I’ve been hitting my pillow each night exhausted with starting my new job at the University of Minnesota, podcasting, writing, and working on some intensive community-based initiatives behind the scenes. I really wish I could say more on how all the artist boats will be rising, but at this point, I’m just trying to prevent the candle from burning out. Some things I’ve been begging, wishing, and hoping for can and will come true, and I’m going to need some help in the coming months.
I talked to a few freelance writers, like myself, who hit burnout and writer’s block, respectively, and what I’ve heard is that when you run out of ideas, you need to step aside. I have not hit that point yet, and I have a pretty long backlog of things to cover. But one thing I’ve been waiting for is for Mark Rosewater to write a much-needed update to his and Wizards of the Coast’s definition of Vorthos. Ant and I discussed that the Vorthos aspect is a three-legged stool of lovers of the art, lovers of the storyline, and lovers of the names and flavor text. Is that correct though? It is true until we’re proven incorrect? So, instead of restating things or explaining things more, I’m waiting for the official head nod and longer-form article on Vorthos. It’s why I rarely write design articles, and when I do, it’s really just Vorthos-focused. I think it’s time to urge Wizards to define this art/story/flavor situation a bit more in the new normal of set releases, and next week, we gain a little view into that.
Until I have the big announcements of the year, let’s have a little update on all things Vorthos today!
March Madness of Artist Reveals
This begs the question; will thirty-one artists be there?! I cannot even imagine what would basically be a GenCon-sized group of people who are all Magic artists in one space. Will someone have each artist sketch on a play mat? Who will be altering the most? Who will hype his or her table the best beforehand?
The artist alley will be massive, and the exact placements of artists will directly impact sales, lines, and play-mat collaborations. I’ll be doing some recaps each week of artists and their cards to stock up on and obscure artworks in case you’ve missed them!
Who would be a stellar addition to an entire artist alley, and whom would you like to see? Sound off using #mtgartmadness, and let everyone know!
Community Top 8
In case you missed them, here are the Top 8 community-minded people submitted and nominated for their efforts toward the Magic community. It’s worth reading up on them in last week’s article. They cannot be recognized enough for their efforts in community building: Matt Beverly — @MattyStudios; Nick Coss — @IronChefNick; Eric Freytag — @PucaTrade; Christian Lobenstein — @MagicBlogsDe; Joshua Krause — @OriginalMagicArt; The Professor Tolarian Community College — @TolarianCollege; Josh Putz — @TheProxyGuy; and Ben Titmarsh — @CubeTutor.
And what’s the big announcement for what they’ll receive at Grand Prix Las Vegas if they attend? They’re being invited to a pretty unique reception with just a few VIP guests.
Trading Artist Proofs?
Speaking of PucaTrade, they just announced their Indiegogo campaign to update a bunch of features on their site, such as foreign cards, conditions, and physical-to-digital card trading. I think their $50,000 goal is actually pretty low for any major development addition, which I’m happy to see is conservative. Why I care about this is that, at their $1,000 level, someone can, in theory, have artist proofs added to PucaTrade.
This has never happened before on any site, and frankly, any online store that sells them really varies on pricing. Most minor cards aren’t even listed, and those one-of cards for a Cube would be an incredible addition to their site. If they can figure out how to settle condition disputes, artist proofs should be easy. I hope someone brings it up and has them added!
More info is here.
Two Artists Refound
After many e-mails and cold calls, and after an absurd number of written snail-mail letters, I finally found two artists I’ve been trying to find for the past few years: Li Tie and Eric Peterson. In 2015, it’s actually only a few artists who don’t have visible websites and who have come back into the fold. We’re seeing artists again because of the massive influx of players who want more cards signed, more artist proofs purchased, and, in turn, prints and original artworks wanted. There exists a few artists who don’t want to be contacted, whose reasons are their own, but these two artists—well, they just didn’t have anyone hustle hard enough to find them.
This is still a long process, but I’ll be receiving more precise information from both of them on what artists proofs they have left and their signing policies. Li Tie is sold out of his original artworks, in case you were wondering. As Li was the art director for Portal Three Kingdoms, he has the contact information for the artists of P3K; the set was contracted out to him. I’m working with him slowly, as he is incredibly valuable to our entire community of art-loving Vorthoses.
Stay tuned on social media—I’ll be getting some interviews and more soon.
Reminder on Legality
I’ve noticed quite a few strange legal questions pop up in the past month, so I think it’s about time we revisited what things in the art side of Magic should be noted.
- If you’re making a custom mat from InkedPlaymats, it is illegal to use Magic artwork. They are under copyright to Wizards of the Coast, and while you could, in theory, gain permission, the chance of gaining approval is quite low. That’s not to say some people don’t make them through less reputable sites anyway, but I don’t recommend it, and in a tournament, it could be a future problem.
- Proxies — Creating proxies and selling them is illegal. Again, it’s a copyright issue. You can mock up stuff in Photoshop, show the world, and have a great time, sure, but printing them and selling them is not kosher.
- Style guides used to be physically printed and are illegal to sell, as they were, and still are, under a non-disclosure agreement. If you’re not under that NDA, you’re not supposed to have them. If a dealer or vendor is found selling one of the old-school printed ones, I’d walk away slowly and let someone at Wizards know.
- Art books can be created with Magic art, but that can’t be the only brand, and you need permission to print them, as the copyright sits with Wizards. You’ll see a few more artist books coming out, as Jeremy Jarvis helped to make it slightly easier for artists to have them made, but for a random person in the community . . . it’s not impossible. You just need a helluva good pitch for Wizards proper.
- Fake original artworks have not hit the markets yet, but if they do, they’re not illegal to make—it’s a painting, and you can paint whatever you want. You just can’t claim that it is a piece of Magic art, you can’t use copyrighted names, and you’d probably receive a cease-and-desist letter. I’m happy we haven’t seen these yet, and I hope we never do. This is part of why I’ve been such a driving force in having the Alpha Art Project completed.
Snack Time with Mike and Ant
In case you haven’t listened to the resident Vorthoses of Gathering Magic yap about things, you definitely should. You’ll learn a thing or two, and we have a preview card coming up here next week for Dragons of Tarkir with creative manager Colin Kawakami and Jeremy Jarvis on for a little chat. It’s a barn burner. I’d catch up on an episode or two beforehand!
Colin, being awesome
Mpls Charity First Look
Last summer, I hosted with the help of my friend Matt Awde a two-day charity event to benefit Mariah Boehm and her family. Minneapolis loved the idea of a charity tourney, and people came out in full force. This summer, I’ll be hosting another one. Details are still being worked out, but we’ll have a play mat, the event will be two days, and it will be at a different site than last year.
I had a bunch of votes last go around in writing Starting a Magic Charity Tournament, and I plan on writing a full announcement for the Summer 2015 tournament as I did last year. I’ll be actively soliciting items by Grand Prix Las Vegas, so if you have a spare artist proof, alteration, or other item you would be willing to part with, please let me know in Las Vegas—we’ll be able to meet up! It’ll be for a good cause, and meeting up over philanthropy at a massive Grand Prix is great community-building; maybe we’ll share a coffee.
P.S. I’ll be at Grand Prix Las Vegas, and I’ll be handing out snacks!