Thursday, September 19, 2013


Soon the first set in the Theros block will be released - so it's time to release a post about it on my blog here. Theros is Magic: the Gathering's Ancient Greece-inspired set for which Todd Lockwood, Eric Deschamps, Adam Paquette, Pete Morbacher, Richard Whitters, and I worked on the concept design phase.  I have a a nice chunk of cards coming out in Theros and the subsequent sets so here are the first in line along with the pencil roughs for each.

Above is probably my favorite out of all of them: "Prognostic Sphinx". Being a fan of planetariums and  the old representational drawings of constellations, this was a treat to work on. 
Below is an artifact card called: "Fleetfeather Sandals".  I don't often do artifact cards but I enjoyed this one.  The set specifically calls for bright colors and sun-drenched scenes so it forced me to play with bright sunlight and sharp shadows. I used a palette knife to texture that rock she's standing on there.

Next we have "Nessian Courser" - a centaur patrolling the forests of Theros. Pretty straight forward here. You'll notice I changed the tree behind the horse-dude from drawing to painting.  That's because at the time I had painted a lot of gnarly, crooked trees and I wanted to break out of that a little.  Yeah, in hindsight maybe the gnarly tree would have been a little more dynamic but I switched to a tree more representative of the set at least.

Lastly, we have another one I'm pretty pleased with: "Warrior's Lesson". You can read a little bit about some of my concept design tasks in one of the previous posts here but one of my jobs was to develop the looks of the humans in the three regions of Theros.  In regard to this card, I had to come up with a "green" tribe of Amazons and give them appropriate armor and design elements. I gave them bold, leather armor with thick straps and a sweeping forward crest on their helmets which ended with loose leather straps dangling down the neck and back.  I was quite pleased I got to focus some finished detail on the outfits of these ferocious ladies of the forest.

You'll notice the switch in arm position of the lead warrior.  I fussed with that for hours trying to find a position for her sword arm that fit the frame best. Some days there is a lot of erasing. Ugh.

Speaking of Theros, I'll be making a card-signing appearance for the Theros Prerelease Saturday September 21st at a store called "Fog of Dusk" on Bethel road right here in Columbus, Ohio.  I'll be there from 3:00 to at least 7:00 (8:00 at the latest). I'll be selling artist proofs, prints, and playmats. For anyone that likes to spend money, I'll also bring a few original paintings and maybe even a set or two of some special black-on-black planeswalker cards I've heard so much about. See you there!


  1. Thanks for continuing to post these Steve, the drawings and the paintings both are really inspiring. That Sphinx is a very strong contender for my favorite art in the set :)

  2. Thanks, Victor! Glad you like the Theros stuff - and the sphinx in particular. It might be my fave from my Theros stuff - though I have a merfolk piece coming up in one of the subsequent Theros releases that I like a lot, as well.