The musings of a fantasy illustrator. Artwork, art-talk, and randomness.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

From the Vault: Exiled Sketches

With the imminent preview release of Magic's From the Vault: Exiled, I figured it's time to take the wraps off this piece, which though it appeared on the Wizards website months ago, I refrained from talking about here. For starters, I couldn't post it here with its card name, and even today I still can't reveal that. But, the product will be previewed in a week at GenCon, so it's just about time. People seem to think they have this card figured out. We'll see.

It started, as usual, with thumbnails. There were a few good candidates among these:



These were all done in Painter IX. If you've seen the final piece, you can spot its original thumbnail (#12, as one would read). These aren't laid out in chronological order. As I worked in one big file with lots of layers and kept copying and rearranging them, I've lost all memory of the order these were done in. Some of them featured the main figure full-figure, and then I created some alternate backgrounds, which are mainly efforts at tweaking the value relationships. I picked three to do drawings of (6, 12, 19-22). The last 3 in the series I really loved, as well, however I felt it was too "pretty" for the assignment. Otherwise, I would've definitely included it.

From there, I worked up 3 pencil drawings and produced greyscale value studies, which I then submitted to the Art Director for approval. However, after drawing #6, I didn't think it had the same punch as the thumbnail, and didn't have enough punch on its own to warrant making a greyscale study. I think I started it but abandoned it. Here, then are the two options I gave the AD:



In the assignment, the figure was supposed to have pupil-less glowing eyes, a regularly utilized cliche that usually shows that some trance-like state has been induced during the casting of magic. I've done it a few times, and generally am averse to it these days. You see it in the 2nd, unused study. In the original conception of the 1st study above, you'll notice the figure simply has no eyes. It was a little on the freaky side, and I told the AD that I was not wedded to the idea if he didn't care for it (in the event that he chose it). I didn't have a preference at the time between the two and would've been happy had either been chosen. All things being equal, the larger face usually carries the day--#1 was chosen and I was told to trust my gut on the eyes thing.

So I set off to do the final piece, which we'll see cover next week. If all goes well I'll have the original painting on display at GenCon.

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