160289 Chandra's Scorching
Fiery Impulse – MtG Origins

[pix_dropcap]I[/pix_dropcap]t has been a long time since my last post. We just recently moved and with my work schedule and helping raise mini Daarken, things have been pretty busy.

Origins was a special set for me. I was lucky enough to be on the concept push for Origins, so I helped design the look and feel of the set.

If you have seen the other cards that have been previewed, you will know that architecture, vehicles, and elaborately designs props and weapons play a huge part in this set. Those are also all things that I normally don’t paint, so it was a real challenge.

Before I started working on the concept push, I received a mixed review on my book Elysium. The person said

“I didn’t give it 5 stars like many others though, everyone has their own perspectives and reasons; me, I would have enjoyed more variety in color and poses. I understand that that artist is commissioned for specific pieces, but it doesn’t feel like he takes much risks. I’m not sure how many pieces he worked on to be exclusively for this book, but that would have been a great opportunity to get out of his comfort zone. It feels like he has a formula that works and is in a safe place at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I became an instant fan, the book is high quality, I agree with many of the reviewers, but didn’t give it the 5 stars because every other work was a little expected.”

Most people might ignore a review like this or think “they don’t know what they are talking about.” For me, this review really made me take a closer look at my decisions as an artist. I thought about it for weeks and months on end. I’m the type of person that will dwell on one single bad review instead of the hundreds of good reviews. This review wasn’t really bad, but you know what I mean.

Kaladesh Captain - MtG Origins
Kaladesh Captain – MtG Origins

After I received that review, I went to Renton for the concept push. Maybe the art gods were keeping tabs because I ended up having to work on a lot of architecture, vehicles, and elaborate props. It was great to get out of my comfort zone, but I was constantly second-guessing myself.

When it came time to work on Fiery Impulse, I did the sketch how I normally would. It was just the standard standing pose with Chandra casting some magic. Nothing special, but it got the job done.

After I finished my sketch, the words of the reviewer echoed through my head. This person was right. I wasn’t pushing myself or taking enough chances, so I completely started over. I tried to come up with something more dynamic and something out of my wheelhouse. If I hadn’t received that review, I probably wouldn’t have come up with that composition.

Hangarback Walker - MtG Origins
Hangarback Walker – MtG Origins

I guess the moral of the story is to take any negative feedback you receive and try to improve upon it. Don’t get mad or stomp around your house pouting, try and become a better artist. You are going to constantly receive criticism as a professional artist. If you can’t take it, you probably won’t last long.

I think it also helped that this person was nice with their feedback. Had they resorted to trolling, the result may have been much different. So I guess there is a double moral to this story; if you give someone a critique, be professional about it and try to give them feedback that will actually help the person.

One Reply to “Origins”
  1. Smart words from a smart guy. Lately my work has suffered from not getting feedback during the creation process (aren’t non-disclosure agreements so fun?). Inevitably when I DO post a piece–sometimes a year later, there’s always someone who points out something that I could change. I recently did an entry for Blizzard’s contest on DA and posted the entry on for kicks and giggles. The feedback was instant: lifeless, not painterly, etc. Now every time I paint I have his crit in my head, but my work is better for it. I’m always stronger after getting knocked down a couple of notches.

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