Monday, October 31, 2022


MTGinktober puts out to pasture Day 31, "Farm," starring Nahiri, the Harbinger; Bartered Cow; and Blackblade Reforged!
This was definitely a tricky one to end our run on.  I wasn't sure what to draw exactly, but the idea of a character kicking back after putting a long day's work felt apropos.  I then thought of Swords to Plowshares, taking a warrior of the battlefield, so maybe a sword-wielder should be the pick.  I like drawing Nahiri, and this might be my last chance to draw her for MTGinktober, so here she is.
Fun Facts: And with Nahiri's fifth MTGinktober appearance, not to mention Blackblade Reforged's second, we wrap MTGinktober 2022.  This is my 7th run, and my 5th complete series.  According to my calculations, I've done 206 official illustrations, plus a couple bonuses--I usually take a couple requests at the end, if anyone has any good ones.  I don't know if I'll do another run, I am starting to wonder what the point of any of this is, frankly.
I will say, I've been in a severe art block for what feels like years now, and I've been trying to force myself to snap out of it, and thought this year's Inktober might do the trick, after last year's felt like such a backfire on motivation.  Well, I feel like I've fallen back in love with art (or rekindled it, if it ever really left) via this run.  I basically stopped paying attention to the news and even listening to podcasts--just music--and I wonder if that made the difference.  But the difficulty is that I feel like I need to be an informed citizen, especially since I always volunteer to talk to voters, and a lot of them just need stuff explained plainly to them.  On top of that, because I draw so slowly, Inktober takes up just about all of my time in October, and I feel like that's costing me time I should be spending on other things--I feel like it's not opening doors, but rather limiting my ability to be available for others. Anyway, I don't know, we'll see what happens. 
Easter Eggs:  The background is Overgrown Farmland, plus a sunset, since this is the last MTGinktober piece, potentially forever.

Sunday, October 30, 2022


 MTGinktober shifts into Day 30, "Gear," starring Akiri, Fearless Voyager and Greasefang's Bike (TAPIOCA version)! 
This is the illustration I've been waiting for over a year to draw!  I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted to do here, so I even got to sleep in a little, and rest my back, which is feeling better, but still some residual pain, though I expect to make the final day just fine.
Fun Facts: I've seen Akira many, many times, having studied it for a college course, and I still can't quite remember what it's about or how to describe it, kinda like Ghibli films.  I should probably check it out again some time.  Also, the hardest part of this piece was getting the bike to work in this perspective--there's a slight twist, so that's the only thing that really gave me trouble.  Everything else was mercifully straightforward--funnily enough, the figure was the least of my concerns for once.

Easter Eggs: This is of course a reference to the famous Akira slide. I like the Citizen sticker since there are Citizens in Magic, but it's just coincidental, though I made sure to include it on Greasefang's bike's tagged up section (which I noticed is made to look like a rat).  I hid the name of my classmate, who's really into Otomo, in the bushes as a dedication.  My name's there, too, but it's a perfunctory signature  Also, I decided to match the shot with goggles, so we went with Pyromancer's Goggles, of course.


Saturday, October 29, 2022


MTGinktober facepalms into Day 29, "Uh-Oh," starring Judith, the Scourge Diva

I've been wanting to draw Judith for a while--not only does she have one of the funnest epithets in Magic, she also has one of the corniest, dorkiest given names in Magic, which is a hilarious pairing.  Anyway, I've sketched her here and there, and have been working on a portrait of her for forever, but now she gets her very own MTGinktober piece.  Although, I feel like I want to update this one a little.

Fun Facts: This is a rare instance of just one character, and barely a background, to boot--I was originally going to have her picking the Unluckiest Planeswalker from the crowd, but it just didn't line up to give her a dramatic, psychotic pose and also get his reaction.  Plus I wanted to see if less is more, we'll see. My back and hand are hurting quite a bit, but fortunately just a couple more days to clear Inktober.
Easter Eggs: The stage lights are inspired by Light Up the Stage, but I was going from memory, and wasn't sure what they actually look like and turns out they look totally different!  To be fair, I detest Monored and only ever had the spell played at me, but have never cast it myself.

Friday, October 28, 2022


MTGinktober keeps on Day 28, "Camping," starring Thalia, Guardian of Thraben; Tyvar Kell; Myntasha, Honored One; Blex, Vexing Pest
Man, woke up and my back was really feeling it, took a while to shake it off--confident I can complete the month, but hopefully the back heals up or at least it gets no worse than this.  Anyway, I wasn't exactly sure what to do with this one--maybe a callback to something Magic-related of mine (or at least a character telling a scary story?  Some of the kid characters at camp?  Well, I went with two Voss characters hanging out at some kind of camp, as a send-up of his more relatively recent adventurous, and as always, cheerful tone. 

Fun Facts:  This is Thalia's third MTGinktober appearance.  I like drawing her, so that was one of the reasons we went with today's team.  I was also thinking that while I've drawn every kind of Magic card now, there's actually one tiny variety I haven't hit yet--they're one notch above test cards--Heroes of the Realm cards--well, now we have indeed hit every kind of printed (true) Magic card you can have (real, unreal, test, and heroes), as well as every release state (old, new, none, pending).

Easter Eggs:  They have Camp Wedonwannamull T-shirts, founded in 1997 (the year the Paris Mulligan debuted, the first legitimate mulligan rule) and hats--Tyvar has a Snow mana logo, and Thalia's has Avacyn's symbol of course--but otherwise they're wearing their actual costumes.  Myntasha's graham cracker box has an Invader-Zim-style bee.  The Hershey's bar is a Hurkyl's bar.  And as always with Algen fan art, the little, swooshy B (ß) lands in the expiration date on the box. Background elements from Base Camp.  


Thursday, October 27, 2022


MTGinktober crams in Day 27, "Snack," starring Sarulf, Realm Eater; Mishra, Excavation Prodigy; Urza, Powerstone Prodigy; Saheeli, Sublime Artificer; and Silver Myr!
Ah! We did it!  We've drawn every kind of Magic card--Real, Unreal, and Test, after wondering if such a thing were even possible, and now we've also hit all lifespans of cards--old, new, and now: previewed (day-of, to boot), but not-yet-printed.  I had sorta speculated an Inktober might coincide with a preview season at the modern release rate, and indeed this has happened--during that very same Inktober, no less.  It's funny they mentioned they wanted to embrace 90s vibes with their haircuts, and it turns out Mishra has a Z-like do and Urza has classic, 90s movie-villain kid hair.

Fun Facts: I woke up and a bunch of Brothers' War previews went up, so I made an executive decision to ditch what I was planning to use for this composition (Lil'iana and Saheeli studying on Sarulf while Silver Myr and/or Azami brought them snacks) and went with a study break of sorts, where everyone grabs food and magically becomes an expert at whatever subject is giving anyone trouble--definitely nostalgic for those homework jam sessions at Yale.  Anyway, this is Saheeli's third MTGinktober appearance and Silver Myr's second.  

Easter Eggs: Silver Myr and Sarulf are remnants of the old concept, but the Myr is also a shout-out to a fan who likes whenever I draw Myr, and Silver Myr's my favorite of the Kev Walker original mana Myr, so it all worked out.  The scrolls are inspired by those in Azami's art.  Some of the scrawling comes from The Mirari Conjecture.  Since Donato painted the bros, the food, aside from the Pocky come from his food token--made sure to keep the chocolate far from Sarulf, though.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022


MTGinktober boasts Day 26, "Ego," starring Almighty Brushwagg; Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen; and Nissa, Sage Animist!

I actually got some rest and was able to wake up early, but I feel like the more straightforward composition lulled me into a false sense of comfort, so it still took the full time just at a reasonable pace, rather than a blistering sprint-marathon as usual.  Plus I had to dog-sit, and that eats up time.  Anyway, I knew I wanted arrogant characters cheek to cheek trying to outdo each other with Brushwagg swooping in for the win himself.  As I understand these elves were originally pretty snooty, but mighta been retconned to be nicer--who knows.  They're rude in my book.

Fun Facts:  This is Dwynen's second MTGinktober appearance and Nissa's fourth appearance.

Easter Eggs:  As it's Algen fan art, we gotta include the swooshy "German B" (ß) so that's one of the plants on Dwynen's tiara thingie.  Also, atop Brushwagg is Arrogant Wurm, but an alternate version John Avon apparently made--I'm not sure the backstory there, but I like that ironically it looks so tiny.  And then chilling on the starring duo's shoulders is Scornful Egotist, of course, a tiny, tiny human. The background is Gaea's Cradle, as the Reserved List and its continued existence is kind of an egomaniacal move.


Tuesday, October 25, 2022


MTGinktober coaxes out Day 25, "Tempting," starring Emry, Lurker of the Loch; Ornithopter (Mathias Kollros version); and Breya, Etherium Shaper!

Man, just couldn't sleep, so again, woke up late and had another time crunch--gave this one some small updates later--but fortunately while literally tossing and turning, I had plenty of time to plan the piece, and I had two concepts, the first of which turns out is something I already kinda did in two parts, with a figure exploring while Gurmag Angler's dangling dealio entices her. So I went with Emry hyping an artifact to an artifice aficionado. The idea is that Breya can't resist nerding out whenever she sees a new Thopter design. 

Fun Facts: This is Emry's third MTGinktober appearance, and actually Ornithopter's debut, since the last appearance was actually a Thopter token (which is what I intended to draw, but for better composition, changed at the last minute to this more compact Thopter shape). 

Also, by my count, this is my 200th MTGinktober illustration!  I didn't complete two runs, and they fell apart around day 25, so this was a doubly significant day since it's usually the day I fall apart, but so far, so good--in a bit of pain, but it's manageable.

Easter Eggs: My name is in the grass in front of Breya's leg.


Monday, October 24, 2022


MTGinktober claps and believes in Day 24, "Fairy," starring Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief; League Guildmage; and Gnarled Professor!

My hand is in quite some pain from the mad dash to get the fine details in, but it was worth it to make all the references.   I knew I wanted to do something reminiscent of the Ivy League given that we've got work with a Faerie named Ivy, so that's why we included League Guildmage.  Looking up classic Ivy imagery, I found this incredible Norman Rockwell program, and knew I wanted to spoof it.  I went with The Gnarly Prof for the ref since his root body mimicked the uniform's stripes and no other teachery card seemed apt.
Fun Facts:  This is the closest we've got to a legend-free illustration this year, but so far so good.  It's neat and a bit coincidental that all the cards work together--Gnarly gets a spell, you target Guildmage, who copies it, and then Ivy poaches a further copy.

Easter Eggs: A lot of fun accidents--first, the program is today's date!  So I just had to hide my name in the grass.  Next, the price part actually phrases a reference to copies, which both these creatures can do, and 2 is a great number when talking copies.  The coin Gnarly P is tossing is a Darksteel Relic, which is a special card to me.  The football is the design from Ivy's Eshpur showcase version.  Even though it pained me to treat Cornell and Dartmouth as Ivies and have them hog this whole illustration, I had to sneak a Harkness Tower in the background for old times' sake.    


Sunday, October 23, 2022


MTGinktober sneezes out Day 23, "Booger," starring Belbe, Corrupted Observer and Miara, Thorn of the Glade!
For the concept, there's always that one pal who loves to snap unflattering photos--and often there's also the one who always walks right into it. So I wanted a creeper character to snap a rude photo of an oblivious character, and Belbe seemed to fit the bill given her creepy epithet, and Miara kinda looks like she's picking her nose if you look super quickly, so that's how we landed those roles.  Plus something playful seemed algenpropos.  The tricky thing was making Miara look like she's mindlessly yawning on guard duty or something, hope that reads.

Fun Facts:  Man, finally got to sleep early and could wake up early, but then I was still so tired...there's no winning.  Even though I had more time to work on this, I was so tired, I don't know if getting up earlier even helped--gotta tweak this one a little more.  I was drawing at a more leisurely pace, but it's just not good enough--you always need to be slamming the gas, otherwise you lose time.
Easter Eggs:  As always, with Algen fan art, we gotta stash the little, swooshy B (ß) in there, and this time it's next to the berry flower under the phone.  Also the phone is based on mine.  The background is mostly from Miara. 


Saturday, October 22, 2022


MTGinktober gathers a ragtag crew for Day 22, "Heist," starring Dack Fayden; Vazi, Keen Negotiator; Stangg; and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame!

Man, just cannot get to sleep, but fortunately plenty of time to plan my shot rather than count sheep.  I knew I wanted to do something Bebop, the tough part was casting it.  Do we do another Weatherlight Crew spoof again?  That's clearly Gerrard, Hanna, Karn, and Squee, and would probably be more appealing. But I wanted to match the source looks as closely as possible, so I went with these guys--plus Dack's even a thief, Vazri has suspenders she can slip to match the shot, Stangg's bald/bearded, and lil' Chandra actually kinda looks like Radical Edward in profile.

Fun Facts:  For a brief moment, before I had thought to use Chandra, who now makes her second MTGinktober appearance this year alone, seventh overall, if my count is correct--I was going to use Ib Halfheart, and hadn't gotten too far before we gave him the ax--love drawing his helmet, but he's made a two and a half appearances already, so he's not missing out too much.

I have never actually seen all of Cowboy Bebop, I don't think--I'd only ever catch it when I couldn't sleep.  And then one night the Yale Animu Club had a screening and I saw an episode there.  But surely I've seen most of the series, and have certainly always been a huge fan of its sheer style.  And, yeah they're bounty hunters rather than heisters(?), but I feel like this is close enough, and no way I'm missing my chance at Bebop parody--there's another spoof I've been hoping for, too, but we'll see if we get a chance at that.

Easter Eggs:  This was a challenge to sign because I didn't want to mess up the gag, so I just used my name for the "Bandai Visual" part (and Wizards, LLC replaces "Sunrise, Inc.") and put the date in Stangg's beard as Roman numerals so they could blend in better--a little self-conscious making my name so prominent in a piece, but as long as it's diagetic, there's precedent.  This text is based on the oldest version I could find--newer versions have modified text and font.


Friday, October 21, 2022


MTGinktober barks at Day 21, "Bad Dog," starring Trostani, Selesnya's Voice and Ruff, Underdog Champ!

Man, just can't get out of this cycle of being unable to sleep, and then I'm exhausted during the day and have to scramble to get the drawing done.  But I also had to dogsit today, oddly enough, and this hound gets jumpy and needs attention later in the day (used to sleep all day...), so that's time lost making sure this dog isn't tearing up the joint.

Fun Facts:  If we count Trostani as three characters, it seems illustrations involving dogs tend to have a lot of characters.  This is also our first test card illustration--I tried to match the original artist Seth Conley's strokes in the hatching.  With this, it seems I've hit every kind of Magic card--"real," "UnReal," and now Test Card.  I have no intention of doing Universe Beyond stuff, those are absolutely not real Magic cards.

Easter Eggs: The background is a fusion of all (three!) Trostanis' backgrounds--our Chippy anchor of course,  with branches and animals strewn about, plus tree trunks from Chase Stone's and Sidharth Chaturvedi's versions.


Thursday, October 20, 2022


  MTGinktober isn't kidding about Day 20, "Bluff," starring Kiku, Night's Flower and Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths

Man, still having difficulty falling asleep, which makes drawing so much harder, but at least we were a little more rested than yesterday's fiasco.  I hate sleeping, but it's undeniably one thing you can't dodge for long before it catches up with you--fortunately I just see little stars, no shivering yet.  Anyway, today was finally an opportunity to draw Kiku, who I've long been a fan of, and have been waiting literally years to draw.  I love that trope of an ostensibly infatuated duo actually bringing out the daggers for each other, so we went with that set-up here.

Fun Facts:  I wasn't sure who to team against Kiku, but Atris seemed like a good fit since he's definitely in the "bluff" category both in name and in mechanics--I am not a huge fan of Commander formats, but whenever I have to play Brawl for Midweek Magic or whatever, I bust out ol' Atris and the constant mini-FOFs are always a treat.  Plus Kiku can kill him with her ability, and he can kill her in combat, so all's fair in whatever this is and war.  So the idea is they are like Spy vs. Spying each other out.  

Easter Eggs: While Kiku would probably kill via shadows, I wanted to include some fun blade references.  So hers is the one from Murderous Cut, which befits assassins, and his is of course Trepanation Blade, which joins him in messing with topdecks.  The background is based on Ukiyo-e illustrations, along with some sakura flitting through the air since this is a pretty manga dynamic.  The last thing is I wanted them to look like they're giving each other the eye, but their fingers are crossed.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022


MTGinktober comes in under a hair on Day 19, "Ponytail," starring Monoxa, Midway Manager!

Man, just could not get to sleep, so I was crazy exhausted, I knew we had to go super simple for this one, so it's just a close up of a character.  There were actually a good number of ponytail wearers to choose from, and I almost went with a little twist by drawing Thalia tying her hair up in a ponytail, but that would require too much thinking, so I just went with a standard portrait.  Even then, I wrapped with just a minute or two left on the clock, so it was probably a wise choice.  Also, this is quite a rare instance of my drawing glasses, so fiddly, not good for speed.

Fun Facts:  This is quite a year for Uncards--so far we've had three silver-bordered stars.  I used to think of silver bordered as not "real" Magic, but then Universes Beyond and stuff started coming in to hold Unsets' beer, and well, I'm more begrudgingly accepting of Unsets, though I still am not crazy about them, particularly now that we're in freaking space now?  Come on...what are we doing here?

Easter Eggs: A lot of the latest Uncards have really low quality references available, so maybe it's more legible on the actual card, but it looked like just random scrawling in the illustration, so I just went with a fun little message in Japanese--these were the famous last words one of my favorite opponents said to me when I had him in an inevitable lock-- いみがない, when he had all but given up and was ready to concede, then decided to draw for turn and--imi ga nai (literally there is no meaning)--the card was pointless, he lost.