Monday, October 30, 2017
MTGinktober comes together for Day 29, "United," starring Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, who together affirmatively declare their Drafting strategy: "No Wyvern, no Kithkins!"
As I've noted before, there are a couple "wish list" concepts I want to draw that I keep in mind and wait for the perfect prompt to come along so I can implement it. The number one thing I wanted to draw this year was a spoof of The Professional, or is it called Leon?, a movie everyone loves but which I've never actually seen (I don't see very many movies). So when "United" came up, I thought of drawing something showcasing like a team dynamic, which got me to my old movie spoof idea, but the eternal question: who to cast...are there any partners in Magic with drastic size differences and with a father-daughter sort of relationship? Who knows, but I went with Ajani and Elspeth. It was double delicious that this Ajani has the actual word "mentor" in his card name, and as far as I gather, they were in a somewhat teacher-learner relationship with familial undertones.
I was absolutely torn on how to spoof the movie. Thinking back to our movie parody last year, the Vess siblings and Garruk goofing on My Neighbor Totoro, I felt obligated to do a famous, iconic scene rather than just modern-clad our heroes in an original pose. So my base options were to do a movie poster send-up if such an iconic image exists, or do a more iconic scene from the movie. It came down to doing either the iconic shot of them walking down the street with the potted plant versus the famous scene of them training a gun on something off camera. I went with the latter, and am pretty sure I punted that decision tree, since, upon reflection while writing this, I can only but deem the street scene "iconic" while the gun scene is merely "famous."
Fun Facts: This piece presented all kinds of decisions on how to reconcile two vastly disparate source materials. Do you dress them strictly as the movie characters and risk overpowering their Magicness? Do you dress them as Magic characters and risk muddying the reference? Do you keep a key, but anachronistic prop like the gun or settle for a more relevant proxy? I met the costuming somewhat halfway by including both sources, and gave Magic the go-ahead on the weapon, swapping out the gun for Godsend, the very weapon Elspeth uses in the Theros story. I had to craft the spear considerably stubbier to fit on my reduced size page, even in landscape mode (I ran out of pages on my bigger-sized sketchbooks as of Day 25 "Ship!").
Easter Eggs: I decided to keep them basically dressed in their respective Magic duds, but kept only minimal nods to their cinematic counterparts. Ajani has Leon's beanie and iconic glasses, Elspeth has Mathilda's knit cap. I obviously modeled her face after Natalie Portman's, but we kinda relied on the sheer size difference between them to echo the movie's age difference, but it's supposed to be at least ballpark current in-game ages. Though I guess, isn't the point that Natalie Portman's chacter desses a little older than her age might suggest? Either way, I would presume either character would be wearing the same armor as adult Elspeth anyway. The background is pretty much what you see in that famous still from the movie, though I added the date, 1029 and 2017, as well as 1337 as numbers on the directory placard.