Grand Prix Los Angeles Guest Artist Week: Mark Tedin!

Mr. Tedin drew this artist’s proof card in front of us, in about fifteen minutes.

So…first thing…what’s an artist’s proof?

White-backed artist proofs are printed by Wizards of the Coast and are only issued to the artist. Anywhere from 59-61 of each card are produced. Many popular cards have been completely sold out long ago. The front of the cards are printed as normal but the backs are unprinted/only white. They are unique collectible items and highly sought after by some.

In a perfect world, you have the artist draw an image on the back of the proof, and sign the front. That’s what I did with the above artist’s proof card, which I bought and commissioned from Mark Tedin.

It is especially cool for several reasons.

First…I explained the idea of Adequacy to him, and how the web comic came about as a means of depicting the behind the scenes office meetings of school operations as superhero/fantasy comics. He immediately ran with that idea, drawing the back side directly in ink, with no layout or plan. It was cool to watch, and a completely different process than I have ever done.

The result was artwork that I like to call “Phyrexian Staff Meeting.” It think “Phyrexian Staff Meeting” would be a pretty rough card, and I like that Cap is aggressively trying to make some kind of point in a heated debate there.

The second thing about it that is super cool is that I was playing “Phyrexian Rager” in my deck at the event. It was pretty cool to get artist’s proof cards of things that I was actually playing, and that became a running theme where possible.

Mr. Tedin was super friendly and very cool, and autographed a couple of cards for me as well. One of them, “Fireball,” is a card that I play all the time, and have absolutely loved since the beginning of the game. Before we get to it, let’s have a bit of a history lesson.

Mark Tedin is one of the original twenty-five “Magic: The Gathering” artists; Ron Spencer, Rob Alexander and himself are the only remaining original artists still active as of Magic 2011. Tedin primarily employs an impressionistic style that features heavy use of layering. Tedin has held many roles during his tenure with Wizards of the Coast, including concept artist and art director. He was one of the first to work on the initial style guide that was created for the “Rath Cycle.” He received a Bachelors of Arts in Fine Art from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and a Masters of Fine Arts in Fine Art with a focus on Studio Painting from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Much of his early art is considered iconic to the game, and he was popular enough to be voted to illustrate the first player-made card. So…pretty popular!

With that book report over, let’s look at those signed cards:

That fireball makes me pretty happy.

He also designed the look of the games signature “good guy” skyship designed by Urza (when he still had a head). That’s the Weatherlight, and the ship was central to a good amount of the plotline of the game for some time. The Weatherlight has made a couple of appearances in Adequacy already, it’s that important.

In fact, Cap used it as a magical rideshare service LAST WEEK. Feel free to go check.

Good…you’re back. Let’s summarize the Weatherlight a bit here. The skyship Weatherlight was a magical flying ship capable of moving from plane to plane. This ship was designed by Urza as one of the main parts of the Legacy and proved to be a key part in the efforts to save Dominaria from the Phyrexian invaders.

During the Phyrexian Invasion, Weatherlight was ever at the center of Urza’s plans for the defense of Dominaria. The ship was destroyed by the Primeval Crosis, only to be reborn as a completely sentient being. The ship was destroyed a final time over the skies of Urborg while defending Dominaria from the arrival of Yawgmoth. It is possible that part of Weatherlight lives on inside the planeswalker Karn.

Sixty years after the Mending, Jhoira (a ket character) led an expedition off the coast of Urborg to raise the remains of the Weatherlight. Using a diving boat and the aid of Merfolk, she located it deep beneath the sea. All that was left was the skyship’s Thran metal skeleton, nearly two hundred feet long. Jhoira used a new sentient hull seed she had obtained from Molimo to restore the gracefully curved hull and the interior decks. Unlike its earlier version, this new Weatherlight didn’t have planeshifting abilities. Apparently, all existing planar travel tech had stopped working with the Mending.

Jhoira assembled a new crew to fight Belzenlok’s Cabal…which was the plot of the Dominaria set this past summer, that everyone loved. So…there’s all that.

I was able to get a print of the art that is on the original “Skyship Weatherlight” card, which I still play in a pretty mean deck. Mr. Tedin autographed it, and it looks great, awaiting a frame right now.

The colors of the piece are really pretty. I like it a whole lot.

Today school will be ending an hour and a half earlier, for a staff meeting most probably about WASC. I’m not too happy about that, since I’d rather be in Mock Trial, or even class in general. The art for today seemed to fit so well with that meeting, that I immediately felt like it should be the Tuesday art.

It is also the second piece that I picked up at the event, so we are in that order as well. Despite wanting to present it above as a front and back, I really want the art to be on it’s own, so here it is:

“Dammit! Why can’t everyone just come to the @#$%ing meetings on time?!”

See? Cap is very much in tune with the problems of a Phyrexian Staff Meeting. I wonder if she’s seen the other side of the card…? The Phyrexian Rager seems put out as well.

Even with Phyrexian Oil in the coffee, things seem to be moving pretty quickly this week. Hopefully, your week is smooth as well!

Excelsior!

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