Hello everyone! You have just planeswalked in Magic C’est Chic and today we are bringing you some brand new content as we arere going to talk about art, and more specifically about the art of drawing for MTG. For this new series, we’re going to start big by introducing you to the work of Magali Villeneuve. But… why her? Glad you asked! Well, I have a lot of good reasons: First, because her work is wordly recognized even beyond MTG, as you’ll see. But also because she is 100% self-educated, she learned her job by herself so we hope to be able to inspire some aspiring artists by showing you her work. Also, she’s French and we’re proud of it! And finally because she is my favorite MTG artist. Voilà, shall we start?
Let’s go! Magali Villeneuve is an artist but also a fantasy autor, drawing as a job since 2006, and has drawn more than 70 Magic cards, from planeswalkers to legendary creatures and tokens. On the medieval-fantasy side, she has worked on many well-known franchises such as A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones) by providing drawings for the 2016 calendar and for the card game. A good example is this beautiful drawing of Daenerys with her dragons and who would probably get along well with Chandra And spoiler alert for the ones who still have not seen the show, There’s this seen which could be a canvas, on which Cersei is holding her dead son Geoffrey in her arms Magali manages to turn a pleasurable scene of the show into a heart-breaking moment But that’s not all – she has also worked on several The Lord of the Rings books and on the Warhammer Invasion TCG On the sci-fi and fantasy side, her name also appears on unavoidable franchises such as Star Wars and The Call of Cthulhu. On top of this, she also contributed to many covers of books published by Bragelonne, a French company. She starts her MTG adventure with the drawings of Order of Succession (Commander 2013) and Guardians of Meletis (Theros). As you’ll see all along this video, her work is highly regarded for the way she pictures humans and the attention she pays to details. But surpisingly, one of her first assignments for MTG was to work on a scenery and draw the Guardians of Meletis, which reminds us of the door of Argonath from The Lord of the Rings. It’s the door which is also called “Gate of Kings” which can be seen when
the fellowship navigates on the Anduin River and passes through a huge gate
made of two enormous statues raising a hand. All we can say is that she passed the test, as she kept on working for MTG since then! She describes her work as “dreamlike realism”, focused on the characters and costumes, with colors and intentions really different from “photo-realism”. She is inspired by MTG artists Michael Komarck and Chase Stone, respectively authors of Ulamog The Ceaseless Hunger and the Amonkhet Gods, but she also refers to “caravagesques” painters of the 16th century and “pre-raphaelites” of the 19th century. In a nutshell: highly detailed characters and costumes willingly “shinier” than in real life, and a lot of focus on light, shadow and scenery. As she is used to work on realistic settings like A Game of Thrones, she willingly adds more color and life to her art for MTG. It’s especially noticeable on cards like Halimar Tidecaller and the Masterpiece version of Painter’s Servant which really shine in our hands. Now you should start having flashes of cards which look familiar, but we’re gonna help you a bit. In 2014 for the set Khans of Tarkir, Magali draws the chief of the
Jeskai clan: Narset, Enlightened Master, which is still a
great Commander in EDH. Another iconic commander: Titania, Protector of Argoth who appears in Commander 2014. Magali especially likes to talk about this card to picture the work she puts on details: Titania protects her forest and is
one with it. We clearly see in her eyes that we are stepping foot on her territory at our own risks. In 2015 with Fate Reforged, appears the powerful Monastery Mentor, which saw play in Standard format and is still a Legacy staple. On the same year releases Dragons of Tarkir, and Narset appears once gain. But this time, her spark ignited and she has become a planeswalker: Narset Transcendant. Magali explains that this drawing has taken a lot of time to create, draw,
and obtain Wizards’ approval for this character. Actually, in the first place, Narset had a different stance which had to be modified as her arms were too spread to fit the card frame. Moving forward to Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown with Leovold, the legendary elf which was a bomb dropped on the Legacy format. And in 2016, she works on another planeswalker for Kaladesh: Chandra, Torch of Defiance, which is the key artwork of the set. As a result it is featured on ads, the official website, booster packs and other forms of packaging. Here again, designing such a character must have been a lot of work. You may have noticed that most of the cards we mentioned feature iconic female characters, but this also typical of Magali’s work for MTG. Even if we don’t have an official explanation for this, we want to emphasise on two points which complete each other: -On one hand, WOTC’s will to tell the story of strong women known for their heroic acts more than for their physical appearance. -On the other hand, Magali’s imagination to draw characters with charisma. We talked about Chandra, Narset and Titania, but the same can be
said about the knight Thalia who protects Innistrad, the mage Jhoira of the Ghitu or Rashmi, a genius inventor from Kaladesh. These pieces of art contribute to avoid the stereotype of female characters wearing armors only covering their breast or pubis. And this is really important to give more credibility to hobbies related to fantasy. There are also cards which were less noticed because they were not legendary creatures or simply because they were not played, but for which Magali still put a lot of effort on. We can cite Scrapper Champion, another female warrior wearing some sort of exo-skeleton really different from what we could see so far in the MTG universe. We can also cite the Soldier Token of Modern Masters 2017 which is so detailed that we can even see the warrior’s freckles. To conclude this overview of Magali Villeneuve’s work, we prepared a Top 3 as we like to do in Magic C’est Chic. I will give the third place to the gorgeous art for Linvala and the second place to the Soldier Token we just talked about. I choose these two cards for what they have in common: the way she depicts clothes floating in the air. It was already noticeable on Narset and it looks even greater on Linvala. We can even see the light passing through, both on Linvala and the token’s art. And I will give the first place to the FNM art of Call the Bloodline from Innistrad, with Olivia Voldaren, the vampire queen of this gothic world. It is great to see that Magali can also
provide great art for darker settings. Especially the moonlight behind Olivia
which makes her red hair shine in a gorgeous way… and redheads are my thing
so I had to give this card the first place! My top 3 is also all about women and I’ll stay on Innistrad to talk about Thalia, Heretic Cathar, a beautiful lady in a plate armor
and gorgeous blond hair which shine under the terrifying moonlight of Innistrad. Then I’ll move to Dominaria with Titania. We talked about her earlier but we’ll go back to this art for a second so that you can notice all the details on the colors, the trees and Titania’s look. The lines are so thin and subtle that some leafs look like tattoos. Here again a lot of work has been put into the light, with the shadow of the forest resting on Titania’s eyes Pretty scary! I will conclude with Chandra, Torch of Defiance from Kaladesh which literally is a firework of red colors, with fire bursting out of Chandra’s hands, swirling around her and passing through her burning hair. There are also a lot of details on her armor and the reflection of the fire on it. It is, to me, the best art from Magali to date. To conclude, note that Magali Villeneuve is also the author of the dark-fantasy saga “Line of Descent” from which you can already buy the whole first season. If you want to follow her work, you can find her on Twitter @Cathaoir1 and Facebook “Magali Villeneuve Artworks”. She also has a website and if you like her work, go and buy some exclusive tokens, playmats, posters and artist proofs. That will be all for this first episode, we hope that, like us, you will appreciate Magali’s work even more after watching this video, and that you will have a different look at your cards from now on. Thank you and see you soon for new videos about Magic: The Gathering!