Every new Magic set presents an opportunity for a fresh crop of artists to add their voice to the game. This new blood infuses Magic art with the unique perspectives and diverse talents these illustrators provide.
Fate Reforged has 6 brand-new artists and I reached out to each of them to learn about their process and how it feels to have their first Magic card.
I was born in Greece and as far back as I can remember I’ve had a pencil in my hand, doodling all the time.
When I was a teenager I used to play Dungeons & Dragons and, later on, Magic: The Gathering. I was mesmerized by the artwork. Donato Giancola, John Avon, Tony DiTerlizzi and Brom were some of my favorite MtG artists. Another great influence for me are comic books like John Buscema’s “Conan” as well as Paolo Serpieri’s “Druuna”.
I knew one day I’d be a fantasy artist, I guess I was lucky to have that talent. That’s why I chose to start making a living from my art instead of going to art-school.
In 1994 I made my first professional steps as an apprentice junior artist for an animation studio in Athens. My professional career as a freelance illustrator started in 1999 and since then I’ve been working digitally. Several years were spent working for various Greek advertising agencies and publishers, until I finally decided to put my mind, heart, and soul into what I always loved the most – putting my own imagination on paper.
Come the summer of 2012, my wife and I decided to move to the UK where I started my new career working for independent game developers. I thought this was the best way to build my portfolio and earn the money to support my family. I was a good illustrator, but didn’t have much experience as a fantasy artist so I had to work hard to improve my skills and my technique. To grow my skills as fast I could, I was read tons of stuff from the masters in the field, tutorials, how-to guides, articles, anything I could get my hands on.
When I finally felt that I had enough decent pieces to show, I decided to submit my artwork. My first big client was Fantasy Flight Games, then followed Applibot, who liked my work and I started working for them. I worked with them for about a year, illustrating several pieces for them, when I had worked up enough confidence to submit to Wizards of the Coast. That was in December 2013.
This was not the first time I had submitted work to Wizards, but this time I had better pieces to show. I was flabbergasted when I received my first art commission from Wizards. My childhood dream’s been fulfilled!
I have to say it’s been a great journey so far and I don’t know if I could have made it as an artist without my wife’s support and encouragement!
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So to start I’m Dave Seguin from Montreal a freelance Illustrator and from as far as I can remember, I have always been creating art.
My grand father was a painter and he was the one who gave me all those art books and paint brushes when I was young. He was truly passionate about art. Now, I mainly do all my art work in Photoshop. I love it so much. It’s free, it’s not messy, it takes up no space. I use the computer screen as if it were a blank canvas.
I was inspired to go into illustration by many artists but when I saw Jamie Jones works, I fell in love. The guy is so good. I wanted to try and make fantasy art like him or concept art. That’s where my motivation started for doing this back in 2012. Now, I’m more in to comics.
I’m a huge Phil Noto fan and I think he is the Normand Rockwell of our generation. There’s also Drew Struzan, whom I admired so much that I sent him one of my drawings and he was kind enough to reply back, this guy is so awesome. Of course I have to include icons like Adam Hughes, Gerald Parel, and Alex Ross. There are so many others that inspire me that I can’t list them all.
I got my start working on Magic when I got an e-mail from Art Director Jeremy Jarvis last year. He said we want you do some cards for us. I was so happy and a little nervous. They wanted me to do a 2 door and 2 statues but I was hoping to do more like a warrior or a dragon. Regardlless, I had no choice but couldn’t turn down this opportunity.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about the game of Magic and had not yet to play my first match. Luckily, Jeremy sent me a tutorial on how to play so that I would have a basic idea which would help me in this project and everything turned out ok.
I have to say that Jeremy is a real pro. He is so nice and gave me some great pointers and helpful ideas. Jeremy is the best art director I ever had to work with.
I am proud that people like what I do enough to entrust me with illustrating the world of Magic. They are what keeps me going.
Hello, I’m Jakub Kasper, freelance artist from Poland, and here is my creative process in a nutshell.
I start by making sketches in traditional mediums and usually they are really rough. At that stage I focus on finding strong composition and dynamic poses for the characters. Then I switch into digital, take the sketches further, and add details and basic lighting. After I have one sketch that I feel is the best I take it to the finish line using Photoshop and Wacom tablet. Many people are curious about that, so let me answer the question straight away – I still use my trusty Intuos 3 🙂
My first illustrations for Hasbro were done for a game called Kaijudo. I was working with Keven Smith, the art director for this game. After working on several of their projects I got a chance to make few cards for Magic. I’m sure that I have Keven to thank for this great opportunity 🙂
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never played MtG. If you were to ask me about the game mechanics, how the spells work, or the names of the most powerful characters, I wouldn’t have a clue. However, I do know a lot of cards from the game by the great artwork they use. The artwork of Magic the Gathering cards has always been a huge inspiration and influence for me.
Every week I discover a new fantastic art and every week I fall in love with new artist 🙂 However, I do have a few artists that are my all time favorites. If I had to mention just a few of them: Gerald Brom, Todd Lockwood, Paul Bonner, Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, Adrian Smith and James Ryman. Most of them I have known for a long time (not personally… yet :)) and since the first time I saw their art they have charmed me with their imagination.
Now, since I’ve chosen to follow a similar career path, they continue to impact my imagination, but I’m also just now realizing the full extent of their talent and skill. I have great respect for them.
Hi there, I’m a 26-year-old freelance illustrator and concept artist currently living in Seattle.
Previously, I lived in San Francisco, where I attended the Safehouse Atelier- studying traditional and production art under Carl Dobsky alongside other Magic the Gathering artists (Karla Ortiz, Ryan Alexander Lee, John Brassell, Cole Eastburn, Jason Felix, Mike Bierek.) I freelanced for a while, including Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve done work for Volta, One Pixel Brush, Massive Black, Paizo, Wizards, and many other companies.
I currently do the majority of my work in pencil, ink, and photoshop, though I’ve been introducing some 3d modeling software into my pipeline.
I first encountered Magic: the Gathering when I was six years old. I’ve played off and on since then, mostly in casual play (I find the tournament scene to be too competitive and not fun-oriented.) While I was learning how to draw and developing my artistic skills, I only really had one company that I wanted to work for: Wizards of the Coast. Now, twenty years later I’m finally one of the artists of this great game.
I’m greatly inspired by Fumito Ueda, who is the concept artist, animator, writer, and director of the projects from Team ICO. I am a huge fan of illustrators Franklin Booth, Arthur Rackham, and Alan Lee. In terms of fine art, I love Jeremy Geddes, Ilya Repin, and Gabriel von Max. Travis Charest, Bill Watterson, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Nick Brandt, Tomer Hanuka, the list goes on.
The Magic community has always been supportive of the artists that help make the game great, and I’m incredibly pleased and excited to be one of them now. I have quite a few cards coming up in the future, so look for more in upcoming sets.
Sadly, Alejandro never responded to my initial attempts at contact. Hopefully we will be able to make a connection and I can share his story in the future.
In the meantime, make sure to check out his DeviantArt gallery.
Sadly, Lius has been on an extended vacation (lucky!) and was unable to get back to me in time for this article. Hopefully he will be able to introduce himself to the greater Magic community in the future.
In the meantime, make sure to check out his DeviantArt gallery.
I want to thank each and every one of the artists that took the time to respond to me. I absolutely cannot wait to see what you all have in store for us in future releases.
Anyone interested in seeing more work by these artists can click on their name to be taken to their respective websites.
Check back every Wednesday for new Magic art related content. Until next time!