Dusk to Dawn How I Create Art for Magic: The Gathering

I have the distinct pleasure to show off a new card from Magic: The Gathering’s Amonkhet that features my art: Dusk to Dawn (aka Dusk // Dawn). This was a unique assignment with a lot of special challenges. I had to make two different pieces that would be both distinct and similar. And they needed to be easy to see at an incredibly small size.

I hope you’ll check out the video to get a good look at how I create these images. And if you’d like them to be a permanent feature in your home, head on over to buy a print of Dusk or Dawn. Want a pretty artist proof of this or to have your copy signed? I’ll be exhibiting and playing at GP Richmond on May 5-7, so come on by.



Art briefs

These are the briefs that I’m sent to work with. The “Worldguide” referred to here is a 300~ page document of art and writing that helps to define the look of the entire set. No, I can’t show you that.

Art ID: 401039
Art Title: [Dawn]
Size: 1938 x 1138 pixels • Sketch Due: 5/2/2016 • Final Due: 5/20/2016

Art Description:
Setting: AMONKHET (Barrel & Laughs Worldguide)
Color: White spell
Location: Desert ruins (see p. 65)
Action: This piece, together with the linked piece [Dusk] (Art ID #401035), show the suns of this world with two different moods. For [Dawn], we want a mood that’s glorious and bright. Again rays project outward from this sun, but here the light is hopeful and warm.
Focus: The second sun in its glorious “dawn”
Mood: Everything’s going to be okay!


Art ID: 401035
Art Title: [Dusk]

Size: 3334 x 1243 pixels • Sketch Due: 5/2/2016 • Final Due: 5/20/2016

Art Description:
Dusk: It’s never actually night here, but use sand/clouds to create late afternoon light
Dawn: Glorious and bright.
Beams of sand and dust and cracked land vs. beams of beautiful sunlight

Setting: AMONKHET (Barrel & Laughs Worldguide)
Color: White spell
Location: Desert ruins (see p. 65)
Action: This piece, together with the linked piece [Dawn] (Art ID #401039), show the suns of this world with two different moods. For [Dusk], we want a mood that’s ominous, grim, and harsh. Show the first sun low in the sky, partly clouded by a destructive sandstorm. Rays project outward from the sun through the sand-clouds, and winds blast outward in the same pattern, looking like the sun itself is scouring the world.
Focus: The sun in its sandstorm “dusk”
Mood: Apocalyptic. Destructive.


Thumbnails

I never show these to my art director. Because they’re always a bit of a mess.


Sketches

These are the sketches I send over to my art director for approval. The Dawn sketch is a slightly revised one, actually, as the first one I sent him was a bit too dark.


Resources

  • I use Kyle’s brushes for nearly everything I paint these days. They’re so, so damn good. Pick up his megapack and then try out “oil canvas 2.” It’ll change your life.
  • Check out my youtube channel for more free recordings of my painting process.
  • If you’d like to learn more about how to paint, I run my own self-directed online art education program at Art Camp.
  • Special thanks to Dexter Britain for the awesome music in the video.
  • I’m painting on a Surface Book with a cheap little Wacom Bamboo tablet. I’ve since upgraded to a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet, but honestly there’s not that much of a difference. And all of my work is done in Photoshop because I’m too stubborn to learn a new painting program after all these years.