Overwatch has inspired scads of beautiful fanart by talented artists, but one set has continually stood out to me above the rest. Elapuse has created a series of posters entitled “Reach For the Sky”, with each poster aiming to capture the character in a very cinematic way. I had the chance to speak to Elapuse about the series and their interest in Overwatch.
“I’m currently studying illustrative art and comics in Japan and love making fanart in the Overwatch fandom.” says Elapuse. “I was drawn to Overwatch around March 2016, where I was shown gifs of Zarya and Reaper’s designs, and was attracted to those distinct characters immediately.”
Elapuse’s work is notable for going with more abstract, minimalist ways to depict a character. Most of the characters do not have their faces depicted - a silhouette frames them in a defining activity. It’s extremely evocative and humanizing, yet portrays the character from a distance.
“I’m very inspired by Overwatch’s in-game sprays and the artworks of Kevin Dart.” Elapuse explains. “Ever since I ran into his posters for Interstellar, I’ve always strived for a more minimalism style, using simple shapes and colors to form concepts and scene ideas.”
Overwatch fanart often depicts characters in moments outside of the battle, bringing them closer to reality. Elapuse, by contrast, celebrates their heroic moments by often depicting them in dynamic scenes. Sometimes this is a crowded concert, other times its battle against omnics. Each poster is deeply personal, portraying scenes from that character’s past.
Part of the reason Elapuse found themselves interested in Overwatch is the varied cast. “The feeling that it’s a game with various types of female roles really made it into my comfort zone, and the game itself is just fun to play. I’ve tried some single or multiplayer FPS games before, but never had as much fun as I did in Overwatch. I have two accounts, each for gaming in and outside China, and my game time adds up to about roughly 210 hours.”
Of course, now Elapuse is mostly focused on art over gaming. “The reason I engaged with characters [in Overwatch] is because that’s mainly how we connect with a game nowadays. Stories, plot lines, lore creates a character, and consumers choose to connect with the part of this artificial world by choosing which character to connect with. A fan would never get enough content added to this character’s backstory, ideals, whereabouts and so on. And every character in OVW is so full of content that it’s hard to ignore anyone.”
Elapuse’s work captures wonderfully plausible “what if”s that seem in character for each hero. Mercy and Mei are in action, trying to save the world—or at least what part of it they can—Roadhog and Junkrat barrel down the wasteland, Ana and Widowmaker take aim while dealing with part of their past, and Soldier 76 and Reaper are both haunted by quiet moments, their silhouette weighed down by regrets and unknowns.
Elapuse worked with the silhouettes and styles that Blizzard has established. “I wondered over what exactly made a character visually distinguished. Taken into consideration that Overwatch is a FPS game, it would require the characters to be easily identified in a distance and in all render qualities.”
By figuring out a character’s shape, and understanding their character, Elapuse is able to create these cinematic-style posters.
You can find Elapuse on
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