Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Every One Counts

-By Jesper Ejsing

This article is almost like a pep-talk to myself. One that I pull forth once in a while to beat myself into submission and productivity. You might as well listen in while I tell myself these handfuls of uneasy truths.

One of the magic card illustrations that came together and really made me think: "This is where I am going"

I make some 50 paintings a year.

to be more precise I do around a cover a month, 2 card art illustration and some extra concept art or interior illustrations. Lets say I do 5 paintings a month. I deduct about a month a year to make up for vacation and christmas and what not. That leaves me with 55 paintings a year. Give and take.

In my part of the world, namely Denmark I am expected to live until I am 77 years old. That is if I do not drink myself to death or drive like a madman. Well I don't.

The total amount of paintings I got left is 2035...

This brings me to what I am about to say. If my next painting is number 2034 I better well have to make it a good one. Every painting that doesn't succeed is one wasted number in a fast eroding line of artwork. Another way to say it is: Out of the 55 paintings a year I usually hit goal around 3 to 4 times a year. I have 4 that I really like and that makes me proud. 4 pieces where I wouldn't wanna change a thing or where I cannot find it in me to correct anything. These paintings I hang on my wall to have a stearing point of where I am going and to remind me of what is working and what I did right.

So what about the rest? Most of them are good or okay, but just not raising above average.

but are they wasted? They better not be. I try to make every mistake count in some way too. If I am about to finish a painting and I get the feeling that this one is not a homerun I analyse what went wrong. Is it the composition, the figure drawing, the story, the lack of story, the design or colors? I pause and take a good long look at it. It is like watching your face in the mirror looking for pimples. I note down to myself what I could have done better, what is wrong and make damn well sure I imply it to number 2033.

“Jesper; learn from your mistakes, and make every painting count!”

These are some of the paintings that I like. Not necessarily the best ones but definitely the ones where I had the feeling of going a step up the ladder.

Cover for Dragon Magazine

Magic the Gathering

Magic the Gathering

Dungeon Quest, Fantasy Flight Games

Sea of Blood. Fantasy Flight Games

Magic the Gathering


  1. Great post! Never really considered there might be a finite number of paintings left to do... bugger! :)

  2. I think you're doing great, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back somewhere in the midst of all that pep talkin'! I'm learning a lot about color tonality from your work. I really admire how you use the same colors for the background and the subject, but they are more than just one hue. Is that a standard procedure in illustration art? (I'm just learning...)

  3. After a week of hard and dedicated work on a project you dont rly enjoy, yet you have to make look awesome note this "1 done, 2032 to go...":D Joke aside- I am not trying to make you commit suicide here. What I rly mean is that your work is already great, every illustrator would be proud of calling pieces like yours their own.In time only a handful will rly count though. Most ppl wont be able to tell you any other works of Leonardo than Mona Lisa, yet they all know him.Not everything we do is going to be great, but if in a 100 years I am remembered with even one piece, this will make it worth it for me.

  4. Inspiring words, embracing the inevitable end of .... yourself.

  5. A great post. And great collection works. :)

  6. Thanks for the thoughtful post. But what I really want to say is that dragon image on the top of the list is so damn beautiful!

  7. Rough! I wouldn't expect anything less from an artist of your caliber. I rather see the paintings you didn't like.


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