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WotC Concept Push

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Foggy WotC building

The Room

I spent the past three weeks locked away in a room with four other guys, huddled over a computer, marinating in warm concept artiness. Occasionally I would glance over at the other guys to see what they were doing, and I was always both impressed and intimidated by their work.

These weren’t ordinary guys, they were a class of souped-up concept art beefcakes that smashed your face in with their stylus while sipping their tea and coffee. With the caliber of the other guys, I”m not quite sure why I was there.

By the end of the day we were nice and ripe. The last time I did a concept push (for Innistrad) we were in a pretty small room, luckily this room was a bit larger. I’m glad they didn’t put us in separate cubicles. Cubes aren’t exactly very conducive to a creative atmosphere. I know when I worked in a cube at Mythic, people didn’t collaborate nearly as often.

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I got the guys to sign my cards! Woop!

The Players

So who were these masked men?¬†Tyler Jacobson, Chase Stone, Sam Burley, and Wayne Reynolds.¬†They are a fantastic group of guys and I’m glad I got to meet and work with them. I definitely need to work harder in order to compete with these guys. It sounds like I’m gushing, but they really are an awesome group of guys. Ok, maybe I’m gushing a little bit. I can’t help it, Wayne is just so dreamy! I think it’s the sideburns.

It was hugely inspirational to see the concepts they were churning out and I can’t wait till the style guide comes out. Too bad it won’t be until next year probably! Unfortunately I can’t say what we worked on, but it should be cool when it is finished! I know, I’m just sticking in the knife and turning it.

The mall!
The mall, home of yummy crepes.

The Game

It has been a few years since I worked in a studio, so it was nice to get back to working with other artists. As a freelancer I tend to stay at home and not interact with the outside world. Working with other artists can really inspire you and give you an insight into their design process and how they solve problems. Artists usually tend to have a certain style and design sense, so after awhile your concepts might look the same. What is great is that I can look at what the other guys are doing and say “hey, I never thought of using that shape.”

I think collaboration when creating a world is essential in order for it to have a believable and cohesive look. I know sometimes as a freelancer when I’m working on a game I don’t feel like I really know what the world is all about because I’m not shown what the other artists are working on. Again, that is one of the great things about being a staff artist. You can just look at what the people around you are doing, you can’t exactly do that when you work from home.

Tyler Jacobson signing his very first Magic cards! :O
Tyler Jacobson signing his very first Magic cards! :O

Other than painting all day, I worked on some freelance work back at the hotel. The freelancing life is never over! I did get to go to the city a few times and eat with some friends, so that was nice. Kekai Kotaki showed up on our last night, so it was good to be able to see him again.

We also got to play some Magic in the hotel lobby. Tyler hasn’t played since Ice Age, but he got back into the groove pretty quickly. I also got to witness history in the making, Tyler signing his very first Magic cards! I had to take a picture to commemorate the event.

The End

I would just like to say thanks to all of the people at WotC for having me out there, it was awesome! I hope they aren’t getting tired of me because I would love to go back soon. Working on these concept pushes is always the highlight of the year.

It was a pleasure meeting the other concept artists. Hopefully we keep in touch and meet up again soon. If I move to Seattle, I think we should definitely share a studio space!