Friday, February 7, 2014

Breaching Hippocamp - Magic the Gathering Process

Today on the blog I have for you the process and steps that went into my second of two Magic the Gathering cards that I did for the Theros set, the mighty Breaching Hippocamp. I am a little overdue in sharing this, but I figured I better get to it now that the second set of the Theros block is upon us as well as the fact that it is now the year of the SEA horse... or is it just the year of horse... To get things started and to refresh everyone's memory, here is how the final Breaching Hippocamp turned out...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Magic the Gathering - Theros
PRINTS AVAILABLE!
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

There was nothing in the style guide for the Hippocamp so the design of the creature was up to me. Designing creatures is what I like to do... so it was a real treat to get to design something for Magic. There were of course some global design elements of the set that I needed to be mindful of but the rest was in my court to come up with a Theros take on this legendary sea horse. The first thing I did was get to work on some concepts...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Concepts
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

There are a lot of these I really like, and still like even today. I feel there is still a lot of potential with many of these designs... but that is another topic for another day. It turns out that I need not have done any concepts beyond my very first one since option "A" was the winner. Now that I had a design it was time to work on some color options and to start thinking about thumbnails...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Color Concepts
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

If I remember correctly, all of the color comps were approved as options that would work, but there was an additional not of option "C" being a good fit to match the native merfolk. Now that I had a color scheme there was really no reason that there should not be some thumbnails happening...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Thumbnails
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

I did options "A" - "C" before heading to Illuxcon back in 2012, but I had not submitted them yet. While at Illuxcon I had some time to talk about designs and thumbnails with the very talented and very generous Lar Grant-West. He gave me a lot to think about and suggested I try a direction that resulted in thumbnail option "D". When I returned home I submitted option "D"... and if I remember correctly, I ONLY submitted "D" with a note saying I have others if you would like to see them but I think this is the best... or something equally silly. "D" was selected with the note to make sure the fish horse was not to appear like it could be flying. Time for the drawing...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Drawing
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

The drawing was approved without note and I was all set to begin on the painting. I was feeling good about this piece, but as I worked on it I realized there were some issues which resulted in some changes as I painted... which ultimately produced a better end product (IMHO)...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Process Steps
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

In just 12 easy steps and many many hours of work, you too can have your very own Hippocamp that breaches. Once the head and forelimbs were sussed out with the oversight of my always helpful wife and then some end of painting tweaks and fixes advice from Lars Grant-West the rest of things worked themselves out. Remember, you should never turn down the help of others and a fresh pair of eyes on a painting can instantly see all the troublesome areas. We are not an island unto ourselves, seek out advice and help... no matter what level you are working at or how much you think you know. Again, here is how the final piece turned out...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Magic the Gathering - Theros
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

I am happy to saw that a lot of folks have really responded well to this piece and it has even been described as (shudder) pretty. Not generally the first word that comes to mind when I think of my work to say the least. But I will take the compliment! Here is how the final production card turned out...

"Breaching Hippocamp" - in handy card form

I would be amiss in not including the toned paper drawing of this piece that I did... RAWR!

"Breaching Hippocamp" - Magic the Gathering - Theros
12 x 9
colored pencil on toned paper
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on the Monday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

4 comments:

  1. Another fantastic post. The final artwork looks great on the card; really pushing that tilted horizon line. Thank you for sharing your process once again with us. I always glean a little more knowledge on illustration every time you do.

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    1. Thanks, Lance! Glad you were able to take something away from this piece! It was a fun one to work on and a lot went into making it.

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  2. I just want to say, I found your blog late last night, and I really have enjoyed going through your artwork. I'm inspired to attempt a similar process with my own digital painting, if you don't mind, as I need a more organized process. I recognized your name but didn't place it until I saw this very post. I built an EDH deck that is 'pony' themed- part out of joke, and part out of nostalgia, since my first MTG deck was a 'pony deck' built by my father when I was very young (both the original and the EDH decks are really powerful decks!). Growing up with MTG inspired so much of my creativity, because the artwork was just so great, my favorite artist being Rebecca Guay. Sorry, hehe. Everyone, even to this day, that has created work for MTG, made me the artist I am today. Sure, my work is more cartoony than yours, but the inspiration is still there in it. Thank you.

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    1. You are welcome. Glad you have found my art and blog educational and inspiring. :)

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