Welcome to our weekly interview series number 45!
This week we talked with artist Livia Prima who started working on the game recently and already painted some fantastic pieces for Magic.
Here's what Livia told us.
Hi Livia. Tell us a little about your journey into art, and how you got started on Magic more specifically?
When I was an eight-year-old ballerina, I joined a drawing competition that was held by the ballet studio as their anniversary event. A friend of mine used some oil pastel called Carand'ache to color her drawing, and I was amazed by how vibrant the colors were. It was my turning point. I asked my parents to help me to find where to get it.
Since then, I routinely joined kids drawing competitions every weekend and brought those oil pastels as my tool. I decided to choose art as my career path. Later on, I discovered other mediums, such as oil paint, acrylic paint, charcoal, watercolor, etc...and kept experimenting with them. Until 9 years ago, someone told me about DeviantArt and said that we could make a living with art.
I started taking personal commissions and built my portfolio. In 2014, I met Lius Lasahido and he invited me to build a team called Polar Engine Studio. He was already a Magic Artist by that time. He told me that I could have a chance to become one as well, and suggested to send my portfolio to Wizards. Lucky me, here I am now :)
Were you familiar with the game before?
No, I was introduced to the game when the boys at the studio were playing it.
Give us a brief description of your painting process for Magic cards.
I imagine the scene described by the Art Director while searching for something in my visual library that can relate to it. Then I experiment with the poses, google some references, or take some photos. After that, I move to Photoshop and do rough sketches. If I feel like the pose, composition, lighting, etc matches the mood of the card, I'm ready to go to the rough color and rendering stage.
Yes, of course! :) There are so many wonderful Liliana and Vraska paintings. My favourite Liliana is the one painted by Wesley Burt, and my favorite Vraska is the one by Greg Rutkowski. I am glad that I could paint amazingly designed characters while still implementing my own art style.
What can you tell us about your two new cards from War of the Spark?
My first card is Single Combat, depicting an epic fight between Sorin and Nahiri. It must be dynamic, full of motion. I like their relationship in the story, and their character designs as well. It's a little pressure, though, since I want them to look cool for their fans :D
I love the work you did on Angel of Dawn, particularly the colors and composition. How did you arrive at that?
Angels is one of my favorite subjects to paint. They are beautiful, strong, unique, elegant, and have wings! Angel of Dawn's presence benefits everything around her, and I want that majestic feeling to reach the viewer. Her spread out wings and the warm lighting really helps to elevate the mood :)
What type of card would you like to paint (and still have not)?
Well, I think I am happy to paint any type of cards. The moment when a brief that comes syncs with my current mood, everything flows, it's what makes me excited. But I'm always up for something beautiful, powerful, creepy, or a little quirky.
What’s something unique to working on the Magic: The Gathering IP?
Each character design is unique, and has a story on its own. One character can be drawn by many artists, and we can see variety of depictions and styles, which is really interesting. Well, we can't help but play favorites-- but it what makes the anticipation to paint them exciting!
What was the most challenging card to paint so far?
I can say that it's my first card! Ley Weaver and Lore Weaver for Battlebond). I was so nervous and tried to achieve a different style of painting. Luckily, I have friends in the studio who gave me some mental support :D
Where can our readers find more about your work?