The rapid pace of releases seemingly make an art review or covering the freshest art, card, and sets the norm this year. I want to take a week off and let us look back on Kaladesh and Amonkhet, already feeling ancient, and reflect on who is new, rather than what.
Magic had quite a few new artists join its ranks in 2017, and I can honestly say I haven’t given them due diligence to find out who they are. Few artists “breaking” into Magic are fresh out of art school. Many artists just joining have been around for years, decades even, in the fantasy art community. We don’t necessarily see them as often as they aren’t invited to Grand Prix events yet, don’t push jpgs of their art yet, and haven’t heard from us, the community, yet.
This article is to introduce you to some of Magic’s fresh faces, the new blood, as it were:
What is Adrian about?
He works at Riot Games for League of Legends, but he also worked on Destiny. He has a very strong skill set in textures, which you can see on his high tech weapons and ships. If we see New Phyrexia again, expect him to be a big part of it. His wife Jenn Ravenna is also an artist.
Painful Lesson by Adrian Majkrzak
What is Alayna about?
Predominantly an environment artist, she will likely be making basic lands in an instant. You’ve probably seen her landscapes in games already, especially ones made in the midwest. Alayna’s older art you can find under Alayna Lemmer.
Path of Ancestry by Alayna Danner
What is Alex about?
Prior to hearing that he broke into Magic, he was a phenomenal mech and robot creator. You’ll see him in the Warhammer 40k type world, especially with his ability to show organic with mechanical, like orcs. Lately, he’s been really into painting mega creepypasta personal works on his Facebook page.
River Heralds' Boon by Alex Konstad
British (Belgian originally)
What is Bram about?
Bram works for Axis Studios as an art director his day job, an effects and animation studio in Glasgow. His portfolio covers a lot, meaning that Wizards art directors can likely give him anything. When you see a new artist get humans, humanoids, iconic creatures, you’ll know they’re being tried out in different areas. His Art Station account is strongest with figures, his work on landscapes, like Gibbon Rock, also a Gumroad show that he can flex on nearly any assignment.
Alms Collector by Bram Sels
Entered with cards: Heirloom Blade
What is Carmen about?
Carmen can paint women with believable personalities. I get a sense of realism that she brings to each piece, while keeping a solid foot in the fantastic. Warrior women will have a bra strap or something logical to their world rather than simply defying physics. It’s the little things she pays attention to, like stubble on the fallen soldier below, that you may miss from seeing a 2x3” card art box but I encourage you to look for in her pieces.
Heirloom Blade by Carmen Sinek
What is Chris about?
Color. Chris is known in the community for his vibrant colors, very Steve Prescott in terms of “pop.” Outside of Magic, his work on fairy tales is phenomenally good, and his innovation approach on Cameo Creeps, a project of showing formal portraits of mini framed monsters, basically, has exploded in popularity. They’re approachable and fun. Chris is a traditional painter and is selling his merfolk from the new Ixalan set.
Shapers of Nature by Chris Seaman
Acrylic on board, 12" X 16"
Dimitar (Dimitar Marinski)
Entered with cards: Pillar of Origins, Settle the Wreckage, Sunpetal Grove
British (Bulgarian originally)
What is Dimitar about?
Environments. His ability to show cold snow, clear water and arid areas is rather remarkable. You have to see larger jpgs, like the below image, to see how much he packs into the scene. As a 2x3” image, it works. When you zoom in, it’s remarkable. He works as a senior concept artist at Playground Games, which makes the Forza car racing games. You can see how a strong environmental artist would do well there.
Sunpetal Grove by Dimitar
What is Emrah about?
After spending some years in the concept art industry in Europe on Fable, he built an artist outsourcing studio in Cambridge. His Tumblr shows quick ideas, where you can see his ideas bubble to the surface. We have only seen one card art from him thus far, and I expect to see some artifact/structural things in the future.
Conqueror's Foothold by Emrah Elmasli
Grzegorz (Greg) Rutkowski
Entered with cards: Boneyard Scourge, Dune Beetle, Fortune's Favor, Glorybringer, Growing Rites of Itlimoc, Horror Token, Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun, Lord of the Accursed, Onward // Victory, Rootbound Crag, Ryusei, the Falling Star, The Locust God, The Scarab God, The Scorpion God, Torment of Hailfire
What is Greg about?
Oil painting techniques in digital. He works in oil and digital mediums and you can see his plein air studies come to work in massive battle scenes with thick brushstrokes. He’ll likely get some serious pay days when he realizes the Magic art collector community would pay top dollar for Magic oil paintings.
The Locust God by Greg Rutkowski
What is Joe about?
Mixing of texture. You’ll see velvet next to skin, next to a magical effect. He has a good control of having disparate things work together harmoniously. Think drider, a drow spider, for what Joe can really excel at out of the gate.
Bloodline Necromancer by Joe Slucher
Jonathan (Jon) Kuo
What is Jonathan about?
Animals. He’s to digital what Lars Grant-West is to traditional. They study the animals, know the movements, and research from life. He teaches animal drawing at Concept Design Academy. He also has Battlefield concept art under his belt.
Rampaging Ferocidon by Jon Kuo
What is Mark About?
Mark has been around a while. He’s another senior concept artist, though he’s at Epic Games, which makes games like Infinity Blade using the Unreal engine. His work on creatures and creature concepts are really top notch.
Dispossess by Mark Behm
What is McLean about?
Scenes. Check out how he handles scenes, especially small two person scenes with complex character designs. They don’t appear to get busy, or hard to understand. He has restraint in all the right places, which you can see how affect an artwork’s emotional lens, shown below.
No One Will Hear Your Cries by McLean Kendree
What is Mike about?
Creatures. Mike is a mega fan of Magic, knowing a depth of the experience that will pay dividends. Look for easter eggs or hidden details in his works in the months to come. With a creature being in his repertoire, look past the creature to see what else he’s showing you.
Ramunap Hydra by Mike Burns
Entered with cards: Vanquisher's Banner, Treasure Token
What is Milivoj about?
Symbols. He did a full book on Norse mythology, which should tip you off to where Magic is headed very soon. Look for his real world mixed with fantasy icons and symbols in his works. He and Filip Burburan are Magic’s only Croatian artists and of course they are friends.
Vanquisher's Banner by Milivoj ?eran
Acrylic on paper, 13 x 18”
What is Naomi about?
Bringing a concept idea into a polished final. As you look at her color studies and sketches and working roughs, check out what she emphasizes. It shows in her paintings, like the pop of a concept character’s color, showing us what’s important. When you work in games, unique characters must be differentiated and she has a good eye for keeping unique aspects visible, balanced and clear.
Headwater Sentries by Naomi Baker
Spanish (Cuban originally)
What is Randy about?
Atmosphere. Look for his usage of fog, smoke, haze and atmospheric effects in his paintings. They allow for more focal light on buildings, also forcing your eye to see his intended zone of focus.
Burning Sun's Avatar by Randy Vargas
Entered with cards: Binding Mummy, Favorable Winds, Furnace Whelp, Harsh Mentor, Harvest Season, Hungry Lynx, Nimble Obstructionist, Rat Token, Ruin Rat, Scrounging Bandar, Tishana's Wayfinder, Waker of the Wilds, Wind-Kin Raiders
What is Shreya about?
For now, adorable. She fills that role that you remember in the 1990s of playful creature. Think Bear Cub when Shreya is painting: joy in a game about battle. You can imagine her smiling as she creates, making playful without pandering.
Furnace Whelp by Shreya Shetty
Simon (Si) Dominic
What is Si about?
Card art is Si’s specialty. What I mean is that Si can paint scenes that scale down to a card, are still readable and are a narrative story. He packs a whole scene into a single depiction quite often like Kinjalli's Sunwing. That piece has a foreground, and a background story, with action in motion happening. He always adds a little extra context, a little more of a scene than simply just Taigam, for example. Take time looking for his larger jpgs and know that there’s another famous Simon Dominic that isn’t him.
Hour of Devastation by Simon Dominic
Toma Feizo Gas
Entered with cards: Vindictive Lich
What is Toma about?
Stark lit characters. A dark room with magic as a light source? Call him up.
Vindictive Lich by Toma Feizo Gas
Entered with cards: As Foretold, Benefaction of Rhonas, Bishop of Rebirth, Dagger of the Worthy, Frontline Devastator, Glimmer of Genius, Manifold Insights, Nissa's Encouragement, Patron of the Vein, Secret Salvage, Static Orb
What is Tommy about?
Exceptionally painted characters. There are short routes for people to paint an idealized body or someone beautiful. Tommy has a knack of adding a shockingly large amount of realism to his fantasy works. Walk into a bookstore and see the new releases for novels. The figures on the covers that are painted, he has that skillset and brings it to Magic.
Patron of the Vein by Tommy Arnold
Welcome to all of them!