Wednesday, October 16, 2019


MTGinktober thrashes madly into Day 16, "Wild," starring Domri Rade and Vivien Reid!

I was dreading drawing Vivien, but she actually ended up not being as grating or difficult as I feared. But I wanted to pick two law-apathetic planeswalkers for this, and riotous Domri and wilds-repping Vivien fit the bill. I have long since muted voices on Arena, but her constant blabbing about the wilds is burned into my eardrums, so that's the main reason I drafted her.

Fun Facts: This might be the first piece I've ever done where no character is especially based on any specific card--both are blends of their various depictions, though I suppose Domri here leans more on his OG card--such a cool Tyler Jacobson art. This is Domri's third MTGinktober appearance, love drawing this dude, but his revamped version definitely looks (and SOUNDS!) more annoying. Don't get me started on his brain-bulleting voice on Arena. This woulda been Vivien's second apperance, she was slated to star in last year's "Stretch" before I threw in the towel.

Easter Eggs: The boars are based on the classic Invader Zim piggy model, and you'll note there are 30-50 of these feral fools. The background is my favorite Evolving Wilds, which turns out to be the first printing, I just found out (I hate the blind allegiance and nostalgia for first printings' art).

Not normal,


Tuesday, October 15, 2019


MTGinktober whispers in hushed tones into Day 15, "Legend," starring Jon Finkel and Crossbow Steve!

This prompt coulda been a wildcard to draw whatever, since I normally do draw legends, but that felt too easy, so instead I went with depicting a legend of the game, Jon Finkel. If I had to choose a absolute #1, I'd have to go with my fellow USer over the German Juggernaut, Kai Budde, but they're interchangeably untouchable. I do feel Jon Finkel gets an edge by being so good over such a long period of time, though--he's like 3x Hall-of-Fame at this point. Anyway, it's super impressive to me how he can crush it across decades, though Kai of course recently Top 8ed the Arena PT.

Fun Facts: It's oddly reassuring how utterly stressed out and bogged down he appears while playing, as if to affirm to the world that Magic is still hard for him, regardless of how easy he makes it look, so I definitely wanted to draw him in that mildly stressed mood. Anyway, I knew I wanted him to appear larger than life, which made me think of Crossbow Steve futiley trying to take down a behemoth--though while drawing this, it looks like "Steve" is actually a "Steph."

Easter Eggs: The background features a little thundercloud to reference Jon Finkel's propensity to play Storm (and also to reference his brilliance, as if being struck with a bright idea), and the moody clouds are for how he always looks like the weight of the world is on him while playing, as well as to complement the castle, which comes from his original version of Shadowmage Infiltrator.

Not normal,


Monday, October 14, 2019


MTGinktober molds into Day 14, "Overgrown," starring Isperia, Supreme Judge and Assassin's Trophy!

To be totally frank, I wasn't too pumped about this prompt. It felt bland and uninspiring, and it just felt too easy to fall into drawing the BG shockland. My first idea was to do some kind of mash-up of every version of the card, though the latest "Ravnica rebuilding" MTGO full art promo would be a weird-to-tricky implementation with the other, non-rebuilding versions, as would the random hedron from the Expedition. So I landed on a relatively straightforward riff on Assassin's Trophy, nothing too fancy or original.

Fun Facts: Struggingly to inject some originality into this illustration, I decided to sorta blend the different versions of Isperia, though I relied more heavily of Lucas Graciano's version, with only some Scott M. Fischer backup.

Easter Eggs: The background is based on Overgrown Tomb (GOR), of course--only limited style points for using the most recent printing, I guess, but the building and even the guild logo are quite distinct in this version, so it reads well when just given a sliver of space to work with, while the other incarnations really need room to breathe and read. Also, my signature is hidden made out of branches--love that trick.

Not normal,


Sunday, October 13, 2019


MTGinktober smolders into Day 13, "Ash," starring Chandra, Acolyte of Flame and one of her Fire Elementals!

I'm really loving this card, especially flashing back Shocks, Triumphs, and Clarion Calls. But even more excellent is my ultra combo: slapping down Divine Visitation before elementaling--it's so hard to interact with cuz the tokens aren't susceptible to anything but instant removal, and often, if you can land Chandra early against control and plink away with 1/1s, the 4/4s finish the job surely enough while the opponent's choking on counters and irrelevant interaction. Even if they have answers, they're trading cards for tokens that'll just red zone next turn anew. Such a sweet feeling.

Obviously this piece is a Pokemon spoof, with student Chandra playing the role of Ash Ketchum, while her fire elemental looks suspiciously Pikachuish. I briefly considered drawing the charred Chandra promo, but that didn't feel like something I wanted to do, though I do notice we've slowly but surely been drawing each of the plethora of Chandra depictions available, so I'm sure we'll check that off the list eventually.

Fun Facts: I totally forgot to draw her hair in the pencils, so I hurriedly sketched it in after my first draw of ink ran out in my G-Pen, so no big deal. I don't think I've ever had to make such a major fix after starting inks. This illustration marks Chandra's fifth MTGinktober appearance, which I'm pretty sure is the record. I just enjoy drawing her, I guess cuz she's not too complex, but still challenging to get right.

Easter Eggs: The background, including the rock formations' shape language are based on the rocks from her Acolyte of Flame version. But since I flipped the image in my references to get her uniform right, I mistakenly placed the mountain-carved building on the wrong side. Ah well, maybe it's just the angle. The hat is based on Ash's OG hat--it's official.

Not normal,


Saturday, October 12, 2019


kamehamehas into Day 12, "Dragon," starring Sorin, Nahiri, and Ugin!

This was such a sweet one to prep for and execute. After quickly abandoning plans to draw Brian Kibler and a draconic Shiro since I missed my alarm and only had a limited amount of time to draw this, I frantically scoured classic Dragon Ball art to get the composition right for this spoof. I had initially thought I might cast rando Khans characters, like Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest as Goku and Narset as Bulma, but at the last minute, I remembered a guy and a girl who had a direct association with a dragon character--the original Eldrazi-sealing team--perfect.

Fun Facts: The page I cleared for today's illustration was drawn on heavily enough that there are still lots of remnants of the old contents on the final illustration in person (I cleared them as best I could for the scan). Previously this page housed a bunch of shirt designs for a pitch that went nowhere. This is Nahiri's third MTGinktober appearance, and it's kind of a mix of her previous roles--first she was herself, then she was costumed as another character, and now she's herself in the role of another character.

Easter Eggs: I hid some famous Tetris shapes in the upper hedron. The little clouds in the background are modeled after the ones from Dragon Ball (Z)'s ending theme, and the cloud nearest Sorin is based on Goku's actual Nimbus. The labeling is modeled directly after the classic format aside from the Zs, which I added to balance the lopsided text (time was tight, so I couldn't get the text quite centered).

Not normal,


Friday, October 11, 2019


MTGinktober drifts softly into Day 11, "Snow," starring Alexander The Great Hayne of frosty Canada!

This was another quite last-minute concept based on current events, this one in response to Alexander Hayne's recent, incredibly open post. I've been a fan since his astounding debut on Walking the Planes, and he always struck me as just the happiest dude, to the point where I wondered what it must be like to be so generally happy--notice in his very first words in the episode, his introduction to the world, he's delivering an effortless joke.

He always, always seemed so content and a font of positivity, that I'd always look for him in Walking the Planes or Paul Cheon video logs and stuff because he invariably just had this phenomenal capacity to brighten the mood of any video he was in. I'd even re-watch his and Jacob Wilson's famous Hidestugu's Second Rite video whenever I felt down. So I hope he's safely in a positive space, knows he's respected and admired around the world, and that he's certainly been a positive influence on me, at least.

Fun Facts: I myself love cold weather, especially when you can see your breath, so I wanted to make sure to have him similarly chilling in this illustration, which is also a reference to the impetus of this piece, his writing--his speech. So hopefully in the same way exhaling in cold weather comforts me, I hope his words comforted anyone who needed to read them.

Easter Eggs: The upper background is based on Into the North, as a nod to Mr. Hayne's native Canada, and the lower background is of course based on the famous Easter Island-style Snow-Covered Island. His shirt design is naturally Face to Face gear, which felt doubly great as the best way to support someone--heart to heart, you could say.

Please take care out there.

Not normal,


Thursday, October 10, 2019


MTGinktober reads too much into Day 10, "Pattern," starring Pattern Matcher!

This was a slightly tricky prompt, but I knew pretty early on that I wanted to use snippets of notable or famous patterns from Magic's history. I started thinking about which characters and sets and stuff have signature patterns to them, and was able to come up with almost all of today's subjects off the top of my head, though I was committed not to use Jace's markings, of course.

I planned this piece out as a checkerboard of patterns and sweet negative space by drawing a flowing grid of notes of what I wanted in each space, then I simply filled it in with art. At top left is the Rakdos checker pattern; to the right is the M15 set dressing, modeled after Garruk, Apex Predator's buckle; and at last right is the Expedition frame texture, based on Zendikar's hedrons.

The row beneath that is the blighted Zendikar waste texture, then the striped Izzet pattern epitomized by Izzet Staticaster, and then last is Pattern Matcher, of course, for the low-hanging fruit.

Fun Facts: The final row starts with the pattern that started this whole concept--the Theros set dressing, which I had discovered some time ago was based on the cobblestone pattern in Elspeth, Sun's Champion. And lastly is the infamous bismuth pattern from Oath of the Gatewatch.

Easter Eggs: My signature and the date are hidden on the bunny's head.

Not normal,


Wednesday, October 9, 2019


MTGinktober winds up into Day 8, "Swing," starring Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer and her Elemental Bird token!

This had to be one of the most last-minute changes I've ever done for a character selection. This was originally going to be Nahiri dual-wielding some swinging swords, but then I felt I really should do something in support of the Hearthstone guy who got banned and robbed of his earnings, and Hong Kong at large, especially after seeing that Joshua documentary recently. So I started pulling reference for Portal: Three Kingdoms characters, leaning towards Lady Zhurong, Warrior Queen, and then ultimately landing on Mu Yanling dual wielding umbrellas.

The umbrellas and Mu Yanling's flowing sleeves felt better for communicating "swing" anyway, rather than slicing swords or something, so that was an additional benefit of going with the planeswalker. And I say this was a last minute decision because I have a sort of soft deadline as to when I have to start "final" pencils in order to leave sufficient time to ink in order to hit deadline.

Fun Facts: The majority of the time, I'm sketching the construction of the composition and pose, and then our featured character's details get slapped on top of that figure relatively quickly, like costuming a mannequin, so that's why I had gone in thinking this was Nahiri, complete with all this reference material I collected ready to go, then scrambling to get stuff for Zhurong, and then Mu Yanling even after that. I was right up to the point where I had to start decorating my base pose or miss deadline, so it was quite a close call.

Easter Eggs: The Chinese character for peace, which appears to be the same as Japanese, just reversed, is spelled out in water.

Not normal,


Tuesday, October 8, 2019


MTGinktober faints into Day 8, "Frail," starring the Aetherborn from Die Young and a Thopter token (Svetlin Velinov version)!

This was a tricky one because there's no really solid depiction of "frail" that I could come up that involved a famous or legendary card, so I had to figure out some kind of notable debilitation spell or illustration, and landed on the tragedy of this Aetherborn living it up and then slowly dwindling away. This piece was also a little tougher than I anticipated because Aetherborn have extremely limited facial features, I discovered.

My only other concept lead was maybe depicting a dilapidated Time Spiral elf--but drawing that would kinda be a bummer--or just drawing some classically weak tokens, like Saprolings or Goblins. Eldrazi Spawn seemed like the best route here, since they are the absolute weakest, most expendable tokens in Magic, as they are literally built to die to everything, including on demand, but I just didn't feel like drawing anything gross.

Fun Facts: The flower comes from Die Young, and I thought it'd be neat to see it kinda dying along with the main figure, through the torso cavity, of all places. As a compromise towards the token concept, I included a Thopter, which is plenty frail itself, especially the quite fragile-looking Kaladesh style ones. This is that guy's second MTGinktober appearance.

Easter Eggs: The Kaladesh block expansion symbols are hidden in the shoulder guards, including the Masterpiece series's Inventions symbol.

Not normal,


Monday, October 7, 2019


MTGinktober dazzles Day 7, "Enchanted," starring Slippery Bogle and Angelic Destiny!

Once I determined this piece's core idea was to pants up Jesper Ejsing's fantastic version of everyone's favorite Simic hybrid untouchable, I had a bunch of ideas for auras I wanted to sneak in. The only competing idea was maybe a group shot of Bogles (the deck)'s creatures, since there's only about three of them, but keeping it simple and focused on one souped-up figure seemed to make more sense.

It was also a treat to study the background from Angelic Destiny, and look at all the areas of high detail and relaxed brush strokes that went into the real piece, but that we had to take care to spell out since we're working strictly with lines. Also, I loved the idea of making such a graceful, lovely composition into something kinda goofy, with this considerably frumpier character taking center stage in yet a stylish pose.

Fun Facts: Invariably, we have some Algenpfan art in our MTGinktober run, and this piece seals this year's first entry into the growing category.

Easter Eggs: With all Voss-based pieces, we traditionally hide that wacky, "swooshy B" (ß) dealio, this time in the flower in the foreground overlapping Mr. Bogle's flowing cape thing. The beams atop his head are from the OG (ironically, not Hannes's version) Daybreak Coronet. And X marks the spot for this guy's Curious Obsession.

Not normal,


Sunday, October 6, 2019


sizes up Day 6, "Husky," starring Isareth the Awakener!

This has to be one of the first pieces in a while with just a single card's worth of star power, hmm.

I tried to find some kind of husky hound for this prompt, but couldn't find anything close enough to go with, but my first idea was actually to feature a portly character like Joven in the famous Brad Nelson screaming victory pose. But then, that still felt too easy, so to up the difficulty, I tried to find a husky female character, and Isareth fit the bill. I'm reminded of that old Mobius quote about how the difficulty always ramps when drawing female characters, so this felt like a good challenge given the more straightforward composition.

Fun Facts: My personal connection to Isareth is I'd always play her in my monoblack pauper decks on Arena, cuz she can really help you climb ahead in the late game once everyone's invariably topdecking and hoping to land a threat to seal the deal before the other can start generating momentum. And we've actually featured her vulture pal before as a guest star in last year's Drain, so welcome back, Vesterix (my name for him).

Easter Eggs: They're both cutthroat, so they're both chewing on some chicken.

Not normal,