Anyone who has attended a major event has probably noticed there is a HUGE art subculture attached to Magic. For example, original card artists are featured at Grand Prix events and 5K tournaments, and they’ll alter and sign their cards (like Mark Tedin’s well-known Sauron Sol Ring edit).
But more than that, independent artists have taken on the charge in creating new one-of-a-kind masterpieces by altering cards in many different ways, from using oil paints to cutting out 3D cards. There are websites devoted to artistic expressions based on Magic content, some designed for a serious creative outlet, and some intended simply to entertain us. And often at events you’ll find players using playmats with original drawings on them. Considering all this, it is clear that art is a very important part of Magic.
This article features several Magic-related artforms I’ve recently stumbled upon, which I’ve found interesting, hilarious, and sometimes awe-inspiring. It’s great to see that Magic is more than just a card game to many people, but also an outlet to express themselves.
Magic Cards with Googly Eyes – http://magiccardswithgooglyeyes.tumblr.com/
Sometimes the name of a website speaks for itself. Every time I look at “Magic Cards with Googly Eyes,” I break into long, hysterical laughter. What could possibly be more hilarious than this:
There’s plenty more where that came from. Magic Cards with Googly Eyes is literally an entire blog dedicated to an artist’s application of googly eyes to Magic cards. He/she adds hilarious quotes to each “googlified” card too. It would be awesome if Wizards just made cards with Googly Eyes on them like this website. Drafts would be nonstop laughter as players sift through possible choices, bursting into tears over each card’s zany googly-ness.
Inkwell Looter – http://inkwelllooter.blogspot.com
Maybe you’re not a fan of the googly eyes and are looking for a bit more “serious” Magic comedy. Then look no further than the Inkwell Looter art blog. Inkwell Looter is an artist who pays “homage, satire, and such” to Magic through funny cartoons that relate to various cards, set themes, and events. He also designs tokens, like the Germ token shown above, that you can print off and use in your games, instead of those boring token cards Wizards makes.
I personally enjoyed playing with Inkwell Looter’s Plant and Eldrazi Spawn tokens when I was playing Eldrazi Green in Standard last year. Some of you may also have seen his “Nelson/Matignon: Unfinished Business” shirts during coverage of last year’s Player of the Year match between Brad Nelson and the now-DCI-banned Guillaume Matignon.
Another unique aspect of Inkwell Looter is that he creates emblem images to represent setting off certain planewalkers’ ultimate abilities. My favorite, shown below, is Koth’s emblem, which you can print out onto some good paper and throw in your opponent’s face as your mountains ping him/her to victory.
There are all sorts of funny pieces of art on Inkwell Looter’s blog, and I highly recommend checking it out and printing some of the tokens or emblems out. You can also buy large prints of his creations and frame them for display on your wall….certainly a conversation piece!
Card Art Alterations
Nowadays, players can find alteration artists at nearly every major tournament. These freelancers can be “commissioned” to turn your boring Magic cards with original art into brand new original masterpieces. Some artists expand the old art to cover the whole card, making it look like a full-art promo given out at Game Day events. The altering artist considers what the original artist might have intended the picture to look like, had he/she been able to draw outside of the standard art box. An example of this is an altered Batterskull done by local artist Jamie Corcoran (http://www.jamiecorcoran.com/)
Others take alterations to a new level, completely covering the old art with their own work. Often the art has absolutely nothing to do with the card, focusing on non-Magic themes and including other fantasy and gaming icons. For example, here is a Jace Beleren altered to include the Joker, from the altered art gallery blog http://alteredartmagic.blogspot.com/. Pretty sweet, if you ask me!
You can find cards like these on eBay selling usually around the cost of the original card + the commission fee ranging generally between $25 and $80, depending on the extent of the artwork. I’ve usually seen artists at events charging around $30 to alter a card on the spot, provided that you have the card for them to alter. There are a lot of fantastic artists out there, and there’s nothing more exciting than having your favorite card made into a one-of-a-kind treasure!
Following the subject of card alterations, the latest craze for people who like to ruin their cards (in a good way) is the Third Dimension. 3D cards are pure awesome in a box. Basically it involves acquiring multiple copies of a particular card, cutting out certain parts of the cards, and gluing them together in layers to create a 3D effect.
Here’s a decent tutorial on how to make 3D cards, found on Youtube:
As you can see, it’s a fairly easy ability to pick up. My friend Steve gave it a try during a Dark Ascension Prerelease using the Ravenous Demon promo cards that most people tossed aside as being lame. After just about an hour’s work of cutting and layering, here’s what came out:
Definitely a little rough around the edges, but pretty good for a first go around, especially since he was working quickly with only an exacto knife at an event. Steve said he found Ravenous Demon to be a bad card to start with, since the art itself is not very distinct as far as being able to cut out particular areas for layering. He later found cards like Ambush Viper to be easier to work on, as the snake on that card already “pops out” of the background.
3D artists are present at many events, ready to add a “new dimension” to Magic (har har), so be sure to bring 4-5 copies of your favorite card or EDH general to the next SCG5K!