Mordenkainen the Wizard 34” x 25” Oil on Panel, 2020 Art Director: Zack Stella

A couple of years ago I had the honor of painting the major D&D character, Mordenkainen the Wizard, as a Planeswalker for the Magic:The Gathering expansion: Dungeons and Dragons – Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. While I shared detailed images of the work back then, I realized that I did not also share some of the step by step photos of the work in progress.

This painting is one my most detailed and masterfully executed Magic: The Gathering cards as well as one of the finest portraits to grace my portfolio.

The portrait of Mordenkainen envelopes so much of what I love about my career as an artist – from portraiture, to narrative storytelling, rendering of reflective surfaces, dramatic lighting effects, and most importantly conveying a sense of wonder and mystery. We may never know what the wizard was working upon as we interrupted his contemplative thoughts in his study, but we can be certain we will feel the wrath of his ire!

Enjoy the various steps taken to bring this image to life.

Small abstract study, ~ 3″ x 2″ Watercolor Pencil and Chalk on Toned Paper


Value Study/Rough, 12″ x 9″, Pigment and Ink on Duralar


Preliminary Drawing, 24″ x 18″ Graphite on Toned Paper

Color Study, Acrylic on Paper ~ 12″ x 9″

First pass of acrylics for final painting

Second pass of acrylics, laying in value and color direction.

Application of oil paint, typically very heavy opaque as details are rendered and committed to.

Further oil development, details on costume rendered out.

The whole surface has now received at least one, if not more, passes in oils.


Detailing on the floor worked out.

Lightning strike added. Tinting and glazing to orchestrate the piece with color and value overall.


Final, Mordenkainen the Wizard, 34” x 25” Oil on Panel, 2020

As this painting came to a close, a proper frame was needed to house this image and complement its craftsmanship. Masterworks Frames in Utah was commissioned to create a customized silver frame with a slight accent of dark blue in the broad field of the frame. FINISHED!

For those interested in Giclee Prints of the Wizard, they may be found in my website store: