This week we asked Craig Spearing, Joseph Meehan, Melissa Benson, Hugh Pindur and Lie Setiawan the same question.
Here are their choices.
Izzy Medrano's Goblin Diplomats (M14 Core set) never fails to make me laugh. From an artistic standpoint it's an exercise in simplicity, the composition is bold and minimal, depicting everything it needs to and nothing else.
The goblins are hilarious, oozing in character, and rendered beautifully. The card is the perfect marriage between illustration and flavor text: "When you need to convey that special kind of message".
A Magic artist that I've always admired is Richard Wright. His compositions are impeccable and he's created a few cityscapes, for Magic and other clients, that boggle the mind. They are so incredibly deep and detailed, I don't even know how he does them.
That being said, my favorite work of his is Oketra [Austere Command]. The background is reduced to basically 3 elements, red sky, gray clouds, gray buildings, and Oketra herself is reduced to basically 4 elements, gray-green, light gray, gold, and then the hot spot where the light is hitting her.
The entire illustration could be reduced to 7 colors and there would be little effect when printed on the card.
This is the mark of someone who has mastered composition. Of course, there is still eye candy for people who take the time to find the high resolution version. There is a barely perceptible, yet rich, texture applied to Oketra and the pyramids behind her. Another reason I picked this illustration out of all of his is because I was called upon to do a very similar one for Amonket, the invocation of Hazoret the Fervent. I liked mine in the end, but when I saw his I thought, "oh, that's how you do it."
Quinton [Hoover] is my favorite Magic artist. His line work and his organic Art Nouveau style really does it for me. And his inking style is so graceful, so lyrical. We used to email back and forth a lot and every now and then he would send an attachment of something he just tossed off to warm up. It was humbling and inspiring at the same time. It is hard to pick just one card, but if I had to … it would be either Earthbind or Nettling Imp.
Sidharth Chaturvedi's Daring Archaeologist is hands down, my favourite art for MtG. There are no bells and whistles here. No special effects or spectacular lighting. Just solid storytelling. Everything from the camera angle, the subdued color palette, the simple top down lighting and the warm vs cold value structure all work together to pull the focus into towards the character.
The stressed fingertip grip paired with the focused facial expression further add to the tension and drama created by the camera angle. This image contains nothing more and nothing less than what is required.
...This is hard...but after giving it a lot of thought, I must say Chris Rahn's Ajani Steadfast art is my favourite among all other awesome art in magic.
Everything about the piece is very well thought out: the posing, the color choices, the dragon in the sky, and my fave is the way he chooses to make the mountains in the far back lit in orange light :)