Aug 172011

Sage from Antiquities

Continuing the previous theme of cards from Antiquities, let me tell you about the Sage of Lat-Nam…

The Sage was the first human I got to paint for Magic and his card was my first taste of the off-beat groups of gamers growing up around the game: It was at the Essen toy fair in 94 or 95 where I met a young French guy who not only collected dozens of the Sage of Lat-Nam, but the card had become the official mascot of his gaming group who had named themselves “The School of Lat-Nam”. He was delighted at the opportunity to get a boatload of Sages signed.

I’ve no idea what became of that group but I did think about them when I was working as story lead on Alliances, where I reintroduced Lat Nam. Hopefully it gave them all a big grin.

Anyway, jumping to 2005, I did a private commission of the Sage and this time I got him up out of that seat. I figured he’d be grateful after being stuck in it for twelve years. This piece was done entirely in pencil. Scanning and making the image look good for the web makes the pencil work look darker than on the original piece.

Sage of Lat-Nam Sketch

Here’s a nice close up of his face. I think that facial expression tells you all you need to know about the wisdom of pestering the Sage while he’s reading… several books… simultaneously.

Sage of Lat-Nam Close Up

Aug 032011

Waaaaay back in the dawn of time, well, early for Magic the Gathering but the rest of us know it as 1993… okay, that really does seem like a long time ago now. Damn.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yeah, in October 1993 on my very first trip to the United States I accidentally met Jesper Myrfors, art director for Wizards of the Coast, at Philadelphia Comic Fest. A month later I was working on my first Magic cards.

Due to a peculiar set of circumstances, Antiquities, Legends and The Dark were all being assigned at the same time but had a staggered deadline a scant few months ahead of the card sets hitting the shelves. This was seat-of-the-pants set production. I feel sorry for the editors and whoever was working pre-press. Actually, the latter was likely Tom Wånerstrand who’s a great person so I guess it didn’t do him too much damage. Probably. But he does smile a LOT. Hmm…

AntiquitiesOkay, apparently my brain is set to “off topic” today. Anyway, during early November of 1993 I worked on my six pictures for Antiquities. COP: Artifacts was my favorite for play value – I mean, how cool was it to do the one missing COP? – but my favorite image belonged to Gaea’s Avenger.

The power was nothing special, but this was my first rare card (or ‘Uncommon 1’ but let’s not get into that) and it was my first card where the creature was demanding your attention. The finger pointing out of frame is kind of an accusation or threat aimed at your opponent. This was a trick I’d do a few times in the future, though most notably with the Demon Token from Mirrodin.

I got to revisit Gaea’s Avenger three times in other pieces. Once in Drawn Together from Unhinged, once in a promotional image that’s never been seen by the public – but that will change sometime in the future – and once for the Duelist Magazine.

Here’s the Duelist piece which was painted in 1995. No idea what article it was for but you might notice that I’m up to my old tricks of tucking my signature into the image again.

Gaea's Avenger for the Duelist