A Skyrim fan has created a gorgeous painting of the game’s iconic city of Whiterun via the surprising medium : MS Paint. It’s yet another example of Skyrim’s enduring power, as the game’s popularity in the RPG scene has spanned more than 11 years, with multiple releases on new platforms. It even averaged 20,000 active players on the Steam leaderboard in the most recent 30-day time span.
Players are introduced to Whiterun early in the game as the capital, Whiterun Hold, located in the heart of Skyrim. Its wooden and stone palisade walls and its location on the Great Escarpment make it an intimidating and fascinating commercial center (for fans of the stunning city of Edoras from The Lord of the Rings, It is also a wish fulfillment). Sometimes it’s even the center of comedy, like when Whiterun guards randomly go for a swim.
Reddit user kettu1 recently shared their own version of Whiterun designed using only MS Paint. A zoom-in of the painting is a testament to its painstaking creation, with MS Paint’s grid raster graphics purposefully placed to create a fluid Disney animation feel. One can imagine the two riders in the image in motion, with the breeze blowing gently through the trees. Thatched roofs and stonework blend seamlessly, and the clouds are as beautiful as anything drawn with a real paintbrush. It’s a different direction than the recently announced Whiterun 3D remake in Unreal Engine 5 – this one is two-dimensional content that looks quaint and cheery, rather than sprawling and powerful.
The Reddit community responded enthusiastically to the painting, with many users praising the artist for capturing the spirit of the city using only a basic digital painting program. The artist noted that while they sometimes use more advanced tools, they chose MS Paint for the job because of its “nostalgic” feel. This suggests that the artist was caught up in his own nostalgia when he first discovered Whiteman. After all, it’s definitely a re-creation of the city, not a re-imagining – as one pink Skyrim fan did.
With developer Bethesda wrapping up work on its upcoming Starfield and beginning planning for Elder Scrolls 6, it’s sure to have plenty of fan art to inspire Skyrim’s follow-up. Bethesda will likely seek to surpass Whiterun in terms of scale and spectacle in the new sequel, but it also knows why so many people have fallen in love with Whiterun and the world of Skyrim : feels like a real place where anything can happen, Instead of a large grid of NPCs following a path and waiting for the player to make them take an action. Skyrim is a prime example of interactivity taking precedence over beautification; otherwise, the scene might as well be painting.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.