630 – Magic the Gathering

Magic the Gathering

Elvish Ranger from the Magic: the Gathering deck, Portal
1997
Ink and watercolor on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

It’s a funny story about Magic: The Gathering. There’s a gaming convention called Gen Con held every year, where all the gamers in the country get together to play all sorts of games. I remember back in 1994, an art director coming up to me and asking if I’d be interested in painting cards for this card game. But at the time I was busy working on Planescape and a little bit of work for White Wolf Games and so I passed.

You often get the question, if you have any regrets, what would those regrets be, and certainly being one of the original artists on Magic: The Gathering is one of them, especially when I had the opportunity. But I did get to work with Wizards of the Coast and Magic: The Gathering some years later, and I have absolutely enjoyed working with them.

I was growing a little restless coming out of Planescape with all the pen and ink and watercolor work that I was doing. I liked drawing in those mediums, but I wanted to become a stronger painter, and Magic had longer deadlines. TSR deadlines were notoriously short, I had to turn around a lot of art usually in a very short period of time. But for Magic I could create a handful of paintings and I had many months to work on them, and so I began to start shooting models and photographic reference for every prop, and really buckled down on painting.