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.
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.