13 Jun 2012

Card Alteration: Complete

SOMETHING IS GOING on amongst the gamers in Europe. And I like it.

Back when I was painting card art regularly, I got asked to sign a lot of cards, particularly Magic and Middle Earth cards. Companies like Wizards of the Coast would ship me around the country to sign cards at game store events, and conventions regularly brought me in as Artist Guest of Honor. I was the artist guest at a convention in Düsseldorf, Germany and, to my unending delight, I attended Día de Joc in Barcelona, Spain. I love to travel and completely fell in love with Spain. I brought home half of Germany’s castles, one snapshot at a time, as photo-reference for future paintings.

I would post one of those photos for you, but can I find them right now? Hell no. I have been reorganizing my house recently, and I distinctly remember putting them “away” … somewhere. They’re probably next to the white back artist proofs I also cannot find.

However, both the tree and ruined walls of the MtG painting below were inspired by some of those photos. Yup, that’s a real tree.

Magic the Gathering, MtG, card art, painting, Germany, tree, ruins, medieval

Today, I travel less but still get asked to sign cards by mail. Nearly half come from the EU, especially Germany and Spain. I have no idea if that’s coincidence or not, but I think it’s cool.

ALTERATIONS
What I think is even cooler is that the lively gaming culture overseas seems to be enjoying  something I don’t hear much about in the States: card alterations.

What is it? The original artist is asked to extend, expand or otherwise further develop an existing card (usually a Magic card) on the card itself. We’ve been asked to do little sketches on cards for years, but this is a full-blown painting. Just very, very small.

If one paints only within the picture’s “frame” that appears on the card, the “canvas” is 1.75 x 2″ (about 4.5 x 5cm). The “big” alterations use the whole face of the card, painting over the text. Those are 2.25 x 3.25″ (about 5.7 x 8.25cm).

Today I finished my first. And I’m pretty stoked.

WHAT D’YA THINK?
The “Merchant Scroll” card seems to have a following, to judge by the people who send me stacks of them to sign. (Okay, maybe not as many as the Portents I signed, very very belatedly.) Back in February, a fan from Italy sent me Merchant Scrolls and Hymn to Tourachs to sign, and asked how much a full alteration would cost.

Magic the Gathering, ccg, collectible card games, trading card games, original art

Andrea Palma and I struck a deal, and he has been both patient and generous. He asked for a pirate theme, which made it more appealing too — never dismiss the importance of piquing the artist’s interest in a project!

I’ve been damned busy so even though it was a very small job, I didn’t get around to it for a long while. (Okay, the Portent signings took me three years. This was a lot quicker, but even though that was an unusual case, such a delay is exactly why I ask people not to send me cards unless they’re willing to be patient.)

Here is the final result:

painting, scroll, pirate, pirate map, skull, magic the gathering

Doing this was a lot of fun. The small size was challenging but it was still fun. If you’re interested in having me do a card alteration for you, drop me a line (liz at lizdanforth dot com).

CAVEAT
Please take note that I can’t do anything soon. I have started writing for Wasteland 2, and my brain is boiling over like the stew pot on a stove turned up ‘way too high. When I need to let ideas simmer, or just take a step back, I switch off to the art table where I’m working on a private commission that has been on my plate since last fall. Writing and art use different parts of my brain, and this helps keep me sane. Just as weird, but sane.

Still, I wouldn’t mind the chance to do more alterations. This was a hoot. If you are interested and you can be patient, give me a holler.

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5 Responses to Card Alteration: Complete

  1. Jess Hartley says:

    I just got back into playing after about a 15 year hiatus. I always keep an eye out for cards that are done by folks I know! 🙂 It’s always a joy to go through stuff friends have given me and find one of your cards!

    • Liz Danforth says:

      That’s cool, Jess! Bring them to Heroes & Villains July 8th (M13 Pre-release event) and I’d be delighted to sign anything of mine you have! Would be great to see you again too. 🙂

  2. Ghods this is SO weird! I just did a card design (Front & Back) for Chuck Kraver who is about to release MAGIC ART SKETCH CARDS, so that artist can do art on a blank card with a border. The back looks like the back of the Magic Card (almost). Anyway You’ll be hearing from him soon as at the very least he’ll want to have you do a custom card for his own personal Magic deck (He’s a HUGE player) And who knows what else…

  3. Gaw-jee-us!

    Now my brain is spinning again …

  4. Pingback: The Hazards of Reference Photos | Oakheart by Liz Danforth