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Painting A Beautiful Magic Card Looks Very Difficult

Noah Bradley, an artist who has painted lots and lots of Magic cards, has released a time lapse video of his painting that illustrates the card New Horizons from Magic’s Ixalan set. Painting seems pretty hard!

Bradley is known for his big vistas and great-looking lands, and it’s no surprise that he’s literally creating a beautiful...horizon for these dinosaurs to check out. I don’t know much of anything about the actual process of digital painting, and so Bradley’s process is fascinating to me.

The final printed card.
The final printed card.
Image: Wizards of the Coast

His use of the transform tools is particularly interesting because he seems very willing to manipulate anything that doesn’t seem to fit or work just right. Just by watching the video, you get a sense of how he sees shapes and light working with each other, and after those big things are decided everything just sort of falls into place.


Or, rather, things fall into place over what appears to be a few hours.

This isn’t Bradley’s first video that showed his process for painting a Magic card. You can see his process video for the card Endless Sands and lots of other painting-oriented stuff on his YouTube channel.

I've played all of the Baldur's Gate games.

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“...over what appears to be a few hours.”

Eleven. It’s eleven hours. Maybe I’m reading the tone wrong, but this is a lot more work than “oh I slapped this together in 3hrs”.