Monday, January 4, 2021

Dustin, the Scorched

Lately I've been wanting to create some sample illustrations to submit to Wizards of the Coast. When Christmas rolled around, I was wondering what gift to give to my brother-in-law Dusty. He plays Magic the Gathering, and he's always been very supportive of my artwork. So I figured: two birds, one stone. Let's draw a Magic card for Dusty!

Dusty is...shall we say...not a shrinking violet. I knew right away that he needed to be a red fire mage. I also knew that, if the card was going to realistically look like Dusty, I was going to need to ask him to take some photo references. So the portrait wasn't going to be a surprise.

Still I think he was more than a little surprised when one morning I sent him this photo:

"Can you pose like this for me?" I said.

He certainly delivered.

The photo reference made the pose and expression easy, and I already settled a cool-toned background to contrast with the fire. But I had a surprisingly hard time coming up with an interesting outfit and character design. It went through a lot of iterations that were too Vanilla Fantasy.

My husband came up with the idea of "The Scorched Mage," a fire caster whose spells are so powerful that his own sleeves are singed.

The glasses is an alternate version.

Finally, my husband designed a card for the art:

So there you go, my first Legendary Planeswalker. Merry Christmas Dusty!


  1. Hey Kelly! I just found your blog and youtube and wanted to say thank you for sharing such brilliant information. I'm an aspiring illustrator and love learning about your process and am very much enjoying your sense of humour :)

  2. Thank you Molly! I'm really glad that you're finding my blog useful!


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