Samwise Didier has been drawing art for games at Blizzard Entertainment for almost as long as there’s been a Blizzard Entertainment. If you’ve been gaming for long, you’ve seen one of his sketches or paintings, and you might even recognize his trademark swoosh of a cartoon signature with its oversized i-dot.
He’s created for nearly every Blizzard game: Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. His freelance work includes a pile of album art and a wide variety of side projects, including the top-secret first new project for former Blizzard VP Chris Metzen’s Warchief Gaming tabletop game studio.
This month Abrams Publishing released a gorgeous, oversized $50 color hardcover of his artwork: Brutal, the Art of Samwise. I caught up with him to talk about the methods behind his heavy-metal-inspired madness. This is part one of that interview.
Heather Newman: So you’re a crack-of-dawn kind of guy. How did you get started with the early schedule?
Samwise Didier: The way to get them on a morning schedule, and I highly recommend this, is to do a press tour over in Europe, and then just keep that schedule. I never adjusted back from a European press tour of StarCraft back in 2012 or whatever it was. So that’s how I stay to get up early.
Newman: What do those mornings look like?
Didier: I wake up usually between 5:00/5:30. I don’t turn my computer off from the night before, I have the piece of artwork that I was working on or the story that I’m writing right there. I don’t particularly do things like, I’m going to do some warm up sketches or I’m going to do this to wake up a little bit. Screw that, just get right to work. Just start drawing and your mind will wake up before your body does.
I’ve been doing it long enough now to where I’ve noticed that I’ve turned into my dad. My dad used to get up at like 3:30 every morning and feed the dogs and cats and all that stuff. And now I’m just turning into my old man.
Newman: You’ve used everything for your art — pencils, Post-its, paint. Where do you start now?
Didier: When it comes to work stuff, whether it’s personal or day job-related Blizzard stuff, it’s mostly on the computer. Now just sketching with pencil and sketch pad is just what I do for fun. If there’s a story I will sketch out things ahead of time. I’ll be working out what a costume looks like, or I’ll be working out the proportions of, if we have five characters standing next to each other, I want to build that sort of superhero team, you know, the short one, the tall one, the buff one, the smart one, the robot