Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spectrum 24 Award Winners

Photo © JJ Torres

This past weekend was Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. Aside from being an amazing convention full of demos, panels, artists and friends, the real highlight of the weekend was the Spectrum 24 Awards Ceremony. Held at the beautiful Folly theatre, we were treated to an evening of stand-up comedy, live dancing, and some amazingly heartfelt speeches.

In addition to the book awards, Kristine and Colin Poole awarded their Spectrum Rising Star Award, and we got a sneak peak into J. Anthony Kosar's process of creating this year's Spectrum Award, which is a jaw dropping work of art.


Alessandra Pisano


Silver Award: Greg Ruth, "Daredevil"

Gold Award: Bayard Wu, "Hunting"


Silver Award: Edward Kinsella III, "Danneee"

Gold Award: Brom, "Lamia"


Silver Award: Dave McKean, "Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash"

Gold Award: Jeremy Wilson, "Chimera Brigade #5"


Silver Award: Iain McCaig, "Minion 5"

Gold Award: Sean Murray, "Court of the Dead: Voxxingard"


Silver Award: Akihito, "Nephila"

Gold Award: Jesse Thompson, "Dress-Up Frog Legs"


Silver Award: Galen Dara, "Seven Salt Tears"

Gold Award: Tim O'Brien, "Beyonce 'Lemonade'"


Silver Award: Ed Binkley, "William Finds Some Flowers and a Giant"

Gold Award: Bill Carman, "Ms. Hatter and a Smile"


Silver Award: Jeffrey Alan Love, "Orange Skies"

Gold Award: Karla "Oritz" Ortiz, "The Death I Bring"


Bill Sienkiewicz

Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Blogger: Victor Adame Mínguez

-By Jesper Ejsing

I met Victor Adame Minguez half a year ago at a GP in Rotterdam. I had admired his work for awhile but seeing it all spread out on the table in form of huge posters and playmats I really fell in love with his style. I love his sense of colors and vibrancy to light and atmosphere. His shadows are always filled with colors and the light he paints seems to bounch all over the place. But it wasn´t until this last set of Magic the Gathering: Amonketh that I had my jaw drop. When the mummy procession painting was revealed, I said to myslef; "How the hell did he get the light so believable and cool? I gotta know! but I cannot just ask him. I will sound like a stalker or a fanboy or a fellow artist trying to rip his style and Technic..." Then it dawned on me. I would ask him to write an article for muddycolors about that specific painting and it will not sound weird. Well here it is. in his own words...


Hello everyone! My name is Victor Adame Mínguez and I work as a freelance artist for Magic, the Gathering. Today we’re going over the process of creating one of my favourite pieces of magic art I’ve done; Anointed Procession, for the egiptian-inspired mtg set Amonkhet. Before we dive in I would like to thank Jesper Ejsing and our host Muddy Colors for the opportunity.

A little disclaimer, this was a “simple” piece for me to make, all the elements fell into place smoothly during the initial stages, I was confident with the direction I was going to take and the art description was quite fitting for my style, and goes a little like this:

A procession of servant-mummies are carrying corpses of defeated warriors from inside the monument. The bodies hang limp -- they are clearly dead. It looks almost like a funeral procession, except that the dead are being carried so callously, like taking out the trash (not to mention the fact that they're being carried by undead mummies!). Somewhere in the frame, the Planeswalker GIDEON witnesses this procession of the dead. He is just now learning about this world's callous treatment of its dead, so maybe he looks deeply concerned, brow furrowed in dismay.

Focus: The procession of dead bodies
Mood: Living warriors went into the monument... dead warriors come out.

Pretty cool right? So one thing I was practicing the most during that time was the making of both thumbnails and maquettes, thumbnails are essential to figure out the composition on a piece and work especially well here since the final outcome is a 4 x 5 cm image. Unfortunately I did not keep an image of the thumbnail but it’s pretty close to what the underpainting looks like:


For this one I knew I wanted to use a muted palette and limit it as much as I could, for those who follow my work know I like to go all out on color so this was a welcome change of pace, it would also contrast well with the previous world of Kaladesh. The bright but scattered light, fog, and neutral tones are very reminiscent of the early morning, which was the feel I wanted to convey here, to make a funeral procession an everyday thing, something calm and quiet, mundane for the people in his plane but alien to the eyes of the spectator, and speaking of which, the figure that stands out is that of Gideon, we did not only want to place the planeswalker in this foreign, uncomfortable environment, but rather place us the viewer there, in the place of Gideon watching the scene in awe and horror. After throwing in some lines this is the sketch I sent:

Line art

It was approved only with one change in Gideon’s armor. I like sketching this way because it gives me a better understanding of limits and shapes, the lines also help me out posing objects while I shoot reference, which brings me to reference; what I use for the most part are maquettes and models, I often pose myself or have friends pose, this one I had a friend serve as Gideon and the mummies were those 5 dollar anatomic dummies you get in art supplies stores, except painted white and dressed with some toilet paper drapery and cloned times 20 with the magic of photography. How well you use reference will dictate the outcome of the piece, it will provide the light, shapes and even proportions to turn the final image into something believable.

I favor real life reference over 3D, first because I don’t know how to do 3D, second, it allows me to take time away from the screen for which my eyes are thankful, and third, it gives me a better understanding of three-dimensional objects, to go around them, hold in your hand and see how they react to different sources of light will help you have a better feel for those things.
Lastly the final image, this was done digitally like most of my work.

“Anointed Procession” for Magic: The Gathering, ©Wizards of the Coast 2017, Art Director: Cynthia Sheppard.

And the card itself. I’m quite happy with the outcome and response from the player base, the colors play well with the white borders of the card, it is readable at that size which is imperative to the success of any MtG painting and to the card itself, the player is able to recognize the card and what it does with just a simple glimpse of the art which speeds up the game. (note that I also play mtg and I shamessly admit that this card being so, so good makes me quite happy as well).

- Víctor

You can see more of Victor's work at: http://victoradameart.com

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Entry No. 1 - Are White and Black Colors?

-By Ron Lemen

Norman Rockwell

Hello again, it is Spectrum time.  Most of you readers will likely be attending so the reading will be light.  When my day to post falls upon an event as such, I will leave you with a definition or description of some interesting and often times neglected art concepts that either have little explanation to help define them, or that the meaning is often times confused by the “ill-informed” books, magazine articles and instructors.

Today’s topic involves paints that are used towards opaque representational art.

White and black are “color adjusters” and not colors.  THIS RULE COMES FROM THE REPRESENTATIONAL ART WORLD. 
*If you are a designer, you might consider white and black to be a part of a color family, simple and graphic.  

When getting down to basics as a painter, white, gray (white and black mixed), and black are tint, tone, and shade agents respectively for the colors on your palette.

The HSB color-sliders in Photoshop are a great technical example to show how white and black affect the colors we mix them with.

There are specialty colors or novelty colors made by all companies like Black Olive, or Buff White but should be avoided when learning how to paint with pigments that have a proven history of success.

A few common mistakes with White and Black:

-Thinking you shouldn’t use black as a hue on your palette as is often prescribed for some strange reason by many art instructors.

-Attempting to paint a full value picture without using white or black to paint it.  While it is true that you can use any paints that are light as a tinting pigment, if they are of a specific hue, the new mixture will be a combination of these two hues and not just a lighter version of what you may need.

-Mixing in too much white thinking that it will help lighten the color.

-Mixing too much black into a mixture thinking that it will just become a blacker version of the color you are using at the time.  

-Using black as a color and painting without mixing anything with it will cause the black areas to feel disconnected with the rest of the painting.

-Painting with White to lighten a color to show that it is lit.  Yes, this can be incorrect.  Light is associated with temperature, temperature is associated with color.   All light has a coloration to it, never purely white, therefore when altering a hue to give it the feeling of being lit by said light source the white alone cannot be used, and should rarely be used on its own.  Mix a hue into it that resembles the temperature of the light source and the color will feel more correct to the influence of the light source.

-Starting a canvas with light value colors or whites on a light to white surface.  Because the white matches the surface it might be forgotten that it was painted down, and the next layer of hue added with be drastically altered by the hidden white painted on the surface.

-Using any ole white or black to work with without the understanding that there are specialty whites and blacks and there are novelty whites and blacks, and then there are useful tried and true white and blacks that are considered benchmark standards in our painting industry.  Here are a few pigments worth investing in:

White Pigments

Titanium White – The most opaque pigment on the market is the ubiquitous mixing white across the pigment boards.  Very Powerful and you do not need very much to tint a hue.

Zinc White –  semi to very transparent, useful for mixing subtle colors and for glazing

Cremintz White – slightly transparent, less than Titanium and More than zinc

Lead White – One of the first good white paints that builds up very opaquely but when thinned is a very good turbid pigment usually favoring the cool temperatures/hues

Flake White – Semi Transparent, usually not made with real lead these days but has similar characteristics including its temperature and stiffness 

pulled from a white pigment test found
on a blog by Jonathan Linton

Black Pigments

Ivory Black – semi-transparent to transparent depending upon the brand.  Unmixed it is warm, add white to it and it cools off to a very chromatic blue direction

Lamp Black – Very transparent and the bluest of the black pigment family, very slow drying

Vine Black – or drop black is inferior by design, very blue in its body hue, and fugitive, semi to very transparent- not worth using most of the time but worth listing since most brands still sell it

Bone Black – just another name for Ivory Black but used by several companies

Mars Black – dense and opaque, the warmest of the black pigments, dries very fast

Blue Black – typically mixed using Ivory Black and Ultramarine Blue and is semi-transparent, good blue blacks are made with Cobalt blue, more neutral in the hue, and are very transparent

 Enjoy the weekend,
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.