Magic: The Gathering Concept Push 2016


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Steve Prescott, Me, Aleksi Briclot, Christine Choi, Chris Rallis – Photo by Colin Kawakami

I have returned from another 3-week concept push at Wizards of the Coast. As always, I can’t say what I worked on and people probably won’t see it for another 2 years or so. The waiting always kills me!

This time I was joined by Aleksi Briclot, Christine Choi, Chris Rallis, and Steve Prescott. Sam Burly and Tyler Jacobson also helped out with the concept push. With seven artists chipping away, we blew through a ton of art. By the third day, the entire wall was full of art.

I was pretty excited about this push, not just because of the content, but also because of the other artists. I have never met Aleksi, but I have been a huge fan of his for many years. He has been a big inspiration to me throughout my career. I think I felt a little fanboyish around him, hopefully he didn’t notice!

I had never met Christine or Chris either, so it’s always fun meeting new artists. Then there is Steve…that guy! Always giving me trouble. No, Steve is great, even though he does always leave me bell peppers with no tops.

The Pepper Top Bandit

What is this you ask? The Pepper Top Bandit. That’s right, he leaves me bell peppers with no top. Why you may ask? I have no idea, but I’m sure it is all part of some nefarious plan that deals with the trafficking of pepper tops.

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The Pepper Top Bandit strikes again!

On the last day of the push I opened my door to find a Blue Apron box. I knew Steve had one delivered, so I thought he was leaving me some goodies since he couldn’t take them on the plane. I quickly opened the box only to find a single bell pepper inside. A bell pepper with no top.

A little voice in my head screamed “nooooooooo” as I realized that there were no tasty treats to be found. Only a sad topless pepper sitting all alone in a cold insulated box.

Of course Aidan found the box and immediately opened it. He loves boxes. After a quick inspection of the topless pepper, he tossed it aside and proceeded to take everything out of the box and then climbed inside.

I thought the topless pepper incident was over since this happened once before back in 2014. Apparently Renton is a breeding ground for topless peppers.

The Push

Ok, back to the push. The push was awesome. I felt like I was having a really hard time during the first week or so, but I think I always feel that way. Everyone else seemed to do better work and I always get really intimidated by the other artists. It also doesn’t help when Steve creates 10 concepts a day. That guy is too fast!

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Signed loot!

On the last day I had the other artists sign some of my Magic cards. Some of the cards were brought from home. I was really worried because I didn’t have any of Christine’s cards and I didn’t want her to feel left out if I had cards for everyone else to sign. I had a few boosters with me and on my next to last booster I cracked a foil Fetid Heath. Boom!

It’s pretty funny that both Christine and I painted Fetid Heath. What are the chances? Especially since that is one of the few lands I’ve painted for Magic. Although I must say, Christine’s version is WAY better than mine.

I think I painted Fetid Heath about 8 years ago. Man, I’m old.

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Day at the zoo.

After the Push

The first week or so after a push is always weird. You get used to going to an office every day and chatting with other artists. Going home and working by yourself from your house always seems so lonely and quiet. I always have a hard time concentrating after a push and it’s hard to motivate myself to do any work.

I often find myself getting up after only working for a few minutes. Plus hearing Aidan playing in the other room always makes me want to go see what he is doing.

I don’t know if other people feel the same way after a push, but I think that is the hardest part about these pushes. That and I don’t get to drink Oregon Chai every morning from Julie’s. Mmmm, Oregon Chai.



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About daarken: I draw and eat cookies.