Thursday, April 28, 2011

You've Sprung A Leak!

Or at least, your spell has. Incidentally, this was my very first alter (and it shows).

"Your attack has been rendered harmless. It is, however, quite pretty."

A Farewell to Black Borders

WTS Revised/3rd edition white-bordered Stoneforge Mystic, NM condition. Any takers?

No? Okay, how about one with an extended frame?

Mind Over Body

So the colossal disaster that was my first Stoneforge Mystic's background made me realize I need a lot more practice on backgrounds. So here's a Sword of Body and Mind where my goal was to alter not the focus of the original artwork (the weapon), but rather, the background.

It still needs a bit of touch-up around the hilt and handle, but I doubt I'll come back to this one unless someone offers to buy it or I get really, really bored (hey, I told you all I'm pretty flaky when it comes to this stuff).

On a related note, I'd really like to do up a Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of War and Peace like this, and I currently have a few ideas swimming around in my skull. However, I'm always open to suggestions, so if you think you've got a good idea, comment below!

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Beleren."

The first step I take is taping down the card and erasing every part I'm not interested in keeping. This is accomplished using a white-stock Magic Rub hand eraser (I've never used pink ones, but I imagine there is considerable risk of staining). The card is taped down in a manner which protects the areas I don't wish to accidentally erase (in most cases, the name box and text box):

With enough dedication (and a slight risk of Carpal Tunnel), the entire card can be erased with this tedious (but ultimately rewarding) technique. This makes applying paint layers later-- particularly light colors-- much easier, and lessens the chance that you'll have to 'cake' on paint to hide the original image.

Now its time to draw our image (in this case, the Stoneforge). When dealing with expensive cards (this one, for example, went for $25 at the time of creation), I prefer to practice a few times so I properly centered when the pencil touches the card proper.

Sometimes, I even make a practice run on a dummy card.

Oh, no, not Seize the Initiative! It only had two days till retirement!

Eventually, I reach a point where I am confident enough to lay out the art on the actual card.

Perfect! Well, close enough, at least. Anyway, now its time to start painting. This is where those practice sketches can come in handy, as they allow me to test run tones, shading, and generally how I want the finished work to turn out.

Background comes afterwards.

And then, finally, a little ink to make the image "pop" a bit more.

And voila, there you have it!

The Stone Nuts

Maybe it's just me, but I totally love the gal on Stoneforge Mystic. I also love drawing action pieces, swords, and women. So doing altered "close-ups" of Standard's leading lady seemed like a match made in Heaven.

The first thing I learned when I began my formal art education was to plan ahead. The last thing you want to do is get elbow(finger?)-deep in a piece and realize something's off with the anatomy, design, or composition. Here are some of the many concept sketches I came up with while brainstorming:

I ended up going with the pose in the upper left corner of the last page shown. Up next after the break: How to forge a Mystic using a pen and paintbrush.

It Begins - "Gideon Wayne"

Although I have considered myself an artist since adolescence, this blog is to keep track of a hobby I have recently started that combines two things I love: creating art and Magic the Gathering.

I am, by nature, somewhat mercurial when it comes to things like deadlines and consistent schedules, so its my hope that by keeping a visual record of my work, I'll be more inclined to alter at a regular, steady pace.

It also just so happens that this is the best way I could come up with to show off what I've done in a neat, tidy little corner of the internet where others can come browse, shop, or contact me for their own commissions. :)

So let's kick it off with my very first alter-- its a bit of a running gag in my playgroup that, whenever Gideon uses his +2 ability, his controller growls "Swear to me!" which is apparently some sort of line from the Dark Knight or something. Regardless, I've always felt Batman and Gideon had a lot in common-- two men made of the sternest stuff in the Multiverse, utterly dedicated to their principles:

So, anyway, this was my first "real" alter, but I had so much fun doing it (and it was so relatively effortless) that I can't wait to do more. Wish me luck.