Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Revisiting Reprints: Duress

While I've already covered how Duress came to be in a post about reference (link), I figured I'd chat a bit about an aspect of the piece I really haven't spoken about before. But before I do, I figured I'd re-post some images and add something that isn't present in that previous post: an alternate sketch.

Here's the sketch for the piece as it was approved:

©Wizards of the Coast
In addition to the above sketch, however, I was asked to explore another option, just in case. While not revelatory, it does offer some insight into the process. I think.

©Wizards of the Coast
Sure it's a bit Lost smoke monster, but it was definitely worth taking a gander at as there was no telling at the time whether a veiny cage would work. I think it's rather fortunate for everyone involved that it did. Still, it's always worth trying different stuff. It'll either reinforce your decisions or poke holes in them. Both results (believe it or not) are good ones.

The result of the extra exploration was a piece that Wizards first printed in the Magic 2010 core set, then reprinted in the Magic 2011 core set, the Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic set, the Premium Deck Series: Graveborn set, and now the Magic 2013 core set. This image has really gotten around.

©Wizards of the Coast
Now, a fun fact about the piece is that I was given the choice as to whether or not the elf was a male or female. Obviously I chose female — ahem — it is obvious...right? I made that decision for two reasons. First, I was tired of painting guys. Second, in my mind, women were under-represented in the game, and given the opportunity to adjust the numbers somewhat, I thought it worth doing so.

To a certain extent, a result of this decision is that I strayed into the damsel in distress territory, which is an area I usually actively avoid. Thing is, in my mind this isn't an elf that is waiting to be rescued. In fact, there's no reason to believe she even will be. She is forever stuck in time under...well, duress. Still, like I said, I typically prefer not to depict female characters as victims if at all possible, so it's strange that I ended up doing just that. Add to this oddity that the image is a popular one (especially among men), and I have to admit that I've questioned my choice. Is it the image they're responding to? The fact that it's a female elf? Or is it the popularity of the card itself that drives the interest?

Either way, I must confess that there's a part of me that if given the chance to do it all over would paint another dude. It would be interesting to know whether it would retain its popularity.


  1. i don't think it would make much of a difference if it was a male

  2. This is one of my favorite cards. I can't imagine it with a guy.

  3. Bobaxur : Actually ... I landed here because I wondered if this was a male or female elf -XD-
    Great piece of art, Steven, keep up with the good work ^^


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