Back in July of last year our son was born. Anyone with a kid knows how hard it is to work full-time when you have a new baby in the house. Over the first 8 days I had a combined total of 8 hours of sleep. When I did get some sleep, I was waking up every 2-5 minutes because every sound made me think “OMG is my son ok?”
Right after he was born I received my Origins commission, which included the description for Fiery Impulse, Consul’s Lieutenant, and Hangarback Walker. Those weren’t exactly simple cards to illustrate, so it was challenging trying to finish those cards while helping to raise my son. After I finished those illustrations, I asked my AD if I could get some easier cards for the next wave. Luckily my AD threw me a bone.
The first three cards I received for Battle for Zendikar were Jaddi Offshoot, Ghostly Sentinel, and Tide Drifter. It was still hard finding time to work on my freelance and teach my mentorship. I would often have to paint while holding my son as I bounced up and down on a yoga ball. For some reason he would only stop crying or fall asleep while bouncing on a yoga ball. Although, it was good exercise!
You can probably tell that these three illustrations are a bit looser than some of my other illustrations. I have to say, the fish brush saved my life when I was painting Tide Drifter. Thanks Jonas De Ro!
This was also around the time when I was trying to push myself to create different and more dynamic compositions, like in Fiery Impulse. I think for the first three illustrations I resorted to my typical painting style, probably due to the lack of time. When I received the briefs for Brood Butcher and Quarantine Field, I tried to push myself again.
There are still some things that bug me about these illustrations, like the dark object in the foreground in Tide Drifter and the poorly rendered water in Brood Butcher, but sometimes you gotta turn in what you have.