Friday, June 10, 2016

Recent Magic: the Gathering Art

I am catching up on posting some of the recent work I have done for Magic: the Gathering!

Starting with the most recent card to release - Enlightened Tutor done for the Eternal Masters set.

I submitted a couple sketches for this image.  Note the cover of the book.  The tree felt a little too LotR for the card, but I think I ended up with a better solution on the final anyways.

The cover ended up with a couple doves with gold threads in their mouths as golden inlay.  The reason this worked out well was WotC (Cynthia Shepherd was my wonderful AD for this card) gave me the green light to give a nod to a previous card I had done, all the way back in 2007.  It was the 6th card I had done for Magic, and was titled Idyllic Tutor so I felt it would make a nice Easter egg on Enlightened Tutor, tying the two together. 

Below is the Idyllic Tutor card done in 2007 that is referenced on the book above.

Next up is Stoic Builder, released as part of the Shadows Over Innistrad set. AD was the most excellent Dawn Murin for this card and the next two as well.

The rough sketch

The final.  I really enjoyed painting this card.  I stylized the figure and face a little more than I normally do and it is always fun to get in and paint the buckles and leather.  I wanted to give him that face you see on those who work in the sun all day with a hat, but when they take it off you get this great transition from fair skin to sun worn cheeks and nose.

A gif to show the progression of the painting.  I didn't save out as many steps as I normally do... so his head kind of pops in finished, but hopefully it is still interesting.

Flameblade Angel done for Shadows Over Innistrad.  I don't have any progressions for this one.  I did use some 3D in this piece for the cathedral, rendering out a greyscale image in Blender and then painting over it in the background.

Below is the rough sketch for Clip Wings also in the Shadows Over Innistrad set.

The final

and a progression from sketch to final.

You might recognize that the redheaded angel is the same in the two paintings above.  I have also used the same character in a couple previous cards for MtG, Angel of Flight Alabaster and Angel of Finality.  It is not canon for MtG, but it was fun to imagine a narrative behind the character, progressing from the upper left, upper right, lower left and bottom right.

Thank you for taking a look!  I love doing work for MtG.  Wonderful art directors there (Jeremy Jarvis, the Senior Art Director is up for a Chesley Award this year, and Magic artists swept the Gaming category!)

Howard Lyon



  1. Seems a shame to post just saying the obvious but that's great work (as ever) Howard!
    Thanks for sharing the process, it really helps to see behind the scenes on a modern art workflow like this.

    1. Thank you Tom, I always appreciate your comments and participation. We still need to
      out a markup language for composition. :) I was thinking about that the other day.

      I am glad these posts are useful. I always enjoy it when other artists share some of the steps as well.

  2. This is great - I think most MTG players will agree with me that it's fantastic to get to take a look inside the art, since you don't always catch the details on a tiny piece of cardboard.

  3. Thank you for posting the process work.

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