I can’t talk about inspirational art for very long until I brush the subject of Magic: the Gathering. I’ve been playing this geekery-heavy card game for almost twenty years now. In that period, a humonguous amount of fantasy art has been produced by a myriad of artists.
It was this art that drew me to the game. Especially the early sets’ art quality is hit, miss, or something squarely in between, but when it’s good, it’s amazing. Names like Mark Tedin, Anson Maddocks and Melissa Benson still give me shivers of recognition.
This post is to one of those early artists, shaping the game in its infancy: Quinton Hoover. Originally a comic artist, Hoover’s style is markedly distinct from the other artists’. He was able to marry fantasy with Art Nouveau in a way that was as beautiful as it was organic. His work reminiscent of Alphonse Mucha’s, Hoover used colored pencils and ballpoints besides his inks and watercolours. Strong, flowing lines, soft but rich colours and some daring compositions made him stand out in the crowd.
Orcish Veteran—©Wizards of the Coast
Illusions of Grandeur—©Wizards of the Coast
Doppelgänger—©Wizards of the Coast
Adarkar Unicorn—©Wizards of the Coast
Doppelgänger (redubbed ‘Vesuvan Doppelganger‘ for the game’s release) was long my favourite piece of fantasy art ever, and finally acquiring a copy of the actual card was a kid’s dream come true. Other favourites from his Magic work include ‘Elkin Bottle‘ (those ribbons!), ‘Tragic Poet‘ and ‘Whispers of the Muse‘, of which a print adorns one of my walls.
Magic begot other card games, and Hoover made a lot of art in the next few years. The quality of his art soared, especially off-card, with larger formats and truly Mucha-esque compositions. I’d post some, but it’s hard to choose. All I can say is that it’s worth the while of checking his game art gallery (and more) on facebook.
On April 20, 2013, Quinton Hoover died unexpectedly at the age of 49. This post is to remember him and his amazing art.