This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday on magicthegathering.com.
Great article. I was actually wondering the exact same issue a few days ago, albeit unconciously.
Should there be an Archenemy II, I'll be counting on seeing a white-aligned villain. I had an idea for a homebrew one, but it isn't as cool as the creepily perky cult leader. Honestly, I don't think that Trample Civilization Underfoot quite has the same villain punch as the others; I might have gone for white over green as the fourth villain color. But then, as a red mage above all, I'm prejudiced.
When the color pallete differs dramatically, IMO, it falls on the content to carry the color. Sometimes this can be done well - the second art practically /screams/ red, and I think I'd guess red even if I didn't know lightning was a 'red' thing - it's destructive and chaotic, which practically defines the parts of red that see play! The first and third don't do so well. Looking at the first, I honestly /did/ think it was blue. Glowing eyes and hands tend to be blue, in my experience, and that threw me off. (My next guess on that one was green, due to the elves)
The third, I was CRAZY off - I thought it was a land, probably one that was red-aligned.
So, yeah... while pallete can differ, it requires more 'telling' elements if it does, if it wants to be recognizable sans frame. But, in the frame, that can do a lot of the telling, so it does indeed matter a lot less.
I was particularly pleased that, although I knew Awakening Zone , I got the colours of the first two arts even though I didn't know the cards - in fact, I thought the first one was from Ravnica-block! White is the colour that tends to get ghosts and spirit-tethers, which is what I misparsed the Kor climbing lines as.
I wholeheartedly support the move away from tinting every piece of art the colour of its card. There are numerous cases that have come up in Magic's history where a card's art seems to have been given a heavy-handed wash of the card's colour, when the art didn't need it and would have been more striking without it. So yes, keep up the varied colours in card art. The frame and content do a lot, and there will always be some greenish things in some green art; I thoroughly agree it doesn't need to be every card.
Good read; I love when this column touches on artwork.
I'm glad to hear Wizards doesn't dictate the artist's color palette to him or her. Most of my favorite illustrations actually stand in contrast to the border around them. Force of Will was a great example to use, as the bright reds and muddled browns look even more brilliant when framed by a completely foreign color. While the art is awesome by itself, it would lose a lot if it was contained in a red border.
I betcha most of the artists Wizards deals with take note of the card's color and conciously integrate the border color into the illustration anyway. I've done some painting myself, and can tell you that how you frame/display your work is almost as important as the piece itself.
Does anyone happen to know what card the art from the last of the three black and white examples is? The other two seem to be recent cards, but I can't place the third for the life of me.
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