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July 20, 2017 3 min read

The creative process behind each piece of Magic art is unique to the image and the artist.

From the art description to the final product, the Art in Focus series reviews every step involved in crafting the art of Magic the Gathering in the artist’s own words.

This week we shine the spotlight on the Daze Invocation by Richard Wright from Amonkhet.

Take it away Richard.


 In July 2016 I was commissioned to illustrate a number of cards for Amonkhet. I'd illustrated a couple of cards for this set already and was looking forward to doing some more. I enjoy illustrating cityscapes in general and Amonkhets massive pyramid like architecture is great fun to paint - they're such simple shapes and yet really powerful at the same time.

This is the actual brief I received from Sam Burley the Art Director.

Art Title: Daze
Art Description:
Color: Blue spell
Location: A calm part of the river in the City-State
Action: In this shot, we see a human male initiate on his knees in shallow water, facing away from us. He's looking up in awe at a flock of ibises rising dramatically from the surface of the water, only, these birds are illusionary, made from bright blue energy. It should seem like a wall of birds stretched across the frame in front of the initiate. See the image in the reference packet for inspiration, but the birds should read as birds at card size.
Focus: The initiate set against the wall of birds
Mood: an overwhelming sight to behold
Notes: This is a reprint, so the name is final.

Reading this I knew I had to try and create something really awe-inspiring, something that in real life would make your jaw drop.

First thing to do was to look thru the World Guide and then start looking for reference images of Ibises. At the same time I created a new image in photoshop to record any ideas as they occurred to me and started to sketch in some rough shapes.

It usually takes quite a few attempts to find the right idea but for this image everything came together really fast with very little effort on my part.

After a couple of hours I ended up with a sketch that I thought looked promising but at this point I was stuck trying to decide between 2 different color palettes. I felt I needed a fresh look so I closed the image and worked on something else.

It's easy to fall in love with an idea only to find you hate it the next day but the following morning the image still looked pretty good. It was still quite rough in places so I decided to do a bit more work on it before sending it in.

The main things to fix were the birds which looked like blue blobs and the man which looked like a grey blob. I painted a dozen or so different birds from the reference images I'd found which I then duplicated and positioned to create the impression of a flock and used a photoshop gradient to quickly color them blue.

After tidying up a few other areas I emailed the sketch to Sam.

Sam was happy with the sketch so all I had to do was refine what was already there - adding some details to the man, cleaning up the water and reflections, and making sure the blue birds would print correctly.


The original artwork for Daze Invocation was created digitally.

You can check out Richard's portfolio and learn more about his work at his ArtStation and his Facebook.

If you really enjoy this artwork, you can now purchase an official Playmat.  Profits are split with the artist, so every sale directly benefits the artist.

Thank you Richard for sharing this story with us.

Check back soon for more Art in Focus.

Josh Krause

Josh Krause owns and operates the Original Magic Art Store.

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