Quel’Fabulous brings the fabulous to Warcraft and Heroes
If you haven’t met our favorite sassy blood elf, Quel’Fabulous, then it’s past time you were introduced. Quel makes fan art inspired by Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and, of course, Kael’thas himself. You can find Quel’s work on Twitter, Tumblr, Deviant Art, and cosplay projects on Facebook. Those links are all great if you’re looking to go through some appropriately fabulous artwork, but if you’re interested in learning about the person behind the virtual pen, read on. We caught up with Quel’Fabulous to ask about the how and why this art came into being.
What Blizzard games do you play, and as what? Your art definitely has a recent Heroes of the Storm focus…
I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since Wrath of the Lich King and I currently main as a Blood Elf Warrior. I have been mostly focused on Heroes of the Storm since its alpha release, and I tinker with Hearthstone here and there. In Heroes, I prefer playing heroes in the Assassin or Specialist roles, though I’m really enjoying specific Supports and Tanks as well. Heroes has been an inspiration for me illustratively, and a very enjoyable game to play.
Where did Quel’Fabulous come from? What role did Kael’thas play in inspiring him?
It’s no secret. I love the elves in the Warcraft universe — particularly, the High Elves and their successors, the Blood Elves. Quel’Fabulous is a pseudonym I created after one night of making a silly random machinima music video with my “Johnny Bravo-esque” Blood Elf Warrior. It was at the time, an adjective I used to describe the entire video: Highly Fabulous. I was out on the beaches of Quel’Danas and it seemed like an entirely appropriate time to RP walk to a Lady Gaga song. A few weeks later, I found myself tinkering again with machinima and made a second video with less beach and more glitz. Both were silly little experiments but they underscored everything I love about playing male Blood Elves.
As much as I enjoy the serious lore of Quel’Thalas, I’ve fully embraced the humor & criticism from the people who make fun of the blood elves as playable characters. Yes, they are super sparkly. Yes they totally have an anime feel. And yeah I’m pretty sure they fart rainbows too. But hey — I’m a fan of 80’s cartoons, drag shows, big hair, and unicorns so it’s a perfect fit for me. Kael’thas is my favorite Warcraft universe character and has been a another huge part of why I play a male Blood Elf in WoW. What I do in game and in life inspires me so it was only natural that my “Highly-Fabulous” warrior would come to represent my art.
How long have you been drawing? Do you have a background in the arts?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Art Education and I work as an in-house Graphic Designer for a publishing company. Outside of that, I’ve been making, performing, and drawing things since I can remember. Most of what I do with digital media is self-taught through participating in several art communities like Deviant Art and going to fan conventions. I like to take my knowledge in traditional media and push it through the digital platform. I branched into costume making through networking I’ve done at conventions. I absolutely love what cosplay and suiting has offered in terms of exhibition and live performance. I am very much into theater and collaborative performance so it was only a matter of time before I transformed my illustrations into wearable art. I hope to one day do this sort of thing full time — or to illustrate for a community. But for now, I continue my portfolio dailies.
Could you give us a step-by-step on what’s involved in doing one of your sketches? How long do they typically take?
I studied in traditional medias (watercolor/pencil/oil) long before branching into digital but I make it a point to bring as much from my traditional roots into my digital pieces as I can. I work using Adobe Photoshop CS6 with a Huion 610 Drawing Tablet. Time taken to do pieces varies by complexity but my process allows me to work quickly enough to complete a decent bust sketch within an hour.
A. I start out by blocking in the largest shapes first so I can make choices about the composition. I work the whole drawing at the same pace, not pushing one area further from the rest. This helps me work out mistakes in placement or proportions without losing too much progress on any given part and expedites my drawing process.
B. I clean up and refine where I want my edges to be.
C. On a new layer, I block in my highlights and shadows with just my brush and eraser. When I feel like I have a good handle on the values I want, I combine my line drawing with the highlights and shadows. I refine it further, transforming my lines to edges created by value. This becomes my tone-underpainting for which I build the rest of the color onto.
D. I do some adjustments with contrast and layer modes to finish the underpainting. I prefer high-contrasting values to build from.
E. I begin coloring using different layer modes on top of my underpainting. I usually work with a combination of Soft Light, Overlay, Multiply, and Color Burn.
F. Final Detailing — my favorite part of the piece is doing the fun painty Normal layers on top that help further the traditional media feel and clean up any messy bits left over.
I’ve noticed your Tumblr has some images of a Kael’thas cosplay that seems very much in the style of your drawings. What was it like turning a drawing into a 3d sculpture?
It was awesome and liberating. I don’t have to stick to any set rules or slave over making something realistic. Sculpture and drawing are very similar to me. The way I draw is much like sculpture where I treat the pencil as adding material and the eraser as taking material away. it involves a similar process of blocking in basic shapes and detailing at the end. Fun part is I can use my shapes.
What’s your Kael’thas cosplay is made out of and how long you’ve spent working on it so far?
The armature of the mask itself is built on sculpted upholstery foam, which is lined with lycra/spandex for comfort and moisture control. The eyes are made of sheet plastic and dress interfacing which is where the vision is. The skin is antron fleece (known as muppet fleece!) and the hair is a wig I styled myself from Arda Wigs. The hair is completely removable and attached to the head with rare earth magnets. The eyebrows which are made from National Fiber Technology fur fabric, are also removable for easy transport and maintenance. I anticipate making the shoulders with a combination of materials and various fabrics for the rest of the costume.
So far I’ve put at least three weeks into making the mask between work and other art projects. Maybe 50+ hours or so?
What’s been the most challenging part of making your Kael’thas costume so far?
I know the most difficult challenge with Kael’thas lies ahead with making his shoulders. But as of right now, designing the skin pattern to fit seamlessly was the most challenging part. This was my first time working with antron fleece so I also found myself learning and using the Henson Stitch as well. I’m used to working with fur fabrics which are much easier to hide seams with so this was a neat challenge.
Do you have a favorite of the pieces you’ve made?
What are you working on right now (or next)?
I have a piece featuring three Heroes known for their quotes about Justice in the works, and my HotS Deviant ART contest entry. I’m also working on a different Blizzard Fan art contest entry. This month, I will finish up a costume for a con in July and next month I hope to open for BlizzCon Badges!
That’s all for BlizzCrafts this week — but check back next week for another selection of cool Blizzard-themed 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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