- 5 black/white thumbnails for your magic card illustrations. Use a 2x3 aspect ratio. They don't need to be fully rendered, but make sure they are at the point where you can clearly tell what's going on in the image and give some indication to materials, lighting, etc. Print.
- Brief: "As the sky opens up, a powerful [element] highlights a sacred burial ground with intricate stone carvings, steps, and altar located in [environment]. A High Priest [your character] in the center leads a sacrifice surrounded by spectators.
Also, here are a few things to keep in mind when making your thumbnails. This is from some old feedback I got from one of Magic the Gathering's art directors and I think it's a great insight into what they're looking for.
1.) MAGIC’s art is CINEMATIC. This relates to how images are staged/ composed and the lighting of the scene. We want powerful compositions with strong silhouettes that are easy to read upside down and from across a table when only 2x2 inches.2.) HEROIC STAGING. We like to think of this game as Empowerment Fantasy. We want to give players objects and play styles they can identify with and feel empowered by. We want all of our characters to be awesome in their own ways.3.) LOCAL COLOR vs. LIGHTING BIAS. Too much local color is juvenile. We gravitate to images where the color of the light impacts the environment and characters within.
And for this brief specifically, it's asking to show an event: a sacrifice. Regardless of whether you want to focus on the characters or on the environment, there should be a clear narrative depicting a sacrifice. If you're not sure how to illustrate that, try to think of it as either before, during, or after the actual sacrifice. Are there other figures carrying the sacrifice to the altar as the high priest prepares some ritual? Is it a closeup shot showing the moment the character is being sacrificed? Or is your image showing the effect the sacrifice had, like open up a portal or summon a monster? Also, what's being sacrificed and why? Answering these questions for yourself can help you establish a direction you want to take your illustration early on.
Have fun this week guys!