Every once in a while you get the chance to work on a project that just sings to you. The Eldraine release for Magic: the Gathering was one of those projects. The inspiration for the set is the realm of fairy tales and fables and one of the noted influences was the Pre-Raphaelite movement of art. My dream project essentially. Cynthia Shepperd was the AD and creative force behind the set and I owe her for letting me really jump in with both feet. I typically do 1-3 images for a set, but she let me take on 8 paintings for Eldraine. I can’t wait for them to be released! For now, I will start with an early image which is a landscape. I don’t paint a lot of landscapes so this was a great challenge and a ton of fun.

The brief asked for a landscape with a field of rose briars that extend off into the distance. I did three sketches with increasingly massive thorny vines. Cynthia chose #1. It was enough to make the point without being the complete focus, or at least not overwhelming the image.

With the sketch approved I moved onto a digital color study. I’ll add here that I had recently purchased an iPad Pro (this was about a year ago) and was enjoying sketching in Procreate. It’s a great program for sketches and comps. I love using it! In the winter I’ll sketch on the couch in front of the fire with a blanket keeping me warm. Almost makes me like winter. Almost.

Here is the final image of the painting. It is done in oils, 16×20 on linen mounted to a Gatorboard panel. Gatorboard is different from Gatorfoam or Foamcore. It is actual wood composite over a foam core. It is light and very flat, but you need to be careful not to drop because the corners will definitely dent or break. The linen mounted on it helps though because it will at least keep the painting intact and worst case a conservator could reline the painting.

And the painting in a custom made 16k gold frame from Masterworks Frames. I love that company. They definitely enhance my work!

Lastly is a video timelapse of the painting:

Or if you want to see a little longer version of it on Youtube:

Thanks for giving my post a read! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will do my best to get them answered.

Howard Lyon