Friday, March 8, 2013

Magic:The Gathering Original Artwork Price List

In lieu of a proper database for the time being, I'm posting a roughly slapped together price list of all the original Magic:TG paintings I still have and that would love to have a new home!

I'd say about 80% of these are 9x12 inches - some are bigger.  Only the Lorwyn Harbinger pieces are slightly smaller than 9x12.  All are acrylic on bristol paper.

If any of these interest you or if you have questions, e-mail me at and we can discuss things further.

This list has been removed temporarily.  I have sold 10 paintings since I posted it and I now have to relist it minus the sold paintings so I don't have to keep telling everyone which ones I don't have anymore!

Magic Card Action Illustrating

I don't flex my "action" illustration muscles often enough - usually my job is to just make things look cool, scary, beautiful, etc.  So when the times comes around to illustrate a scene of some very specific action, it can often be uncomfortable for me.  A lot of the "action" in my commissions are purposely left fairly vague - it'll be something like "show an armored lancer charging into battle" or "show our two heroes attacking a giant spider" and so on.  Those type descriptions leave a lot open to interpretation and artistic license.  I can construct the scene according to just shapes and negative space - how I position the lancer on his horse can dictate how the rest of it falls into place.  I could have guys getting trampled, skewered, jumping off to the side, taking a swipe, reeling in horror, or eating an ice cream sandwich.  But the general action is still there.

But sometimes the action is described more specifically.  Take these two pieces.  The first is "Shattering Blow".  The description: a Ravnican giant swinging a heavy wrecking ball on a chain and smashing a statue of a certain character.  These items had to be laid out with much more deliberation and thought - I needed to retain the energy of the scene but also solve the problem.  Composing this is suddenly a different animal - I can't just toss secondary components in there anywhere like I am prone to doing.

This other one is "SlaughterHorn".  This is even more difficult of an action because I needed to show an action that is a reaction to another action.  These types of descriptions can often be impossible and thus, really annoying.  An example of an action/reaction scene: "show a warrior beheading an ogre and the ogre's head rolling away".  You can't really show both those things in one illustration without some sort of aesthetically lame gimmick.  You can show the head rolling away and the headless body tumbling to the ground and maybe the warrior in a followed-through pose.  But you can't show the beheading AND the rolling away head in one still snap shot.  In this piece, the description was to show a gruulox battering a hapless servant creature - and the servant creature is flying limply into the air.  One is a reaction to the other - but luckily the events are close enough together that with some rather ham-fisted visual suggestions, the viewer is lead to put together the events in their heads.  The motion blur of the gruulox's charge, the bloody mist of the impact, and the trail of blood as the servant flies off limply.  Sure, none too subtle, but it solves the problem while retaining some energy in the scene.

Here's one that I posted before called "Divine Deflection".  The art description wanted a Innistrad priest using his divine powers to send a whirling battle axe back at the thrower - specifically, the axe was supposed to be bouncing off the priest as I recall.  Eegads, that's a bitch.  But here's another chain of actions that needed to be shown to properly illustrate the card.  I needed to imply that the axe was coming toward the priest, was magically intercepted, and is being returned at the attacker. First of all, illustrating a thrown axe whirling through the air is a son of a bitch by itself and I loathe the day I ever have to illustrate one again.  But then I have to show this specific action/reaction along with it?  Ugh.

My first move as a prima donna artist is to nix the "bouncing off the priest" part - that just flat out did NOT work.  BUT, what did work for the same mechanics was having the axe boomeranging around the back of the magical priest dude and heading back to the thrower.  To ham-fist it home, I put glowy trailers on the whirling axe so it looks like it was tossed by a "black" creature, intercepted by the "white" creature and returned using "white" magic. Oh yeah, and then I had to paint it and make it look professional somehow. This was probably the most difficult of these three to orchestrate and the success of the final image regarding what was requested is questionable (the axe doesn't look like it is rotating at all!) but at least it looks pretty good on a card.  And hey, that counts for something!

NOTE: First, just so you youngsters don't think you can just go all rogue on an assignment, I didn't change the specifics of the action on Divine Deflection without running it by the Art Director first.  Secondly, yes, I'll bitch and moan about art descriptions from now and again, but I still welcome the challenge almost all the time.  Illustration is about problem solving in many ways and though the aesthetics of the artwork are sometime impeded by difficult specifics, you'll never learn anything and grow as an artist without putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and taking on challenging assignments.