Art & Cookies


Abyssal Specter

Abyssal Specter - Modern Masters 2017
Daarken here with some new art. I believe I only have one new painting in Modern Masters 2017, which is funny because I wasn't even aware that I was creating an illustration for it.
How can that be? Sometimes art is used for other sets or sometimes an art description might be lumped together with another assignment.
I actually received the commission for Abyssal Specter in the same email with Arcbound Ravager and the Aether Revolt story illustration. Since I grew up playing Magic, I knew Abyssal Specter was an existing card (I remember it […]



Everyone is a Critic

The digital age has given way to opinions and criticism from virtually everyone, many of which are either unsolicited or malicious. The internet has given people a veil of anonymity through which they don't have to look the person in the eye or deal with the consequences. Like mob mentality, the glowing computer screen has bolstered their bravado.
Regardless of your profession, you are going to meet criticism at every turn. How you deal with that criticism can either break or make you. I'm probably not the best person to give advice concerning trolls since I tend disregard my own advice, […]



Volo’s Guide to Monsters – Concepts

Draegloth concept
A few months ago I posted some of my Yuan-ti concepts I created for Volo's Guide to Monsters. We were given permission to post the rest of the concepts we created during the 3-week long concept push where I was joined by Chris Rahn and Tyler Jacobson. I guess you could refer to us as "Team Academy" since all three of us graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
D&D concept pushes are always a little more relaxed than Magic: The Gathering pushes. The needs are easier to meet since you don't have to hit specific goals […]



Gumroad Charity

For the month of January I will be donating 100% of my Gumroad sales to Point Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.
If anyone wants to match my final donation, you will be eligible to receive a swag bag from me which will contain some signed Magic: The Gathering proofs and original sketches.
Your matched donation doesn't need to be donated to the same charities, you can choose your own. You will of course need to provide your donation confirmation to be considered. I will only pick one winner at random to receive the swag bag. The winner will be picked […]



Aether Revolt

Yahenni's Expertise - Aether Revolt © Wizards of the Coast
It's preview season again for the upcoming Magic: The Gathering set Aether Revolt, due to hit stores January 20th, 2017.
So far two of my cards have been previewed: Yahenni's Expertise and Scrap Trawler. I believe I have a total of five cards in Aether Revolt. Originally Solemn Simulacrum was going to be Aether Revolt, or at least it was commissioned during the same wave as Yahenni's Expertise and Scrap Trawler. I was a little surprised when it came out in Kaladesh. I also created a story illustration and trailer […]



Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Today I received a copy of Volo's Guide to Monsters in the mail, which was a surprise because I didn't know I had any art in it. I thought it would be fun to film an unboxing so that we can experience the surprise together!

Yuan-ti
Yuan-ti are a pretty iconic race of the Dungeons & Dragons world, and one that can be tricky to illustrate. Combining a creature, like a snake, with a human can often lead to a silly looking creature. I wanted the yuan-ti to look cool and feel more realistic, so it was a challenge designing […]



Kaladesh

Solemn Simulacrum a.k.a. sad robot
All of my cards for Kaladesh have now been previewed! I have a total of 6 cards in Kaladesh and I think I'll have 4 in Aether Revolt? I'll have to check.
Working on Kaladesh was a huge change from Innistrad, not just the content, but also the lighting and color palette. Kaladesh is all about light and color, so I really wanted to push my lighting and come up with some more interesting lighting schemes and let the light tell a story.
Since Kaladesh was such a big change from what I normally do, […]



Crash & Burn

Well, my first Kickstarter was a spectacular failure. I only ended up raising $4,446 out of my $15,000 goal. If you don't know how Kickstarter works, it's an all or nothing platform. If you don't hit your goal, you don't receive any money.
After the first week I saw that my Kickstarter wasn't going anywhere, so I sort of gave up. I hate spamming people and I don't like bugging anyone, so I just let it die. Even if I hit my $15,000 goal, that would have been $0 profit for me. All of that money would have gone to taxes, […]



Kaladesh Previews from PAX

Gonti, Lord of Luxury © Wizards of the Coast
If you've been following Magic: The Gathering at PAX, then you've probably seen a few of my concepts and illustrations for the upcoming set Kaladesh.
Back in 2014 I was brought in as part of a team to help concept the world of Kaladesh for Origins. I believe during that original push it was just me, Cynthia Sheppard, and Steve Belledin.
Typically we work on a world for three weeks, but since this was just a mini push, I think we only worked on it for a week...or was it two? […]



Khorne Pit Fight

It was recently announced that my Khorne painting will be on the cover of the September 2016 issue of White Dwarf magazine!
I used to look through White Dwarf when I was a kid, so it's crazy to think that one of my paintings will be on the cover.
You might have noticed that my painting is quite a bit different than the version used for the cover. The colors have changed, the background is gone, and the figures are in different places. Since GW owns the copyright to the painting, they are allowed to make any changes they see […]