Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fiery Personalities

The new Chandra was spoiled today by Mike Flores over on dailymtg. I definitely have a few altered ones already under my belt, so I thought I'd post a few.

My first attempt from 2009.

The finished the second one in Korea that same year.

Nova, a herald to Galactus.

Firestar, one of Spiderman's Amazing Friends.

And my personal favorite, Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The new Transformers movie comes out today. To commemorate the occasion we have this older addition to a friend's cube. It was featured in a Jeremy Froggatt article several months ago, but never here on the blog. Hope you like!

Kenny Mayer

This is Kenny Mayer:

This is Kenny Mayer on Nacatl:

Kenny is a long-time SCG Open competitor and friend. He likes attacking and turkey sandwiches. His most recent claim to fame is battling a Zoo Battle of Wits deck to a top 32 finish at SCG Charlotte.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quiet Please

Way back in 2009, the first high dollar card I completed was Library of Alexandria.

I've definitely improved in the past three years, but this one has some little details I can still appreciate.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


The Guru trend in altering has been around for a few months now. It's all done by porting the backgrounds of the famous Guru lands onto non-Guru cards. Here's two I finished at the beginning of the year.

Recently I just so happen to have been commissioned to do a few cards that are perfect for Gurufication. Here's a hint: they rhyme with 'boxes'.


In honor of a complete day of cubing yesterday, here's some special cube cards. A friend asked me to work these up a few weeks ago (text is printed, pics are painted). These are draftable cards that trigger special effects before the draft even begins.

The first allows you to switch teammates in a team draft. The second claims the table for your team because well, we're lazy and we're not moving. Happy cubing and see you in Baltimore!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Know What They Want

I found a lot of success in paying attention to my target audiences. Magic players aren't just card players. Many are huge consumers of video games as well. Here's a few video game alters from the past two years.

BioShock's Little Sister

Street Fighter's Guile

Final Fantasy VII's Red XIII

Pokemon's Charizard

Gone Fishin'

I'm on a bit of a hiatus for the next two weeks between visiting Baltimore for the SCG Open and working on a non-altering side project. I'll be keeping the content rolling however with some past work that hasn't made the blog. Here's a basic extension I did while in Korea last year. Just adding to the already incredible art of the original card.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today I'm bringing you something a little different. I got a lot of great questions in response to my recent article on GatheringMagic. So good in fact, that I thought I'd post them FAQ style.

Do you use Photoshop with every card you alter?

I do for most cards that use source imagery - which is pretty much everything I do. Making a mockup is not only useful for playing around with composition, but necessary for the carbon copy process.

I read through the article that outlines the process you go through with every alter. I think the carbon transfer technique is a very innovative technique. Do you ever use carbon paper instead of applying graphite to the back of the printed image?

Carbon transfer has been used for a long time - I can't exactly take credit. A lot of the old masters used to use a similar technique during the Renaissance (sorry, the art historian in me). Carbon paper will yield the same result, you'll just have another layer you're tracing through. It's more set up and another supply cost to deal with.

You mentioned more than once that you use 'liquid acrylics.' What brand do you recommend and in your experience how much of a difference does this make in contrast with using acrylics out of a tube?

Golden Fluid Acrylics are essential in my opinion. You can get by with other heavy body acrylics, but you'll be creating more work for yourself with regards to thinning them down and having to mix more often (heavy body acrylics tend to dry faster).

Because you use liquid base acrylics, do you dilute your paints much? And does your base coat consist of the same type of paint (liquid acrylics) or do you use something else?

Only when the paint is starting to feel tacky and hard to move, and even then, very little. The base coat is the same paint (white and black).

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind recommending a scanner.

Anything by Epson has worked great for me. Mostly because they're set up in such a way where you can import directly into Photoshop.

I own a set of the pens you suggested in your article and I'm having difficulties with using them to outline my image. The ink doesn't seem to flow well.

I suspect what's happening is the pen is picking up little bits of paint and the tip is getting clogged. Make sure you're clearing the pens out often. You can do this by scribbling a little onto some thick paper or cardboard. Roll the pen to make sure all sides get cleaned off. I do this dozens if not hundreds of times over the duration of a single alter.

You mentioned your cards take an average of 4 hours, and the most time you've spent on a card so far is 14 hours - referring to the Black Lotus. What kind of advice would you give to someone who spends more than 20 hours on a card with end result being an unsuccessful alter?

It's all about practice (I've been painting all my life and altering 3-4 years). Though I find the more I improve the longer I spend on cards. I'm always looking to make each one better than the last. I know a lot of artists give up too quickly because the project isn't quickly becoming what they envisioned. But a lot of painting is about slowly building up, so you have to be patient. I know most of my cards look pretty rough until all the elements come together. You just have to take it one step at a time and have faith you know where you're going.

I think once you have developed a process/style that works for you, every piece going forward seems so much easier. Did you find this to be true for you as well?

Absolutely. I'm very rigid and regimented when it comes to process. Probably why the tedium of altering is so appealing to me.

That's all for now. Thanks to all of you who have voiced your support!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All Four

Satisfying to finish the playset of Moxes this evening. Tomorrow I fly out to Baltimore for the SCG Open this weekend. Time to pack!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mo' Gogh

And just like that, the Van Gogh is finished.

Be sure to check out my article, a walk through of the Black Lotus, up on today!

Mo' Monet

If you haven't figured it out yet, I love doing reproductions. Something about getting into another artist's head, the challenge of mimicking a certain style - I love it. My last project before Baltimore is a set of artist-inspired Mox Diamonds. The neatest part about this endeavor is where the cards are going - a Legacy Lands deck. That's why I've been commissioned to give these non-lands a little more landscapey (great word) feel. First up, Monet's famous water lilies.

Stay tuned for Cezanne, Japanese sumi-e cherry blossoms, and mo' Van Gogh!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Next Few Months

The first few months of running an altering business and blog have been great. I'm answering several commission requests each day (a little bummed I take them all). I've been able to do a good deal of traveling. Response from the community has been fantastic. I couldn't ask for more.

Here's a look at some of my travel plans for the next few months. I've had an excellent time attending the SCG Opens and look forward to making as many events as possible in the future.

6/25 - 6/26 SCG Baltimore
7/16 - 7/17 SCG Cincinnati*
8/4 - 8/7 Gen Con Indy
9/2 - 9/4 Pro Tour Philadelphia
10/1 - 10/2 SCG Indy*
10/22 - 10/23 SCG Baltimore*

*I'll be taking commissions at these events.

I should be an exciting remainder of the year! Of course, I won't leave you today without a little eye candy. The owner of my LGS is a big Moon Knight fan. He provides a great place to play so I was happy to oblige him.

Remember to email any questions to eaklug at gmail. Follow me on Twitter @klug_alters.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Magic personality Jonathan Medina:

In the words of Doctor Frankenstein, "I've created a monster." He paid me to do it, I swear.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


This weekend lots of Commander release events are going on so why not post a sweet Commander?

This little guy is shipping out soon to meet with level four judge, Nick Sephton. He was kind enough to grab a commission in between his head judging duties of the SCG's Invitational. Hope you like Nick!

Don't Let the Face Fool You

Aw, he's the cutest combo piece ever.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pablo, the Sojourner

Venser doesn't see much play in today's Standard environment. But he's a good card in the abstract.

...I'll be here all week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Lotus

So I've been talking about this Lotus for a few days now. After a marathon 14-hour painting session, here it is:

The image comes from Alphonse Mucha, famous for his work in Art Nouveau during the late 1800's. The style is marked by it's elegant and vintage look - fitting for the oldest and most iconic card in Magic. I had a blast painting it. Look for an article from me in the future about the entire process!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Lots of portraits this month have been the result of high demand. I guess people like seeing other people on cards. Who knew? That said, it's nice to do some sup's for a change of pace.

If that's not enough eye candy for you, check out Jeremy Froggatt's May alter review up on SCG. I always look forward to going back at seeing what everyone has created over the past thirty days. That and Jeremy always gives me a nice ego boost! Thanks Jeremy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Avatar of Whoa!

This commission is actually part of a playset, but it was too dreamy to show the whole thing.

Punmaster, LSV would be proud.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

All Mark Suns' Dawn

Recently I've had the pleasure of getting to know Mark Sun, legacy mastermind and @AllSunsDawn on Twitter. He had a birthday a few weeks ago and today I hook him up with something special.

I hope you like Mark! I'll save you the embarrassment of posting the reference photo. Future portraits of friends in the works include JR of Untapped and SCG writer Jonathan Medina.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The 4th Jace

I've been toting these guys with me to the past few events. Here's the last artist-inspired Jace for those who haven't had a chance to see it:

And all of them together:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

1.21 Gigawatts!

Moving along with commissions from Indy.

A sort of prelude to the deal I made to work on a Lotus today. I've planned to make it my most ambitious piece yet!

Monday, June 6, 2011


This past weekend I had the chance to actually see this happen - and proceed to end the game in a U/W versus Merfolk matchup. Such is Legacy at the moment.

Does she look familiar?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'd Buy That for a Dollar

Back at the beginning of April, the boys of Untapped asked me what I'd paint on Karn once it was released. Apocalypse, Silver Surfer, and Galactus were all up for consideration. Today I added a few more to the mix.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011