Thursday, October 31, 2019


MTGinktober thrives into Day 31, "Ripe," starring Nissa, Vital Force and Utopia Tree!

AH! WE DID IT! This is only my second time clearing all 31 days! I feel like I really did level up this year, like I can draw better faster at long last (this has been a giant weight on my neck for the longest time). I’m feeling oddly emotional, like I just ended something dear, though. I guess it might be the fear that now that Inktober’s done, my big showcase moment every year, it’s more or less back to mediocrity, mundanity, and irrelevance, as most people don't care about my non-MTG artwork, to be perfectly frank. Plus there's the growing dread of having to give up art soon.

Fun Facts: This is actually Utopia Tree's second MTGinktober appearance, believe it or not, as our go-to fruit reference, since Foreboding Fruit felt too generic. And Nissa has actually only appeared once before, in our first year, 2016, one of my absolutely most popular pieces of all time. I decided to close with Nissa as a final gimme to people sticking it out over a month of obscure characters.

Easter Eggs: The background comes from Utopia tree, and as is custom, we hide our signature in the tree trunk.

Thanks so much for tuning in for MTGinktober and I hope to see you next year. Also, to celebrate hitting all 31 days, I'm down to do a couple requests, just email or message me and we'll see if we can make it happen (cool requests only).

Not normal,


Wednesday, October 30, 2019


MTGinktober scoops up Day 30, "Catch," starring Kiora, the Crashing Wave and Pelakka Wurm!

Oh, man home stretch, we're almost there! I'm actually kinda bummed--I don't really want to stop drawing these things. I am super tired, though, so I'm actually planning on just doing a couple bonus tracks on a more relaxed schedule. Speaking of exhaustion, this was our dreaded, third life lost, but again, we're on our last day, so we're definitely going for the 31.

Anyway, for the past couple days I've been trying to hit more popular characters as a salute to the people who've stuck with me through a relentless assault of characters nobody cares about, and this one in particular is dedicated to super user Areeghyol, who's been supportive for a good while now. He'd requested Kiora months ago, so she's been on my to-do list ever since, and today's her day. I wanted to include a miniaturized wurm as fishing bait for our merforlk behemoth seeker and went with fellow Zendikar denizen and recent scoop-inducer Pelakka Wurm.

Fun Facts: This is Kiora's second MTGinktober appearance, with her debut being one of my most popular pieces of 2017. The official Wizards Tumblr even reposted it, pretty insane. Doing that piece spooked me from drawing Kiora again because she's such a detail-intense character (mostly the headdress), but I definitely wanted to draw a Kiora for Areeghyol, so I bit the bullet.

Easter Eggs: I love Tyler Jacobson's art, especially his interpretation of Kiora, the Crashing Wave, but Scott M. Fischer's one of my absolute favorite artists, too, so I had to include a nod to his version with the little Japanese-style ukiyoe-e waves in the background from his version.

Not normal,


Tuesday, October 29, 2019


MTGinktober bleeds into Day 29, "Injured," starring Liliana, Heretical Healer and Stuffy Doll!

I try to cast less famous characters as much as possible for MTGinktober, but I thought I might "sell out" on these last few pieces after being pretty good about that so far, and as a treat to viewers who've been patiently hanging on this year. So I've been looking for an excuse to cast Liliana for a while, and this felt like a great spot, since it's a twist on her earlier healer days--she needs the healing, though I wanted to make sure to have her smiling through the pain. I didn't want to draw a battered Josu cuz he's kinda gross looking, so we needed a co-star...

Fun Facts: Since we were going to have a Liliana illustration dealing with pain that involves a supporting character, who better than Stuffy Doll for a prequel to their first illustration? So this is a depiction from their early days, when they'd chillax at cemeteries at night with impunity, knowing Stuffy always had her back.

Easter Eggs: A couple crows as a nod to the Raven Man. The little tombstone had the wrong date on it, but I caught it just before going to inks, fortunately. Roman numerals, huh.

Not normal,


Monday, October 28, 2019


MTGinktober rolls up on Day 28, "Ride," starring Huatli and her Raptor!

Heading into this one, I was going to draw Liliana riding a zombie, but that felt too similar to our season one entry for Transport, so I switched to a backup idea, an Akira poster spoof. The only tricky thing was deciding who was most famously a rider, possibly someone from Kaladesh associated with vehicles--but no one leapt to mind so that avenue was out--or Huatli and her dino pal, though we'd be stretching the strict expectation of a vehicle. But Huatli's my homegirl, so I was amped to get her her second MTGinktober appearance (also one of my most popular 2017 pieces).

I knew this would be an illustration with a ton of potential, as my Dragon Ball spoof went quite big, but wow, this one went huge on Twitter, the biggest response of anything I've posted there yet.

Fun Facts: I actually studied Akira in college, at Tokyo University, in fact. I watched the movie innumerable times, and yet I still don't quite understand it or even remember it terribly well! It's quite strange, but I guess college pressures you to churn through so much stuff so intensely over such a short period of time that sometimes it's hard for even stuff you analyze closely to stick with you. One of the deciding factors on doing this piece was it was a salute to my old senpai, the Tokyo Werewolf, who loves Akira.

Easter Eggs: Plugging in stickers was a treat. We've got Akira's air force star patch, an Ixalan sticker, Akira's Canon becomes Vance's Blasting Cannons (runner up was using "Common," but the double M was too lengthy and Catlacan additionally too obscure), and Citizen becomes Azcanta (Citizen is an obscure token in Magic, so I was entertaining keeping it as is). In lieu of a capsule logo on Huatli's back, since there's no reference for her from behind, I just mimicked her front design.

Not normal,


Sunday, October 27, 2019


MTGinktober fuzzes up Day 27, "Coat," starring Ayula, Queen Among Bears and Lil' Mowu!

I was struggling to think of a famous coat in Magic when I recalled Jace had a notable coat in Shadows Over Innistrad, but we here at MTGinktober have a strict "No Jace" policy, so that was out the window. Enter the alternative definition: an animal's fur. So then it became a more manageable quest to find an animal-animal creature to work with, rather than a more humanish animal like Mirri. I settled on Ayula since she felt most animally, though Arahbo mighta been a better choice for pure coat value.

Fun Facts: Mowu was deceptively more challenging than I had anticipated since each depiction of his is slightly but noticeably different, but I specifically leaned on the one from Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter. The downside to having such an animalish star is that it was a little tough to make her feel like more than your average bear without mirroring her official art, but hopefully we got innovative enough without alienating the source.

Easter Eggs: If doing a bear-themed piece, I had to throw in Forest Bear, obviously, that's a given, but I also included a nod to tha OG, my Grizzly Bears from when I started, the avatar of "Basic Early-Magic Creature," ubiquitous in all example scenarios introducing or clarifying the stack or basic strategy, via that card's famous, uprooted tree trunk.

Not normal,


Saturday, October 26, 2019


MTGinktober obfuscates into Day 26, "Dark," starring whatever the heck is going on in Word of Command!

Yeah, man, I'm super exhausted and thought this would be a nice change of pace to get some recovery time in, plus I was inspired to see some really sweet Word of Command alternate art for the MTGO avatar, so I know this art can have more going on than one would think initially.

Fun Facts: The only tricky part about this one was settling on an expression (I went for more of a sneer), and trying not to make my signature too blatant (tough). I basically never digitally fix MTGinktobers, no matter how much it pains me, aside from simply lightening whites and darkening blacks that already exist, but this is the first piece where, in order to save my dwindling ink supply, I filled in digital black to juice the surrounding shadows. This is also my first piece completed on one inkwell draw.

Easter Eggs: Nothing really, aside from roughing in some general facial shapes that I later shadowed over. I knew these details wouldn't make the final image, but I had ink loaded in my G-Pen to spare and thought I might as well get some live-ink hatching practice in.

Not normal,


Friday, October 25, 2019


MTGinktober chomps into Day 25, "Tasty," starring Oko, Thief of Crowns!

Dude, so crazy exhausted, I had to pass out shortly after completing pencils on this one, hence the teaser image I posted to the Dailies, but fortunately upon reading the prompt initially, I knew almost instantly I wanted to draw the infamous Oko of confectionery celebrity. This included Elk of course, but for added spice, I wanted them to resemble Standard-Elked creatures.

Assembling candidates for the Elkification was a fun little exercise in surveying what's hot in Standard, and I was super close to going with Embercleave as a curveball option for an Elked artifact, but that guy's already had an MTGinktober appearance, so I had to cut him like the blade he is--I mean what is he, Chandra?

Fun Facts: I used some more negative space techniques here, as I did with our Vraska piece this year, which is also another piece we had to delay into the following day, unfortunately. I feel like this is a game where you get three lives, after which it's game over, so maybe--I'm not sure--I'll call it if I ever miss another day. I'm on the fence because we're so close to closing out 31, and we're generally keeping good pace, but we'll see how defeated I feel should that come up.

Easter Eggs: The Elked creatures are homies you definitely wanna shut off as soon as you can, namely Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Paradise Druid. Unfortunately couldn't squeeze in a triple-headed Elk.

Not normal,


Thursday, October 24, 2019


MTGinktober spins into Day 24, "Dizzy," starring Prophet of Kruphix!

Yeah, this was a really tough one, man, I just couldn't think of anything! I had thought maybe something involving a dementia summoner hypnotizing someone, or even just involving Sadistic Hypnotist or Hypnotic Specter, but I dunno, that didn't really feel like the way to go. The general idea was to hypnotize the viewer, but beyond that, I didn't really know who to cast or what exactly to draw.

Fun Facts: Prophet of Kruphix is dear to me because for a while I had a little jank Standard deck with her to enable an instant Tromokratis so I could Chandra's Ignition it to wipe the board on my turn with counter backup and then swing assuredly for the win. I call these kinds of "creature + attachment = instant win" decks, which I have a fondness for, "Splinter Twin" decks. Most recently, my win of choice was a life-linking Famished Paladin and a Sorcerer's Wand.

Easter Eggs: Nothing really, as this is a pretty spare illustration, but the little smoking platter things are from the original card (tried to work in the promo version, but again, there just wasn't a whole lot to work with). I hid my signature in the one on the right, so there's that at least.

Not normal,


Wednesday, October 23, 2019


MTGinktober creaks into Day 23, "Ancient," starring Werewolf of Ancient Hunger and Ancient Grudge!

I wasn't sure if it would be either too clever or too easy to pick the covertly decrepit Liliana for this prompt, but then out of nowhere I thought of drawing an interpretation of Ancient Grudge, and everything fell together. I briefly thought of using Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon as our star werewolf, but that didn't quite seem like a good fit, and fortunately, there existed a werewolf that was all about being ancient, hence our considerably more obscure casting. Plus it meant I got to draw something kinda scary, but not gross.

Fun Facts: I was shocked when I first realized Ancient Grudge isn't actually an Innistrad debut printing, but it's actually a reprint from Time Spiral! This is one of the rare cards that actually feels like it got printed in a different set because of how well associated it is with its reprint. I played through Time Spiral, so I feel like I shoulda known, but that goes to show you the power of that infamous flavor text. This piece marks the return of my white pen, which now finally works again!

Easter Eggs: The background is from Kessig Wolf Run.

Not normal,


Tuesday, October 22, 2019


MTGinktober gleams into Day 22, "Ghost," starring Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit!

I have been eager to draw Shirei, one of my favorite legends from back in the day, back when I really started playing Magic past the kitchen table, and this one coulda been his moment, but instead, I went with a more traditional ghost in Anafenza, since it felt a little cheaty to go with a kami-style Spirit, rather than a dead-person Spirit. Well, I'm vaguely familiar with the story behind her becoming a Spirit--she got executed, if I recall, and she got planted or associated with the kin-tree depicted behind her...or something.

Fun Facts: I had a serious crunch yesterday, so I really had to churn this one out, and my internet froze just as I started the research phase of this illustration, so I basically just had this one Anafenza image to work from, and had to improvise everything else. I hate drawing without research, it just feels like fighting with an arm tied behind your back. Anyway, couldn't research anything beyond what I had on me, plus limited time meant this is as good as we could get it. Note she's kinda flying here despite not having that ability. Again, the cost of research limitations.

Easter Eggs: I often hide my name in tree trunks, and this illustration employs the same old trick. You can also see some Abzan houses in the background. The last-minute, phantomy, negative-space warps are a slight nod to my very first MTGinktober piece, though hopefully this treatment is unique enough itself, but it, like the Dutch angle, was mainly to add more visual action to an otherwise pretty static piece.

Not normal,


Monday, October 21, 2019


MTGinktober gleams into Day 21, "Treasure," starring Vraska, Scheming Gorgon!

Man, the exhaustion and hunger and overall deprivation is starting to catch up with me, this is the first one where we had to post a pencil teaser before posting inks. But I was reasonably happy with how this was coming out, so I wasn't feeling my normal rage at missing a deadline. Although in a twist, or should I say, in an all too familiar turn of events, the rough preview is getting all the juice I'd prefer a final to get.

I was initially thinking of Kiora diving for treasure, but that felt too similar to out first gag with her, so I thought I'd give Vraska another go, this time playing up her piratey incarnation, rather than her "gorgon" mode. I was dreading having to deal with all those scaly tendrils--not to mention gold doubloons--but I feel like I found a workaround utilizing stylization and negative space, something I'm always trying to get better at anyway.

Fun Facts: This is Vraska's second MTGinktober appearance. This is also the second time I've used the little pikapika sparkles, the first time being yesterday. I was worried today's composition might be too similar to this year's first piece, but ruled it unique enough to go forward. I knew I couldn't make the inking deadline when I suddenly got hit with an upset stomach and needed to take a break, after having already broken to eat after feeling faint, as I skipped food yesterday, and usually only eat after midnight's publishing deadline.

Easter Eggs: Oko's crown in the Treasure chest, the other chest is the one from the MPR full art Treasure Hunt. The Orzhov Treasure in the center. Inspired by Javier Domingquez's recent win at PT5, I included the Worlds trophy on the left. The background is Dragon's Hoard.

Not normal,


Sunday, October 20, 2019


MTGinktober tramples into Day 20, "Tread," starring Gilded Goose, Rotting Regisaur, and Embercleave!

There's this really cool deck making a splash recently, notably at the recent Arena Pro Tour, piloted by Yukuhiro Ken, featuring the devastating combo of a sword-wielding zombisaur, and the image of such an actual happening has been such an intriguing concept that I wanted to give it a shot myself.

Fun Facts: This composition came to me just as I was about to go to bed (I check the day's prompt right after midnight so I can think it over a bit before and after I sleep). When thinking about a background, I initially thought of a jungley setting, but then I consulted the actual decklist, and thought it'd be cooler to illustrate the deck literally by using one of its very lands, Tournament Grounds, wherein he literally battles Gilded Goose.

Easter Eggs: The pose our Gilded Goose is in is based on a famous(?) classical painting called Peacock and Hunting Trophies, from 1708, which is still seven years younger than Yale, interestingly enough. We're so old.

Not normal,