Sam Wood is a prolific professional concept artist and illustrator with credits in franchises such as Warhammer Fantasy/40K, Magic: The Gathering, Marvel Comics, and Dungeons & Dragons. In the early 2000s, Sam contributed a number of marquee art pieces for the Warhammer 40K CCG.
I asked Sam to answer a few questions about his work on the 40K CCG, as well as his career and current projects. Read on!
What got you into illustration?
SW: Drawing has been my main passion since I was very young and the idea of making it a career was always under consideration. There was a brief time in college where I considered majoring in biology and perhaps going into biological illustration or paleo art, but the amount of statistics and organic chemistry involved in that degree quickly put me off! After a semester or two, I switched over to visual art and never looked back.
How did you get involved in the 40K CCG?
SW: When Sabertooth Games was getting started in the early 2000s I was still working at Wizards of the Coast as a concept artist on D&D and Magic: The Gathering. The Sabertooth offices were quite close by and a number of my friends and co-workers from WotC had ended up there, so I got a chance to visit and see what they were up to early on. At the time I was already an avid GW hobbyist and huge fan of the Warhammer worlds, so it took no convincing to get involved with Sabertooth as a freelance illustrator.
Which of your pieces for the 40K card game is your favourite, and why?
SW: It’s always hard to pick a favorite but I really like the Ultramarines Terminator squad piece. Space Marines were my first army in the game and that card was one of the first pieces I got to do for the game, so the thrill of actually working in the Warhammer 40,000 universe was very fresh.
Your artwork has graced popular gaming franchises (D&D, Games Workshop, MTG) for so many years – what keeps you coming back to these IPs?
SW: In my personal life, I’ve always been a tabletop gamer at heart, be it RPGs, CCGs, board games, or miniatures. Even though I now work primarily in video games I have strong connections to that world.
As I really got my break into professional illustration at Wizards of the Coast, my association with Magic and D&D grew very naturally out of that. I’ve also played D&D since childhood, and still do regularly.
My drive to work on Games Workshop projects comes directly out of my love of the hobby. I’ve spent a huge chunk of my life over the last 25 years playing GW games, reading the lore and novels, and building and painting the models. So I approach their IPs very much as a fan and getting to work on them is a privilege for me.
Who/what have been your artistic influences?
SW: Some of the artists I worked with early on at Wizards of the Coast were great mentors, particularly Todd Lockwood. My overall north star for historical and fantasy illustration is Angus McBride. Many Games Workshop illustrators over the years have been huge sources of inspiration—naturally John Blanche and Ian Miller, but also many others like Paul Bonner, Paul Dainton, and Igor Sid.
What project(s) are you working on these days?
SW: I’ve been working primarily as a concept artist in video games these days. Currently I’m working at Amazon Game Studios.
How can fans contact you, or see your newest work?
SW: The best place to see my work is my Artstation: https://www.artstation.com/samwood
Thanks very much Sam for taking the time to do this Q&A!