AuthorMichael Jay LaRue

Michael is an engineer who has been playing Magic, mostly multi-player and sealed deck, since Urza's Saga. He started his Magic writing on a mission to raise the level of awareness of artistic matters pertinent to the game. Based on the assumption that art can be objectively evaluated by 'the rules of art,' Michael's articles are presented as formal art critiques.. As an artist himself, with an interest in both traditional and computer animation, Michael continues to take art classes, and maintains a respectable drawing portfolio and computer animation demo reel.

Magic Art Design Matters – Object Oriented Magic 101

Normally Michael contributes to the SCG community in the form of Magic art critiques. Unfortunately, since Wizards has not given him a flying bear with great art lately, there have been no critiques from him for a while. That does not mean he has abandoned Magic. In this article Michael switches gears on us and makes a case for the inherent strengths present in the mechanical game design of Magic.

Magic Art Matters: I’ve Got A Flying Bear In My Pool!

I opened my fair share of good cards from the set and was able to build a nice W/R artifact deck – but you have probably already guessed that it was the Leonin Skyhunter that really caught my eye. The last time I remember opening a prerelease flying bear was Gaea’s Skyfolk – another personal favorite of mine from Apocalypse. Nothing beats a 2/2 flier for two******, but maybe that’s just me. What makes the Leonin Skyhunter all the better is that it is the work of the artist Kev Walker. He has been creating fantastic Magic art for some time now, and I’ll have to admit, he’s my current favorite. With this card, he proves once again that he is at the top of his game.

Magic Art Matters – All Hail The Osprey!

Since I don’t plan on buying any cards with the new 8th Edition card face, I am going to have to get used to playing more obscure cards that I my have previously overlooked. And along those lines, a perfect example of what one might find when trying to dredge up an old and underutilized card is none other than the awesome Fledgling Osprey.

Magic Art Matters – The Scourge Prerelease

As good as the preview art was, I really did not see any card that really struck me as artistically outstanding. Almost all the art seemed at least competent, if not good or even above average, but nothing I saw knocked my socks off. Still, I might as well show you the cards I played with, right?

Magic Art Matters: U/G Madness!

Regardless of whether you chose to run U/G yourself, you are going to see a boatload of Wild Mongrels that first Saturday in May; many Wonders will be pitched and there will be numerous flying Wurms, of both the Arrogant and Roaring variety. So why not take a closer look at the art on the core cards, and let your right brain take over for a bit?

Magic Art Matters: The Echo Tracer Dilemma

Earlier this week, the”dilemma” duo of writers rose to the challenge once again, and debated the relative merit of Echo Tracer versus Mistform Seaswift. Last I checked, there was some healthy follow-up debate taking place in the discussion threads of the two respective articles. Hopefully, that discussion is ongoing, and what I offer today will serve as a nice supplement – since I plan to tackle the same dilemma, but this time from an artistic perspective.

Magic Art Matters: Is Anyone Paying Attention To The Top Half Of The Card?

From what I can see through the limited portal provided by Arcana, Magic art is thriving in spite of Wizards Art Department, not because of it. The style guides we’ve seen are of horrid quality – and these are the models that Wizards asks their artists to emulate! Furthermore, the Wizards Art Department is wasting time by providing poor specifications that require sudden (and potentially shoddy) redrawings, while genuine artistic errors go through. They seem to think that just so long as”stuff looks cool,” everything will be all right… And I disagree.

Magic Art Matters: Deformed Soldiers Can’t Fight!

When running, your legs tend to move in a bicycling pattern; they do not flail about wildly in the extreme positions as shown on Deftblade Elite and Glory Seeker. If I were an enemy soldier witnessing these two run towards me in battle, I would probably laugh at them, thinking, It won’t be long before these two uncoordinated twits fall over on themselves.

Magic Art Matters – Onslaught’s Walking Desecration

As far as Magic art goes, there is no museum dedicated to it – at least not yet. But wouldn’t that be a nice idea? Imagine a finely crafted building, situated right there on the Wizards campus in Renton, perhaps designed in the style of the Tolarian Academy, or any one of a number of Magically-significant structures. Its sole purpose would be to house the finest art of Magic. And Daren Bader would have his own wing.

Magic Art Matters: Pregnant Pro Players

This is the reward for winning the Invitational? Ouch! If I were to ever be immortalized on a Magic card, I’d be hoping for a better overall effort. I think an Invitational card should be clearly-focused on the character, and it should faithfully capture the likeness of the winner of the Invitational. This is, unfortunately, not the case with Voidmage Prodigy.