Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Productive Meeting

I often get asked where I get my ideas from.  While a potentially interesting topic, this entry is not about that.  In fact, this entry is about when I get my ideas... or rather two specific ideas.

At present, I live in a cooperative apartment building.  During this year's annual meeting in January, I found my mind drifting (as it so often does during such meetings).  Earlier that day I had been assigned a couple of pieces for Magic: The Gathering and I started to ponder how to solve the problems each presented.  Equipped solely with the paperwork documenting the financial status of the co-op and a black, ballpoint pen, my wondering mind began to take focus and I started to explore some options for the work I'd been assigned.

The doodles and drawings that resulted laid the groundwork for "Grand Architect" (which I've discussed before) and "Putrefax" — two pieces from the most recent Magic set.  Here are the very first stabs at these two pieces:

I believe this page was a comparison between the budgets of 2009 and 2010.

In the margins of this first page, I started to explore the Putrefax design.  The Putrefax didn't previously exist, so I had to design him from scratch.  It's pretty clear that while I had a vague idea of what I wanted, the creature was pretty half-baked and needed more exploration.  For some reason, I decided to think about him some more and moved on to the "Grand Architect."

Notice that the Architect's composition is different from the finished painting.  While the pose of the main figure and the design of his podium remained pretty much the same, they are drawn from a frontal perspective that I later abandoned in favor of a 3/4 view instead.

As the title suggests, an outline of the meeting's agenda.  Also some drawings and random snarky comments.
This page furthers the evolution of the Putrefax.  Another few attempts were taken here, and I somehow hit upon a design that I actually liked at the bottom.  In fact, I went on to copy that drawing and expand upon it for the final sketch shown here:

©Wizards of the Coast
Which resulted in this painting:

©Wizards of the Coast
Which resulted in this card:

©Wizards of the Coast
As seen in the window of this starter deck:

©Wizards of the Coast
So, why did this idea come at the time it did?  Well, to be sure I was preoccupied with the assignment at the time of the meeting.  It also didn't hurt that the president of the co-op board was up in front of everyone talking.  That got my brain on the path of depicting the Grand Architect's speech. However, the idea of depicting a speech seemed small in comparison to coming up with a design for the Putrefax, and so I tried to tackle the Putrefax first.  As so often happens when assigned multiple pieces, I bounce back and forth from one to another until they are all done.  One thing will inspire the next and these inspirations are not always linear for me.

As I recall it, when I drew those first pen sketches, I was getting irritated because we were nearing two full hours of discussion at the annual meeting and had gotten to the point in the agenda when people get to start registering their complaints (a sure sign that there was another hour to go).  I guess it's fair to say that my feelings regarding some of the complaints inspired aspects of the design.  It entertained me to think about the Putrefax rising up out of the growing negativity in the room and chasing select individuals away, thus allowing the rest of us a chance to get back to our respective apartments and enjoy the small sliver of the evening that still remained.  Instead I got to listen to many Grand Architects officiously drone on and on, all the while toiling to make both a reality.


  1. Man, Putrefax is killer. I love the composition.

    You guys in Boston yet?

  2. Thanks, man. I'm not sure I got everything out of Putrefax that I'd hoped to. I find illustrating is much like trying to wring out a sponge. You gotta squeeze to get as much out of it as possible.

    As for Boston, it's sort of a hurry-up and wait prospect. Though Amy's first day at New Balance is November 16th, we likely won't move up there completely until December. Fun!

  3. Putrefax is my favorite card that I play with. Not only the card, but the artwork. Oddly enough, till now, I thought it was on two legs with jacked up hands and facing the right. After seeing it larger sized I realized it was actually facing leftish, on all fours, and snarling right. haha.

    Love it. Thanks for this art.

  4. Interesting take on the image, Logan. Reduction can play some serious tricks on a piece. I guess this is one of those instances.

    Thanks for the compliment, too! It was a fun piece and it's good to know folks appreciate it!



I welcome all comments, questions, and discussion so long as you keep it civil.