Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Experimental Aviator

-By Jesper Ejsing

Here is my first card for the Magic set called Kaladesh. The setting is an Indian inspired mechanical-like universe.

The description asked for a Thopter Mechanic with a propeller on his back jumping off from a roof top to go flying with his small thopter inventions. The mood is happy and not dangerous.

I had a lot of ideas that all looked dangerous as if he was taking a leap of faith instead of having fun. The sketch I ended up using is this one underneath. I liked the focus of the illustration having lots of lines pointing in towards his face. the foreshortening of the body and torso I chose to add the most action. The tilted perspective and the looking up into the towers gives us a feeling of being high up from the ground. I already new I had to do some motion blur to simulate a rotor movement in the propeller blades, but put the decisions on how to do that off for later.

I transferred the sketch to board and started reworking the line art. I moved the thopters around to get the best angle for them to not have too many tangent lines but also to have them overlap the figure. the sketch had them nicely separated from the figure thus not really explaining where they were in the 3d space. having them overlap the figure shows that they are not that big and they help create depth in the image. i also elaborated on the shapes of the equipment and made the cloth even bigger and blowing randomly in the wind and movement: perhaps too much, since now they would be tangled in the rotor blades, but hey, flying is dangerous.

When I started painting on top of the black and white version I gently used washes to tone it all in a warm yellow/brown. the first wash you can still see in the shadow parts of the clouds. then I shaped the clouds out by painting an almost flat light blue all over the sky. I finished all of the background and the buildings with the figure masked out by masking film. When I peeled away the masking film it is always a bit exciting to see how it looks, because after this stage there is almost no going back to the background.

The last thing I did was dry brushing the motion blur. I did it by adding paint to a medium brush and then with my nails pressing the hairs flat to create a fan like shape.


  1. How many sketches do you usually have to go through with Wizards before the art director approves a direction? How hands on are they?

  2. It depends. If I do a good job, they usually say go with it, unless I down right draw something that is wrong, like wings on a nonflying creature or something

  3. Incredible how your art has turned the last few years, I see more crazy angles, more dynamic composition.
    You have always bin good, but you must really have challenged yourself to begin on these wild comps and angles:D