Kaladesh Previews from PAX

Gonti, Lord of Luxury © Wizards of the Coast
Gonti, Lord of Luxury © Wizards of the Coast

[pix_dropcap]I[/pix_dropcap]f 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? I then spent the rest of my time concepting Shadows of Innistrad and Eldritch Moon. The SOI/EMN team consisted of me, Cynthia Sheppard, Steve Belledin, Vince Proce, Wayne Reynolds, and Steve Prescott.

Later in 2015 I was brought in again to help concept the rest of Kaladesh. This time it was me, Steve Belledin, Cynthia Sheppard, Chris Rahn, and Tyler Jacobson.

This of course was the team that gave birth to the infamous Turtleneck & Chain photo, which was probably my greatest contribution to the concept push.

Photoshopping the team’s heads on something has become somewhat of a tradition at these pushes. Pretty soon I can decorate my whole house with awesome photos from pushes. Unfortunately I won’t be able to post the next one until 2017/2018.

Original Kaladesh concept
Original Kaladesh concept

During the World-Building Panel, my original concept of Kaladesh from 2014 was shown! I was pretty excited and honored they decided to show my Kaladesh concept.

I don’t paint architecture very often, so working on Kaladesh was extremely challenging for me. Kaladesh was even more difficult because everything needed to have crazy filigree designs and shapes.

This was the first idea I came up with for the look of Kaladesh and it ended up sticking until the end. The Origins concept push was pretty short compared to normal pushes, so I didn’t have long to work on this concept. I think I spent about a day on it.

Unfortunately when you have a limited amount of time to work on an entire world, you don’t get to spend very long on any given concept. There are a lot of things I would have liked to fix and refine on this concept, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I think I was able to take it to a point where other artists could use it as a jumping-off point.

3 Replies to “Kaladesh Previews from PAX”
  1. It always amazes me how versatile a Magic artist has to be. I can’t imagine there’s an IP out there more demanding in terms of variety. You guys have to create entire worlds basically twice a year.

    From what little I know of art, it seems like it would be easier to stay in your niche in other games/movies/whatever creative departments, when yeah you’re maybe focusing on four or five somewhat varied factions or something, but there’s a feel and mood that you can specialize in. But Magic demands so much more.

    You favor drawing animals and fantasy creatures? Too bad, this month is robot world! Fancy yourself a drawer of grim warriors and gritty realism? Nope, next is Happyland McBrightworld! Still life paintings were always your weak point in school? Well buckle up, we’re off to Kitchen Plane, where every creature is a bowl of fruit!

    Anyway this blog post was enlightening and entertaining. Very cool that you had such a big part in creating this plane.

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