This weekend I am attending the Magic: the Gathering Grand Prix in Las Vegas.If you aren’t familiar with an event for Magic: the Gathering (MtG), it is kind of like GenCon or DragonCon, but focused down to a smaller number of attendees, all of whom are very strong fans of the game.
Shot of the east hall – this shows about 1/10 of the space for the event
A typical Grand Prix might have 1500 attendees.It could seem like slim pickings compared to something like San Diego Comicon, where 130,000+ people attend, but everyone at a Magic Grand Prix is already a fan when they walk through the door.It translates in a great opportunity for MtG artists to meet some great people, sign cards and sell lots of prints.
Some of the original sketches I brought to sell from cards I have done artwork for
It is becoming the norm now for a Grand Prix to have 3-5 artists in attendance.The Las Vegas Grand Prix is not a normal even though.It smashed the previous record for attendance at a MtG event by more than double.This weekend there will be 12,000+ fans (there was room for 10k to sign up, but more are in attendance to buy from vendors and artists) and 32 artists!Here is a list of the artists:
Ryan Alexander Lee
Jeff A. Menges
Thomas M. Baxa
John Severin Brassell
Jason A. Engle
Ken Meyer Jr
Richard Kane Ferguson
I am looking forward to meeting in person many artists that I have only connected with online and also seeing some old friends that have purchased from me before and hopefully connecting to many more fans of the game.
Shot of Steve Argyle at his booth (you can see him over towards the right)
Today was the first day.For much of the day, I (and from what I could see all of the other artists as well) had a line with about a 30 minute way and was signing cards for about 9 hours straight with a break for lunch.I also did sketches on the back of artist proof, or white back cards and drawings on playmats and alters on the front of the cards.
With a Square reader handy and tip jar out, the MtG fans are always generous and make the trip out worthwhile!
Signing some cards for a new fan of the game
When I get back home, I will update this post with more shots from the event and any interesting experiences I can share so check back in a few days.
Howard began his career working in the video game industry. After 13 years working as a texture artist, concept artist and then art director, he left to pursue illustration. He has worked for clients such as Blizzard, Upper Deck, Wizards of the Coast, Electronic Arts, NCSoft, The Greenwich Workshop and Paizo Publishing.
He was a finalist in the Art Renewal Center 2011 - 2012 Salon in the figurative category, won an honorable mention in the Oil Painters of America 2011 Online Showcase and a Merit Award in the Springville 2011 Spring Salon. His work can also be found in various years of the Spectrum annual and was nominated for a Chesley Award in 2011.
He is very passionate about learning, studying the great artists and techniques of the past, particularly Caravaggio, Bloch, Bouguereau and Waterhouse.
When not painting or drawing Howard loves spending time with his wife and three kids, cooking, and trying to bake the perfect loaf of bread.