Fan Favorite Friday #27: ART!

Hello, my faithful Fan Favorite Friday fanatics! We’re officially back for the new year after taking a week to recoup and take care of some things around the office.

There’s lots of awesome stuff happening around ABU this year, and I’m super pumped! Have you heard about our new Cash Rewards system? If not, definitely head over to the site and check it out, it’s been crazy around here as we roll it out!

For this week, instead of having a traditional face-off between two cards, I asked people on our Facebook page to post their favorite Magic art! I’ve been thinking a lot about the art aspect of Magic lately, and I really wanted to just immerse myself in it for a week – and boy did ya’ll deliver! I had a very beautiful week. For this week’s article, I’ll be highlighting five of my favorite pieces of Magic Art/Magic Artists, then showing off the most popular pieces from the Facebook posts we made asking to see your favorites. At the end is a gallery with most of the submissions for you to peruse because there were a ton of awesome pieces!

First, though, I’m sure you’re wondering who won the Sol Rings and the random packs from last time, right? I guess we should take care of that first! Check it:

  • Clint Bounds – Dominaria Pack!
  • Chris Moose Nelson – UMA Pack!
  • Kyle Monson – Guilds of Ravnica Pack!
  • Trevor Thomas – Core 19 Pack!
  • John Barrie – Dominaria Pack!
  • Matthew Wright – Guilds of Ravnica Pack!
  • Tim Jeffers – Core 19 Pack!
  • Gene Chandler – Playset of Sol Rings!

Congratulations all, and thank you so much for your comments! Just let the retail desk know that you won something from the column and they can get it out of my office for you. If you aren’t local, just shoot us a message on Facebook and we’ll figure out the best way to get your prize to you!

And I guess you would probably like to know what we’ll be giving away this time? Well, check that too:

It’s this sick Pattern of Rebirth Playmat! Look at how cool that art is!

So, how do you win the mat? Well, I’m still in the mood to see some sweet art so let’s do this:

  • Make sure you like the ABU Games Facebook Page
  • Like the post featuring this article
  • Share┬áthat post!
  • Comment on that post or in the comments here and show me your favorite piece of Terese Nielsen art (since she’s the brilliant artist behind the art on the playmat.) You’ve got quite a bit to choose from!

So, back to the art! I was thinking about my very first interactions with Magic cards the other day, and how it was definitely the art that got me into the game in the first place. I may not have started playing Magic until around M13, but I was buying myself packs back in 7th Edition!

Back around then, my stepsister and I would scrounge up all the change we had every weekend and walk down to the 7/11 that was a couple of blocks away to get snacks and stuff. During one of those excursions, I noticed that they had a few boxes of something called Magic cards. I wasn’t very familiar with the game, only having briefly seen some at a friend’s house before, but I was super attracted to the art. The Fantasy genre bug had bitten me super hard by that age, and I devoured every cool Fantasy looking thing that came my way.

So naturally, my snack money ended up going towards 7th edition packs (and the occasional Judgement pack) from our trusty 7/11. I had no idea how to play the game, but I knew how to collect cards from my Pokemon days! I’d carefully open up the packs, try not to drool over all of the awesome art, and then carefully sleeve them up in binder pages. I’d take that binder out frequently just to flip through the cards and imagine all of the crazy worlds the art depicted (I had no idea about the actual lore for many years, but my headcanon was pretty rad.) I definitely checked that binder again years later for any mad value, but I hadn’t gotten lucky with anything sweet money-wise. I still have most of those cards in their original binder to this day!

One of my fondest Grand Prix memories ever also has to do with Magic art. I was at Grand Prix Vegas in 2017, just getting ready to leave the convention hall for the last time and head back to Idaho with my friends. We had seen the signs all around the building advertising a Magic Art show but had been too busy playing most of the weekend to check it out. One of my best friends who was with us (who also happens to work at ABU too all these years later) had studied art in college and was dying to see the art show. We decided to pop in “real quick” to check it out, and ended up leaving the convention center something like two plus hours later!

I was in complete awe as I walked through the show. There were tons of original pieces of Magic art from some of my favorite cards, and even cooler – they had tons of artist concept sketches everywhere! It was so cool to see behind the scenes of a lot of really great Magic pieces and get a glimpse into the journey the artists take in designing their work. It was actually pretty overwhelming for us I think because we definitely walked out of there with dazed looks in our eyes and big smiles on our faces! If anything like that happens at an event near you, I implore you to check it out if you are at all even slightly interested in awesome art – it was AMAZING.

One of the coolest things I got to see (in my opinion) was an original piece from one of my favorite artists – Kev Walker, which will lead us into “The List” (which is NOT in an order of preference):

Kev Walker

If you were to put a gun to my head and demand I spit out the name of my favorite Magic artist in the next five seconds, Kev Walker is one of the most likely names to come spilling out of my mouth. There’s just something about his style that really does it for me, especially when it comes to goblins (that Mad Max-esque goblin token made me SO HAPPY)! I’m always excited about new Kev Walker art, even if it isn’t goblin related. The piece I got to see when I was at the art show was for Crocodile of the Crossing, which as gorgeous as it is on a card, looked even better in person! What an amazing piece! You can check out a bigger version of the art right below this paragraph, next to the first piece of Kev Walker art I remember latching on to – the amazingly hilarious Goblin Grenade!

Crocodile of The Crossing by Kev Walker (c) Wizards of the Coast

Goblin Grenade by Kev Walker (c) Wizards of the Coast

Jeff Miracola

I remember getting a moment to chat with Jeff Miracola at one of my first ever Grand Prix, and he was such an awesome dude! I always try to pick up a few things from the Artist Alley when I’m at a GP, but I definitely went ham at Miracola’s table, picking up his art book, some artist proofs, and a copy of one of his art books! I think he has a super awesome, unique style of painting and I’m always happy to see his name on a card. One of my favorite MTG prints I have is of his Raging Goblin art. It always brings a smile to my face when I see it hanging on my wall!

Raging Goblin by Jeff Miracola (c) Wizards of the Coast

Terese Nielsen

I don’t think you can have a conversation about awesome Magic art without someone bringing up Terese Nielsen – and for good reason! She’s an absolute legend in the Magic world, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of Nielsen art I wasn’t in love with. I love how you can just stare at her pieces forever and just get lost in them. Her eye for composition is amazing! Trying to think of my favorite piece of hers would be a fool’s errand, so I’m going to put up her Dryad Militant art because O’Berry surprised me with a print of it after one of our Vegas GP trips. I’ve also played the card in many different Standard and Modern decks, so it holds a super special place in my heart.

Dryad Militant by Terese Nielsen (c) Wizards of the Coast

Rebecca Guay

Another name that is bound to come up in that theoretical discussion about Magic art is Rebecca Guay, who is another absolute powerhouse when it comes to Magic art! I adore Guay’s style so much; it’s so distinctive and beautiful. Seriously, do yourself a favor and type her name into a Google search and just get lost in all of the amazing stuff she’s done, you won’t regret it! In particular, I really love the way she depicts the fae in MTG, with Bitterblossom and Spellstutter Sprite standing out as two of my favorite cards featuring her art. Look at how gorgeous they are!

Bitterblossom by Rebecca Guay (c) Wizards of the Coast

Spellstutter Sprite by Rebecca Guay (c) Wizards of the Coast

RK Post

If you ever get into a conversation about Magic art with me in particular, you better bet your bacon that I’ll bring up RK Post. His art almost never makes it on cards I actually play, but I think I still own more pieces of RK Post art than I do any other artist! I make it a point to stop by his table at every GP event I go to, and I almost always leave with a handful of his gorgeous custom tokens. Any time I’m even thinking about making a new deck that’s going to require tokens I make sure to snap up ones by him to go with them (I have SO MANY RK Post goblin tokens ya’ll.) I also have a really cool cute Cthulu print hanging above my bed that I picked up at one of my earliest GPs.

Another one of my favorite GP memories is getting to go to an art talk that he did with my friend Adam. I feel like we were two of the only people who actually made it to the talk because it was on one of the last days and everyone seemed to be walking around like zombies, but it was such a cool talk! He covered how he got into making art in general, working with Wizards, and all sorts of stuff. He’s an awesome speaker, and both Adam and I left the talk super inspired. It’s hard to pick a piece of his for this, but I’m going to go with Tidehollow Sculler because it’s the one I’ve played the most!

Tidehollow Sculler by rk post (c) Wizards of the Coast

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the popular pieces from our Facebook post!

Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering by Noah Bradley

Thomas Bowers posted this awesome piece by Noah Bradley, and I really liked what he had to say about it:

The drama, the lore, the color palette...Yawgmoth's intimidating stature, the blood from Urza's severed head, the body of the false Hanna resting in the center of the frame....it's so freaking epic.

I think he’s very, very right. What an awesome, awe-inspiring piece of art! I love how now that I take a closer look there are so many intricate details I missed at first glance.

Time of Ice by Franz Vohwinkel

John Barrie posted this awesome saga art by Franz Vohwinkel, and I immediately kicked myself for not taking a closer look at the art when I was actively ripping open Dominaria packs. Look at how stunning it is! I think all of the sagas are pretty good looking, but holy cow this one is cool!

Indestructible Aura by Mark Poole

Another piece that got a ton of love in the post was this awesome bit of art from the legendary Mark Poole, submitted by Anthony Swenson. This piece makes me giggle every time I see it – it’s so cool! It’s so vibrant, and who doesn’t think a gnarly bird-headed fellow who probably likes to rock out is as cool as it gets? I would love to know more about the Theodar character referenced in the flavor text of the card, so all you lore junkies out there be sure to hit me up with those details if you have them!

In Conclusion:

Holy moly! Looking at all this art was so cool this week. I want to thank you all so much for commenting and discussing art in my posts this last week, it was really cool to see all of your favorites! There’s still plenty of pieces getting posted that didn’t make it into the article due to time constraints, but keep them coming! I love it!

Check out this gallery for most of the submitted works:

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Joe Davidson is the Content Production Manager at ABU Games. When he's not playing Modern, Legacy, or following around Team ABU with a camera he's pursuing a BFA in Fiction at Boise State University. He loves Goblins, casting burn spells, and writing about Magic. You can find him on Twitter @MTGJoeD.