Blake Rasmussen and Steve Sunu were joined by artist Seb McKinnon and Secret Lair art director Tom Jenkot to talk all things Secret Lair Artist Series.
Most of the show was dedicated to McKinnon as he talked about how he came up with the idea and story for the cards in his Secret Lair Artist Series: Seb McKinnon drop, to showing early sketches, and eventually detailing how the images we see on the cards were finalized. Near the end of the episode, Jenkot talked about the future of the Artist Series, hinting at two more collections that are coming while also previewing some sketches of art to come.
McKinnon knew he had a special opportunity and wanted to make the most of it while putting as much of himself in the cards. Artists are given as close to complete control as one can have in their Artist Series drop, so McKinnon had a story in mind he wanted to tell along with the cards that would help tell it. As a fan of Celtic mythology as well as fairytales and legends, he wanted to include a piece of that, so he told the tale of a knight and the faerie that found him.
McKinnon started the story with a basic Swamp, his favorite basic land, setting the scene where you meet the knight. He started with a traditional painting, but combined original elements from the painting in the final digital image. Sower of Temptation, a card that his brother played with in decks often during their childhood, was next and started as a watercolor piece before moving to acrylic and then finally going digital. Adjustments had to be made to fit everything in a card frame, which led to changing positions of the characters to changing the amount of details that could be included.
After the faerie latched on to the knight, it showed the knight’s haunting memories and guilt from his past deeds in Damnation. McKinnon paid homage to the original art by Kev Walker by keeping a black sphere in the image, which started as a digital sketch before moving to acrylic.
The story is finished in the final card, Enchanted Evening, where the faerie offers the knight a way out. The knight takes the offer, but is transformed into a spirit shown as a tree in the reflection of a pond. The knight is a now at peace, though in a different form than before. This piece of art also had to undergo some changes to fit correctly in a card’s art frame. McKinnon made sure to note how big of a fan of he was of the original art by Rebecca Guay.
To complete the cards, McKinnon’s brother even wrote the flavor text in the form of a poem, appearing across the cards.
To wrap the episode, Jenkot explained how the Artist Series was something the Secret Lair team wanted to do since the beginning. They wanted to let artists pick cards and do whatever they wanted with them. On top of the two Artist Series collections mentioned in last week’s Weekly MTG (Johannes Voss and Kaja and Phil Foglio), Jenkot said that Sam Burley and Chris Rahn would be getting their own drops as well. The Artist Series of Secret Lair drops are ways to celebrate artists, varying in styles, and ranging from artists newer to Magic to some of the biggest names in the game’s storied art history.
Four sketches were previewed, but card names and artists were not mentioned, leaving viewers to speculate on the pieces. What do you think the art below is depicting, and who created each piece?