Friday, December 25, 2009

A Short Art Break!!! (Favorites from Zendikar)

Have I complained to you about Magic art?


This might ruffle some feathers.

But I think most Magic art is ugly. Actually I guess that's the point. Goblins are ugly. Ogres are ugly. A lot of the humans are ugly. (Even some of the chicks are ugly despite having nice boobs. Or there are boobs on things that just should never have boobs. Although I guess Boobs are better than No Boobs. Even I can agree with Boobs.) Even creatures that seem like they should have grace and beauty are sometimes portrayed as unattractively grimy (Merfolk). I mean, that's the point, though.

The point is not to portray some cartoon version of fantasy worlds. It's to make them as realistic as possible. I don't expect MTG cards to look straight out of Final Fantasy.

But throw me a bone, Wizards. Seriously. I want cuter cards. Not prettier cards. Plenty of cards are pretty. But there is a definite lack of adorable things on these planes. And this does not make sense to me.

Check out this painting of Murderous Redcap done by Saejin Oh for Magic Online:

Awww that is so precious. (Link to DeviantArt.)

People relate more to attractive things. I think this is just true. But apparently people in the "fantasy genre" have their own ideas. Eh, if they're not gonna make cute cards; they should just put more attractive women into card frames. I don't see anything wrong with this. But often the chicks aren't even hot; or they're completely unrelatable because they're covered in centipedes. :/ I'm complainy today!

Maybe it's because it's Christmas Eve, and Santa hasn't come through my nonexistent Chimney yet, bearing gifts. Where are my presents???

Moving beyond that, I picked my favorite art pieces from Zendikar, one for each color (except red; I wasn't happy with any of the red cards). I'm excluding colorless because the full-art basic lands and the fetchlands are SO amazing that they overwhelm the entire set. Gotta give the rest a fair chance, here.

Journey to Nowhere is more conceptually interesting than artistically mind-boggling. It shows the outline of a man getting ported to "Nowhere", but to me, that Nowhere seems pretty sweet. If it's really what looks like a peaceful pasture with rolling clouds. He's leaving a forest with dead trees, gloomy skies, and no signs of life. Doesn't that seem like an upgrade? Maybe he's leaving the plains for the forest? Or more likely, in Zendikar, if you're somewhere spooky-looking and dangerous, that's where all the ADVENTURE is, and therefore you want to be in those places. Whereas a passive countryside would be the epitome of boring.


Living Tsunami is just really interesting to look at. It really looks like part of the ocean is hanging in midair -- the water is clear and warm-looking, like the waters of Hawaii beaches. Despite the horror one ought to feel at encountering an Elemental Tidal Wave, there is a welcoming aspect to it. I want to dive in and swim around  its insides. Also, what is that in its mouth? A hedron? What is that doing there?


Bloodghast is really awesome, too. Aesthetically it is very pleasing to the eye. Even though the art doesn't make a lot of sense. That's okay! Sense is overrated. I just love all the contrast going on in the picture. While the tones are very soft. It is vivid like a nightmare. Cozy like under the covers.


River Boa is one of those cards you have to see for yourself. It's so shiny, even while not foil. The digitized scales make it look 3D, like the snake is popping out at you. It looks surprisingly realistic. Also I just really like snakes.

Let me point out the similarities between all of these.

Each image has a central focal point, or "study." The images aren't busy. They're clean, with obvious foregrounds and backgrounds. The contrast levels in each painting are high -- there are very dark areas, and there are very white areas. Beyond that, they're very recognizable and easy on the eye.

Those are the kind of paintings I like on my cards!

I would like more if there were cuter cards, though! Please appeal to my demographic even if it's incredibly small!?