Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Mirror Gallery for Part II of my Illuxcon Preview. Today we are looking at the twelve Magic artists that will be participating in The Showcase, where another 125 artists outside of the Main Show set up in a hotel Grand Ballroom to exhibit their art, sell their work, meet fans, and have one heck of a good time.

Illuxcon Showcase 2017. Image from the blog of artist Christopher Burdett

While the Main Show is juried and comprised of traditional media, the Showcase is open to all genre artists—from veterans working traditionally to burgeoning digital artists and everyone in between. This is the place you can see it all. Some of my favorite Magic artists are attending this part of the show, so let’s waste no time in seeing who will be here!

Drew Baker

Reliquary Tower by Drew Baker

Drew Baker has contributed sixteen different pieces of art for Magic, and his work is quite recognizable. Strong, hard lines that draw together to create imposing architecture are a repeating theme in his paintings, and I especially like his rendition of Reliquary Tower seen above.

Mark Behm

Polyraptor by Mark Behm

Mark Behm is a Magic newcomer, with his first cards appearing in Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation in early 2017. He has since illustrated 25 cards for the game and looks to now be a regular on each new set moving forward. I think we will see more from him in the coming sets and expansions.

Christopher Burdett

Portent by Christopher Burdett

Christoper Burdett (Rawr!) started with Magic in 2013, and has done thirteen different pieces of art since he began. His most recently debuted is my favorite of his, a slush (meaning it was unused for its initial commission) piece from a few years ago that appeared in the most recent edition of Commander 2018.

Mike Burns

Saproling (Token) by Mike Burns

Mike Burns is another new artist to Magic who also saw his first cards appear during Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation. His cards now total seventeen, including nine different works for Unstable, a considerable lion’s share for any artist in one set.

Dave Dorman

Dromar, the Banisher by Dave Dorman

Dave Dorman is just over the 100 card mark for Magic and began his career with the game in 1999. While he hasn’t had any new cards for about a decade, when I spoke with him last year he was actively submitting to Wizards in search of new work for Magic. We may see him soon return!

Lindsey Look

Powerstone Shard by Lindsey Look

Lindsey Look has contributed fifteen works of art for Magic, including a reimagining of Lion’s Eye Diamond and Mystical Tutor, as well as a piece for the Kaladesh Masterpiece series in Champion’s Helm. I was able to acquire her original painting for Powerstone Shard, seen above, and wrote a series on this piece and hand artistry in general in Magic. You can find those articles here and here. I am also firmly in the camp that she should have a planeswalker commission in the next major expansion, and as many would, love to see her take on Liliana.

Chuck Lukacs

Cross Breed Labs Contraption by Chuck Lukacs

Chuck Lukacs has had some of the most interesting commissions for Magic, illustrating for 54 total cards, but in a bit of an unorthodox way. The piece you see above was his latest for Magic, and what was a single painting became the nine-card Cross Breed Labs Contraption for Unstable. He also completed 22 stylistically cohesive illustrations for the Theros-block Hero’s Path deck, each incredibly unique in their own right.

Aaron Miller

Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist by Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller is a name we see almost every set, and he has currently done 67 cards for Magic since 2013 when he began during Theros. I got to hang out with him a bit last year as an attendee, and am excited to check out his place in the showcase and have him sign a few cards! His Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist (and similarly Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus) are two personal Commander favorites.

Scott Murphy

Merchant Scroll by Scott Murphy

Scott Murphy just crested the 40 card mark with Magic, which is a considerable pace seeing as he only started illustrating for them in 2014. He is an annual attendee to the Illuxcon showcase, securing his spot last year winning the costume contest with a fabulous “running” Forrest Gump. His illustration for the promotional version of Merchant Scroll is my favorite of his, and I’ll be picking one up before the show just to have him sign it.

Charles Urbach

Quicksilver Sea by Charles Urbach

Urbach has contributed eighteen card illustrations to Magic, including five different locations for the game’s Planechase expansion. These oversize, larger-than-life landscapes are my favorite works of his, with one in particular (above) on my shortlist of original works I would love to one day add to my collection.

Allen (L.A.) Williams

Crystalline Sliver by Allen Williams

Allen Williams has been illustrating for Magic since 1995, adding 55 unique works during his tenure with the game. If you don’t recognize his name right off hand, it’s because much of his early work was credited using the name “L.A. Williams.” Due to recent health concerns he is not often available for events, and I am very excited for what is a rare chance to meet this artist.

Ryan Yee

Command Tower by Ryan Yee

Ryan Yee has not only won two Chesley awards (the equivalent of back-to-back MVPs or Player of the Year awards), but both of them were for his work on Magic cards—Fruit of the First Tree in 2016 and Die Young in 2017. However of his 69 cards for Magic, players probably know him best by the piece above, a card that has seen nine different printings since its inception in 2011 and is a staple in its namesake format.

Wrapping Up

The lineup for this year’s Illuxcon is downright incredible. Forty past and present Magic artists. Forty. Four Zero. Over four plus days. The canvas is prepared for one exceptional experience.

I mentioned this earlier in yesterday’s article, but please know that this is not solely a Magic event even though that is the focus of these previews. There are even more great artists and art beyond the snippet we’ve looked at the past two days. I’m going for the Magic art and planning full well to have my socks knocked off from visual overload.

Also to note: attendees ye be warned; the roster changes every year. Even as I was compiling this list I said to myself several times, “Wait, what about _______? They were there last year I thought.”  Last year I met Brom, Tom Baxa, Liz Danforth, Zach Stella, Andrea Radeck, Randy Gallegos, and Ralph Horsley; and none of these artists are there this year. The year before I could have met Steve Belledin and Steve Prescott, and hopefully they will return one day so I can. Some temporary departures do mean there are a bunch of artists I’ve been waiting to meet in their place, and the revolving door keeps things fresh and interesting. But the moral of the story is if there is someone you want to meet, talk to, or have sign a few cards and they’ll be there, you need to go. Not everyone goes every year, and you need to look every year because you never know who will be there.

If you’re near Reading, PA or just looking for your next adventure, I strongly recommend checking this show out this year or in the future. I hope you all enjoyed this Mirror Gallery double-feature, and make sure you stay tuned for my full recap of the show in the beginning of November. Thanks and see you next time!

Donny Caltrider has been playing Magic since 2002 and collecting original Magic art since 2017. He has an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and enjoys telling stories about art, objects, and the intersection of fantasy with real-life. You can find him on Twitter talking about #mtgart, museums, and other #vorthos related goodness. Follow along and continue the conversation!

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