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2016 Blizzard Entertainment Student Art Contest Win Gives LCAD Nation’s 1st-ever 5-Year Winning Streak »


Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announced for the fifth consecutive year, an LCAD Game Art alumnus has won the Blizzard Entertainment Student Art Contest. Matthew McKeown, who graduated last week, designed a draenei ogre half-breed that won the character contest. He also accepted an offer of employment from Blizzard Entertainment.

“It took a full semester to create the character from concept, to backstory to final model and animation,” said McKeown. “I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since it first started and I wanted to create a character who would be fun to have in the game.”

McKeown’s LCAD experience included working on the LCAD Art of Game Design MFA game, “Threshold” as well as with UCI Game Development students on an online PC game. The foundational classical art training he received helped him take the high tech skills to the next level in his game artistry. He also emphasized that collaboration from his fellow students, professors and mentors from Blizzard helped him design the winning World of Warcraft themed character.

“I love that in this year, we wrap up with five consecutive wins with Blizzard Entertainment,” said Sandy Appleoff Lyons, founder and chair of LCAD Game Art. “Only one other school in the country has done that.”

Blizzard Entertainment’s university relations and World of Warcraft development teams hold the annual contest for college and university students to submit original artwork that would be a great fit for World of Warcraft. grand prize winners receive a tour of Blizzard Entertainment’s headquarters in Irvine, CA with two hours’ mentorship with a senior artist; a one-year subscription to World of Warcraft; a Blizzard Entertainment notebook (featuring an original sketch by a Blizzard artist) and a Blizzard t-shirt.

Founded in 2007, LCAD Game Art is a project-based, collaborative program. Students receive a foundation in classical art training from which they create complex digital worlds using state-of-the-industry software. Design teams are assembled to work—in pre-existing and newly created game engines—with graduate and undergraduate partnerships, such as USC’s graduate program, GamePipe Laboratory.

LCAD Game Art students benefit from exclusive access to teachers and mentors who come from Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, Appy Entertainment, Amazon Double Helix, Obsidian Entertainment, NCsoft Carbine Studios, Riot, and Highmoon.

For more information about LCAD Game Art, please visit