This past month saw the release of a handful of new Magic: The Gathering cards I had illustrated for Streets of New Capenna, all art directed by Cynthia Sheppard and the last projects I worked with her upon before her departure from Wizards of the Coast to continue a freelance career.
A comment on a social media thread got me thinking about what makes my work have my ‘style’-
‘…that makes the work so distinctive that even before a named is mention, and from a glance, be it colored or a sketch on grain paper, you can easily tell that “Oh that’s a Donato, what’s this work about”?’
I have no ‘style’ on my conscious when I tackle project after project. I am not sure what I bring into the creative process which makes a piece a ‘Donato’. But I am certain that it has to do with intense, intentional engagement during the multiple steps of design, referencing, preliminary work, and final rendering which instills in the work a certain level of integrity.
I can see when I ‘short-cut’ any part of my steps, a bit of that ‘Donato’ voice gets softened. I do not know what comprises all those qualities, but I really am not thinking of that intent of style, I just am happy when the final art comes out well!
Here is the latest batch of new oil paintings, and luckily all seem to have my ‘style’: