Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lorwyn: A Tale of Four Cities

Magic's Lorwyn has just been previewed, and it provides a mildly interesting story. Large Magic sets often commission over the course of about 4 months simply because it’s hard to produce over 300 pieces of art in short order among the stable of artists Magic tends to use.

Readers of Exit Within know that I’ve been moving around a lot the last couple of years. This means that artwork being done is being done in all sorts of places. I began writing on drawings and, on the backs of paintings, the locations where they were produced. If you purchase anything since 2006 you’re going to see some city labeled somewhere. With Lorwyn, it ended up that a series of moves had the set produced over the course of four cities.

It began about a year ago, with the initial commission. At the time I was at the end of my stay in Frigiliana, Spain—a tiny whitewashed village at the start of Andalucia’s Sierra Nevada, and a few kilometers away from Nerja and the Mediterranean. I concepted the first two pieces, did a pencil for one of them and a digital sketch for the other. I submitted them and a short few days later, we left Spain as chronicled a couple posts ago.

What the heck is that? Pencil 6x8”

We arrived in the USA just before Thanksgiving, landing in Austin TX where stayed with family for about a month. I set up my guerilla art studio and got to work immediately. The above sketch was approved, the other required a re-sketch. I redid it in pencil this time and submitted it.

Resubmitted sketch, Pencil 6x8” I rarely use heavily toned paper for sketches

I also began the painting for Fire Belly Changeling. This proved to be one of the most difficult illustrations I’ve ever done. The Changelings are very…unusual…in their normal states. Now, make him shapeshifting into a lizard shape and, oh, make him 2-headed. Oh dear. And he breathes fire too. In any case, that wasn’t my final problem in producing the painting. It was the background and color scheme. I struggled far too long at it, and ended up painting the background maybe 4 times in total. I was still unhappy. I tossed a photo in-progress to my friend Ben Thompson, who gave some digital suggestions that were pretty helpful. While I didn’t take his suggestions outright, I did take some compositional changes he made, and it was very helpful in getting me out of my rut. Shortly before Christmas, we went back to California.

Clockwise from top-left: in-progress, “final”, Ben’s suggestion, final

Next week, 2 more cities, and a disappearing act.