The Art of Magic



Hey there! My name is Gaby Spartz and I’m one of the members of TeamCFBUltimateGuard. Today on the blog I want to share a fun way I’ve found of enjoying Magic: the Gathering, that pays homage to one of the coolest aspects of the game - the artwork!

When I got into Magic in 2012, the artwork was one of the first things that drew me in. The art of each card has a great way of communicating the mechanics of the card while also telling you about the flavor and story of the set.

I met many of my friends while playing Magic, so unsurprisingly, we share the love for the game and the artwork. A couple of years ago, we started a weekly Friday night tradition of “Sip n’ Paint: Magic: the Gathering Edition!”

Sip n' Paint: Magic: the Gathering Edition

Sip n’ Paints are quite fun if you’ve never been to one. They’re very popular in the US, as an activity to go to with your family, friends or significant other. They’re typically hosted at an art studio, where a teacher will show you how to paint something like a landscape, and you drink cocktails, wine and beers while painting.

Since there were no art studios teaching us how to paint Magic cards, we decided to do it ourselves. We got our friends, drinks, materials and a card for reference. None of us had much experience with painting, but that honestly makes it more fun. You could look up some techniques for painting with acrylics, or just dive into it like we did. Painting is a form of self expression, so there isn’t a wrong way to do it. Feast your eyes on our creations!

For our very first painting, we started with something without many colors. None of us had painted anything in years, so we wanted to pick something that would let us play with acrylics without worrying about mixing and matching colors. We ended up going with the original Lightning Bolt art by the late Christopher Rush. My bolt is on the bottom left.

Next up, we paid homage to Birds of Paradise by Mark Poole, another timeless classic. We were actually lucky enough to meet up with Mark at a Grand Prix a couple of months after our paint night, and we got to show him a picture of our paintings. He loved our birds and the idea of paint night. My bird is the painting on the top left corner.

We often gravitated towards older cards when choosing what to paint, since older cards tend to have more simplistic designs. These days, a lot of Magic art is created digitally, so we knew we stood no chance in trying to recreate recent Magic art. We also love the look and aesthetic of classic Magic cards, such as Disenchant by Amy Weber. My Disenchant is top left.

Once we had more experience under our belt, we decided to try a challenging piece: Gilded Lotus by Martina Pilcerova. The artwork is captivating, but drawing metal can be difficult with acrylics, especially when drawing the way light reflects off the petals of a metallic flower. This paint night took us longer than most nights, but I think everyone’s Lotuses came out great! My lotus is on the bottom left corner.

For the release of Guilds of Ravnica, we took a different approach and decided to do different paintings based on which guild we identified with the most. We decided to paint the original signet cycle, and we all ended up in different guilds. As a pretty chaotic person, I ended up drawing Rakdos Signet by Greg Hildebrandt. This painting was really fun to tackle. Rakdos Signet has vibrant red, orange and yellow hues, so it took a long time before I was satisfied with it.

You may have noticed that some of these pictures have numbers next to each painting. Being competitive Magic players, we liked comparing our artwork and having folks on Twitter vote on who did best before revealing the artist, but that’s completely optional!

Do you want to host your own Magic paint night?

Here’s a list of the things you’ll need:

  • Acrylic paint - just be careful of spills because acrylic paint stains! If you do get some on your clothes, wash it out with soap and water ASAP.
  • A variety of brushes.
  • Disposable cups to rinse your brushes.
  • Color palette - we had some cheap plastic ones, but you can improvise and use a flat surface that won’t absorb your paint.
  • One canvas per painter - we used 12” x 16”, but any size you want is good!
  • One easel per painter - You can get these at an art supply store, and if they don’t have them, you can also use poster stands.

Now get some of your friends together and gather your materials. It’s time to paint some Magic art!

Author: Gaby Spartz

Magic the Gathering, Member of Team CFB UltimateGuard

Gaby’s passion for Magic began in 2011, with her best friend giving her a deckbuilder’s toolkit. Little did she know that this was a trap… she’s been hooked ever since! Gaby is an avid streamer, playing various formats on her stream. Counting as a Limited fanatic, she will play anything Draft but also has a fondness for Cube. Learn more about Gaby!