reference points to work from. It helps me imagine how their character would look in my style of drawing and then I work on sketch of it. After I finished getting the sketch approved, I would go to inking phrase, adding details as I go. Final part of it would be adding colors and shadows. (Sometimes adding glows to weapons and such!) So it is long process to me.

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life?

Yes, It can be challenging sometimes. For example, if there’s a race I hadn’t drawn very much and I was commissioned it — I would practice rough sketches of the said raid to get feel of it before going to do actually character. So I tend to bring full effort on my new commissions of a race I hadn’t tried to draw.

How long does it take you to make a character image?

It depends. I’m bit picky on myself. I tend to redraw a character multiple times before I decide that it looks “right” for the badge. Sometimes I get lucky with one sketch or two!

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?

This one (I can do other art not just badges). It was fun to try draw mix of two things: World of Warcraft with client’s favorite animal, moose. He had very specific request that they be the Death Knights from WoW!

Find Avaltor on Badge Babes, Deviant Art, Twitch.

blizzcrafts cadistra


Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

Badge art is fun, challenging, and creative! I personally love drawing characters, and, well, the more you practice, the better you get! It’s easy to just draw the same things you like, but when other people come to you with directions, it’s good training.

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

Personality is really important to me. Someone’s general demeanor and attitude will speak volumes about their expression and body language. Are they loose, open, and relaxed? Or scowling with their arms crossed? Body language is vital to good characterization, and I need to know that first-off. Then comes throwing in rough shapes/posing, flesh that out, throw a new layer on top, and ink. I color under my ink layer, then put in highlights/shadows with Linear Dodge(Add)/Multiply layers.

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life?

Always! I think it was well put when the dev team was doing the new models — “Everyone has an idea in their head of what their character looks like.” Art is all about interpretation  how I see someone’s character could be vastly different than how others see their own. When I draw Cadistra, I know her history, her moods, personality — all of that. I only have what someone puts on the order form for someone else’s. The challenge is great, though!

How long does it take you to make a character image?
A badge is about…probably 5-6 hours from rough sketch to final color. It could take a bit longer if there’s something like a mount/pet, or colour FX.

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I did a painting of a friends’ female tauren warrior for a Christmas present, and I like how that one turned out! We’re our own worst critics, honestly.

Find Cadistra on Badge Babes, Twitch, or read the WoW Eh? comic.

blizzcrafts faebelina


Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

All art commissions are fun but there’s something particularly exciting about badges. I think it’s the combination of adding a name, which makes it more personal, and the fact that so much emphasis is put on the face and expression!

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

I create a sketch first and really focus on the emotion in the face. Then I line the piece making sure to fine-tune everything I had created in the sketch. Once the lineart is done I decide on light sources and get to painting the base colors, shadows, and highlights! I put in a dash of love for good measure.

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life?
Actually it’s the other way around! I have a more difficult time drawing my own characters. I get really into the stories of others’ characters and it helps it to flow more easily than my own.

How long does it take you to make a character image?

It varies greatly by complexity. Some pieces I can sit down and finish in a few hours, others can take me days of work!

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?

This one (above) has to be my favorite because it’s one of my all-time favorite gear sets and one of my favorite weapons together!

Find Faebelina on Badge Babes, Deviant Art, Twitch.


Fyreuni blizzcrafts fyreuni

Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

Badge art is something unique in the sense that it’s a piece of art that people wear and display proudly, and it means something to that person on a deeper level. A lot of people have been playing WoW for years, and have a connection to their character as a result, and its neat to be able to display that at a convention. Being a part of that is special. Bringing to life someone’s character for them in a form that they wear around their neck is really rewarding to me.

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

It all starts with the description that I’m given when someone orders a badge! The more descriptive they are, the easier it is to get a better picture of who this character is. Then I honestly take a day or two and just think about it. I mull ideas out in my brain until I get a good picture of what I want to do. I feel like that step is the most important part in my process, just taking the time to think and plan what I want to do. After that I sketch it out, inks and colors!

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life?

It is in the sense that I have more of a desire to please others than I do myself. I really want to get someone’s peice as perfect as I can so I stress over the little details, and I always feel like it’s never good enough for someone else. I can easily say to myself “oh I like this, this is fine” when I’m working on my personal stuff, but when it’s for someone else, I never feel like it’s good enough. It’s really hard to push through sometimes.

How long does it take you to make a character image?

It probably takes me between 5-7 hours to do a badge from start to finish. It all depends on how detailed I make it. I have it drilled into me with my animation background to do things as efficiently as possible, because there are deadlines to meet, so I try to be as quick as possible. It’s also why my art program of choice is Flash. I’m a lot quicker in it than I am in Photoshop.

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?

Its hard to say. A have a few favorites for various reasons, but if I had to pick one, I think it would be “Together, At Last” which is a piece I did after my husband and I got married. We met playing WoW, and he’s been my support for a very long time. As he’s American, and I’m Canadian, we had to jump through a lot of hoops to be together, and we waited an awfully long time to make this happen, so it was really exciting when we finally were married.

Find Fyreuni on Badge Babes or read the Daily Quest comic.

blizzcrafts frankie d

Frankie D

Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

Character portraits have always been a favorite of mine to create and with events such as BlizzCon, where you meet so many people that may only know you by your in-game name, it seemed like such a great opportunity to put the two together.

My favorite part would have to be bringing the characters that myself and others hold so dear to life. Being able to bring out the attitude of the characters themselves that you don’t always get to see with the in-game character models is a reward and a challenge.

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

The most important act for me when creating art of someone else’s character is trying to step inside their character’s shoes. Learning about their back story is not only interesting to myself but it helps me to integrate that personal touch into their badge.

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life?

Absolutely. So many people spend so much time with their own characters building up a back story, role playing them and getting to know them inside and out. Being trusted to portray these personalities is an honor but is definitely a challenge. I hope to bring each character to life to the best of my abilities just as I would my own.

How long does it take you to make a character image?

Typically, it can range anywhere from 5-7 days per image. But it can take longer if there are a lot of intricate details within the character, their armor, or the custom frame that I offer.

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?

I’d have to say that my favorite piece would be my boomkin. I love drawing druid-y things and despite their lack of character model updates, the moonkin form is still one of my favorite things in the game.

Find Frankie D on Badge Babes, Twitter, and her website.

blizzcrafts frenone


Why make badge art?

When I posted some of my Blizzard fanart to Twitter last year, people started requesting custom con badges. I didn’t have the time to draw more than a couple before BlizzCon, but having found a purpose for something I already enjoyed doing made me wanna create more badges this year!

What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

Customizing player characters to make them more unique. I love it when players request to have their character art personalized — some describe their character’s personality with a lot of detail and that makes it even more fun. I really enjoy the interaction with each client to bring their character to life. Some examples this badge season include a Canadian Raynor, a cute fire kitty, a sassy gnome, a gore-covered angry orc, and a blood elf in Tracer outfit.

About the process
The process of creating character art is like any other drawing, except the client provides the references. I start with sketching and refining until the client is happy with how it looks. After the linework is finished, I’ll put in flat colors, shadows, highlights and details such as sparkles or glowy spell effects. If you’re interested in learning more about the process, I’ll be streaming the making of badge art daily on Twitch!

Is it a challenge to bring others’ characters to life?

It’s definitely easier when I have multiple references — not just screenshots and images, but background stories as well, especially for RP characters. I’ve been playing WoW since WotLK and I’ve read all the comics and novels, so I know the lore, the environments, and what makes every class and race unique. I’ve played all Blizzard games to some extent, but it would require more research to draw a believable character from games I don’t play.

How long does it take you to make a character image?

Painting a character bust or headshot takes between 6-10 hours on average. I try to finish 2 to 3 badges per week.

Favorite piece of art I’ve done…
The draenei Lich Queen I finished last month for my boyfriend’s birthday is one of my favorites. I used this art for one of my test badges with the Death Knight frame as well.

Find Frenone on Badge Babes, Deviant ArtTwitter, Twitch.

blizzcrafts ketsuki


How did you get started making chainmaille?

I’ve always been interested in chainmaille and blacksmith crafting. It was just something I always thought was neat! I always wanted to have a hobby and I wasn’t good at sewing or drawing. I also wanted a hobby I could do at my computer, something that I needed little space to do.

I remembered seeing some armor made from scales and started to look into it more. I knew I wouldn’t be able to start off with any of the advanced stuff but I bought a book and watched a few how to videos online. Then I bought $50 worth of materials to start off with and it just sorta stuck! I am still extremely new to this having only been doing it for a year and two months! But I still love it.

I hadn’t considered there being different patterns to chainmaille — what’s the difference between your different styles?

The amount of styles/patterns in chainmaille is staggering — easily over a thousand. The patterns I use are for bracelets and lanyards. I try to take a few things into account. Do I have the sizes of rings to make that pattern? How appealing would that pattern be as a bracelet? Would that pattern be sturdy enough for a lanyard? I try to think of all these things which leads to the styles I use. Twitter helps me a lot as well. If I make a new pattern and post it on there, I count on peoples reaction if I should work with it more or if its a flop. It’s also really fun to see how many different people prefer many different styles!

Why make badge lanyards? 

It was just an idea that came to mind in passing. During the middle of badge season last year (2014) when everyone was drawing awesome badges and I sat there watching streams I thought if there was ever a way I could do something that cool and help contribute. So I made a lanyard for @Glaragon just as an experiment and I personally thought it came out pretty nice. I took a picture, posted it on Twitter just to show to him and it kind of just blew up! I got a ton of praise and everyone seemed to really like it!

I got a few requests because of that picture and I never though I would make more than that single one. But the feedback was just so overwhelming it was just something I couldn’t ignore! So a month later I opened up for requests at 2 lanyards at a time. I ended up making about 12, including one for the super awesome @TerranGregory and @LanceBlizzGamer! Just knowing my work was walking around in Blizzard buildings made me so extremely honored!

How long does it take to make a lanyard?

It really depends on the style/pattern and complexity of the lanyard. The ever popular captured lanyards take the least amount of time, about 4-6 hours. The more complex lanyards such as the box chain can take up to 12-14 hours! I am pretty lucky I don’t get too many of those ordered. I try not to sit and finish it in one fell swoop. My hands start to cramp up a bit after fiddling with the small rings over a long period of time. I give myself a break after every hour and a half, I try to get up, stretch, let my hands rest, grab a coffee or a snack, etc.,

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve made?

I honestly like all my pieces. If I made something I didn’t like I wouldn’t sell it unless the buyer truly loved it. I take a lot of pride in each of my pieces. BUT! If I had to choose one piece that I hold dear it would have to be the necklace I made for @Noxychu. I will never forget this piece, it was one that tested me greatly. It was about 5 feet of chainmaille (I am 5’2″ just to put this into perspective) that took me almost a week and half of working on it every day. It was a rope-length necklace that could be doubled over to turn into a choker and princess length. Did I also mention it was a rainbow? Of course it’s a rainbow! What more to match her colorful personality! Here’s a picture of me wearing it the minute I finished making it.

Find Ketsuki on Badge Babes, Etsy.

blizzcrafts zoezazu


Why make badge art? What’s your favorite part of doing character art like this?

Badge art for me, is an amazing mobile way for people to show off their in-game personalities and share their adoration and commitment to this character with the rest of the community. I have been drawing since the age of three, with comics and cartoons being my main focus for inspiration. When I started playing World of Warcraft, I immediately started drawing my main Zoezazu, which is still my main 8 years later, lol. I loved bringing her to life in my drawings and doodles, and it wasnt until I saw Noxychu’s streams that I realized how much everyone else loved this as well.

Last year for BlizzCon was the first year I had attempted to do any badges and mostly did them for my raid team, Convert to Raid’s The Asparagus Initiative. Seeing how excited they each were when I gave them their badges and how much they loved seeing a representation of their characters really made it click into place. I so enjoy seeing peoples love for this game and for the characters in the Blizzard Universe. If I can be a small part of helping them celebrate this, then that means everything to me!

What’s the process of creating art of someone’s character?

We have a series of questions built into the order forms at Badge Babes, but I like to see what specific the person wants to make it unique to them. Whether it be a goofy face, a special effect, or even a favorite pet. All of these go into making a customized piece of art for the customer. Once I get all of that information, I like to do all my initial sketches by hand with pencil on paper. All of these I store in a folder to keep for my own collection. When the initial sketch is complete I share that with the client for approval. If all is a go, I then begin the line work, color, and detailing. The completed image will then be set in the frame of their choice, laminated, and mailed out with their free gift!

Is it challenging to bring others’ characters to life?

Honestly I really haven’t found it challenging at all. I think because I truly understand the love people have for their characters, and I really love the designs of all of the races. Playing mostly Alliance my whole career, that is what I have the most practice drawing. The Horde on the other hand have such an amazing look to them and their races have so much more character! I would really welcome the challenge of being able to do more of these amazing characters and bring them to life. I want my clients to be as excited about this representation of their alter egos as I am when drawing them. :)

How long does it take you to make a character image?

The whole process generally takes me start to finish depending on the complexity between 2-3 days.

What’s your favorite piece of art you’ve done?

My husband Hanzimare is yelling in the background for me to say his badge from last year LOL. Honestly there are three pieces that I am really pretty proud of. The first one is my Sylvanas Ranger Print with the Heroes of the Storm skin. She is one of my favorite characters in Warcraft lore and I really loved being able to do that piece. Second would be the Overwatch Widowmaker print. I really love the lighting and just overall style of that one. Lastly is one that I did as just a quick little sketch. Someone asked which of us Badge Babes did Taurens the best last week, and I got to thinking. I had never really ever drawn a Tauren, so I just gave it a go! Turns out I LOVE TAUREN CHICKS! I had the most fun drawing that little Tauren Shaman and think she turned out beautiful!

Find Zoezazu on Badge Babes, Deviant Art.

That’s all for BlizzCrafts this week — but check back next week for another selection of cool Blizzard crafts! Have Blizzard arts and crafts of your own you’d like to see on Blizzard Watch? Send them our way! Submissions and suggestions should be sent to liz at blizzardwatch dot com.

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