The Freelance Artists Behind Overwatch Events

Featured image credit to Nesskain

Whenever a new Overwatch event rolls around, it’s like I’m a small kid again. The event could be as large-scale as a new game mode, or as simple as a hashtag event on Twitter, and I would still fall for it – hook, line, and sinker. Blizzard imbues a certain magic into their marketing for this IP, and after following it for almost 2 years now, I’ve realised this is something they don’t do alone.

For every single event, the people at Blizzard reach out to artists to help create exclusive artwork including sprays, player icons, Twitter posts, comics and animations. Quite a few of these artists began as fans of the IP, before being called on to create legitimate artwork for the game itself! Not only do I love the appreciation they show towards their community, I also love seeing the artists I already follow get noticed and rewarded for their work.

One of my favourite examples is Nesskain, a wildly talented artist who’s worked on over 50 pieces of art for Overwatch since its launch. He’s the name behind some of the most iconic pieces in the game, including the recent Retribution epilogue animation, Brigitte’s origin story animation, Moira’s origin story animation, and the Uprising prologue animation.

Image source: https://nesskain.deviantart.com/art/Overwatch-Uprising-shot-4-674325354

Image source: https://nesskain.deviantart.com/art/OW-Brigitte-Lindholm-733906131

Besides Nesskain, Blizzard also has long-term relationships with many of these artists, bringing them back to create artwork of similar natures. For Nesskain that has mainly been origin story animations, whereas for artists like Gray Shuko, they’ve been put on comic book duty.

For those who don’t know, Overwatch also publishes short comics centering around different characters to expand on their lore. Usually its release is linked to an in-game event or a big announcement at a convention, but otherwise they’re posted up randomly. Gray Shuko is the artist behind a few of these comics, including Going Legit, Junkenstein, Uprising, The Return of Junkenstein, and Retribution.

Image source: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/q6ndD

Image source: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/L80zk

Besides that, artists like onemegawatt and tinysnails are brought on for other kinds of projects. onemegawatt gained recognition during one of the first Overwatch Twitter events; all you had to do was retweet or reply to Overwatch Twitter’s Halloween tweet with the hashtag #HalloweenTerror and receive either a trick or a treat in return. All the “treats” were designed after heroes in the game, while the “tricks” were based off the “villains” in the Junkenstein PvE game mode.

On the other hand, tinysnails is a recent addition to the roster. She designed a series of the most adorable sprays for Overwatch as part of their recent wave of cosmetic items. She created one spray for each hero, all based on fan-favourite skins both old and new, including Sombra’s Christmas event skin, Genji’s Blackwatch skin, and Mercy’s Summer Games skin!

Oh no, you got tricked! Image source: https://twitter.com/PlayOverwatch/status/793242547229302784

Now that I’ve introduced you to some of them, I suggest you go and look for more yourself! So much of Overwatch’s artwork are created by freelance artists, you might surprised to find out just how much! Without doubt, this will only continue down the line. I’m personally excited to see what else they have in store for us!

Artwork from the following artists were used in this article. Please check out their other work as well!
Nesskain //  Gray Shuko // onemegawatt // tinysnails
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