Good morning all and welcome back to the Mirror Gallery! I know we are knee-deep into previews for Double Masters, but we can’t let the product stop us from enjoying some art, now can we?

This is the Jumpstart Grand Art Tour, and I’ve zeroed in on two subthemes for this article in particular: lands and legends. Of the 79 new pieces of art in Jumpstart, 46 of them are lands (basic and non-basic) and another ten are legends; so this is the perfect opportunity to juxtapose these two card types and draw out my twelve favorites.

For anyone joining us for the first time, my Grand Art Tour series was inspired by New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, and his 2010 piece entitled A Grand Tour. His article began with a story of how his love for art started at the age of nine, triggered by a summer museum visit and a painting’s immense storytelling capability and went on to highlight some of his favorite works on view during the summer of 2010 in New York City. To that same end, the Grand Art Tour for each new set highlights my favorite newly released illustrations. You’ll see cards of all colors and rarities, and they each have something exceptional I want to feature; be it a superior sense of storytelling, something you miss at card size, or a relationship with another card or art from years gone by.

Let’s get right to it! In no particular order, these are my favorite land and legend artworks from Jumpstart:

Thriving Grove by Jenn Ravenna

Thriving Grove by Jenn Ravenna. Digital.

“If you want to view Paradise, simply look around and view it.”

These words, first sung by Gene Wilder in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory song “Pure Imagination,” are perfectly captured in this brand new work by Jenn Ravenna. Even though this is a digital artwork, she’s rendered with thick, painterly brushstrokes that imbue everything with a sense of motion, from the cascading cataract to the avian in flight. You can all but hear those tropical birds call to one another and feel the spray of the waterfall on your face within this secluded spectrum of color. Pure Imagination indeed.

Sethron, Hurloon General by Jason Rainville

Sethron, Hurloon General by Jason Rainville. Digital.

Rainville gives us incredible character, spectacular color, and dynamic composition in this just plain brilliant illustration. He did a super comprehensive Twitter thread on his entire process. You can see the care that went into every element, from making sure the bounce light hit just right, to an absolute exposition of value control to balance out what we think we’re seeing versus what we’re actually seeing. This is imaginative realism at its best, and a full flex painterly application with no detail unaccounted for. It’s now one of my absolute favorite works from him for Magic.

“Lands” Forest by Alayna Danner

“Lands” Forest by Alayna Danner. Digital.

I knew I was going to feature one of the four Jumpstart Forests by landscape artist extraordinaire Alayna Danner. After much deliberation landed on the “Lands” Forest. For me it evokes a serious “helicopter over Jurassic Park” vibe to the point where I can hear the music, and the maze of fog and foliage come together perfectly. It’s simple, stunning, and a solid addition to this set’s lineup of Forests—and basic Forests in general.

“Enchanted” Plains by Yeong-Hao Han

“Enchanted” Plains by Yeong-Hao Han. Digital.

This is a glimpse into Nyx, and fresh off a return to Theros, is particularly resonant to reappear here in Jumpstart. The work functions and feels as if a memory, almost like Maximus dreaming of Elysium from Gladiator, where we as the viewer are looking back at our former selves. Laden with starfields and swirling clouds, this is one of those lands I hope gets reprinted in foil one day. Already gorgeous now, imagine if all those stars could sparkle?

“Mill” Island by Piotr Dura

“Mill” Island by Piotr Dura. Digital.

“Mill” Island borrows a bit of flavorful aesthetic from the aforementioned artist: in Han’s M14 Millstone we see a grinding wheel literally scraping away at a stone head. That image is reimagined by Dura for this work, elevated to somewhere in the cosmos and with the addition of water to intensify the process and reinforce its place as the Island home of this age old artifact. I love when pieces of earlier work can travel through the years and become a part of something larger. The millstone head is now synonymous with the mechanic, and this out of this world Island will become the standard land choice for these decks moving forward.

Kels, Fight Fixer by Magali Villeneuve

Kels, Fight Fixer by Magali Villeneuve. Digital.

This work is a triumph of perspective. Kels is a fight fixer, and almost certainly sits at the top of the mob-esque hierarchy of Valor’s Reach. Magali has made us feel small, very small, as we approach this powerful woman who could all but flip the coin in her hand to have us offed. We also view her at an angle, which furthers this feeling of uneasiness. Between these two compositional choices, Magali has really made this work the point of departure for one heck of a possible story following this powerful new Legend. Hopefully it’s one we’ll get to hear about soon.

“Well-Read” Island by Adam Paquette

Well-Read Island by Adam Paquette. Digital.

Part of what makes Jumpstart so novel is that it incorporates some components that fringe the silver-bordered Un-sets, like Paquette’s “Well-Read” Book Island here. This isn’t something we’re going to see in a regular expansion; but Paquette has made these feel books very possible as a landmass, almost as if we’ve stumbled into a literal Storybook land that also happens to be an Island. Once again I’d like to know more about what happens on Book Island, and I can only hope this isn’t the last we see of this setting.

“Pirate Island” by Titus Lunter

Pirate Island by Titus Lunter. Digital.

“They wanted multiple ships but it was getting a little convoluted, so I thought, *bleep* it, let’s make it float!”—Titus Lunter

Make it float. Let that sink in.

How brilliant is that? Boats that normally float on water now float in the air, solving both a compositional challenge and infusing some superlative storytelling all at the same time. Titus gave us pirate ships, sky ships, and a double entendre all in the same work. If that’s not something to be excited about, I’m not sure what is.

Bruvac the Grandiloquent by Ekaterina Burmak

Bruvac the Grandiloquent by Ekaterina Burmak. Digital.

I spoke about Ekaterina Burmak’s figures in a previous Grand Art Tour, and she’s created yet another outstanding character for Jumpstart in Bruvac. Save this image to your device and zoom in: look at his expression, the folds in his robes, and the minute details she’s included in the scrollwork that surrounds him. It seems each new illustration by her hand give us something else to be excited about, and she’s an artist we all need to watching right now.

“Unicorn” Plains by Donato Giancola

“Unicorn” Plains by Donato Giancola, oil on Masonite panel, 16” x 20”

I love that Donato is getting more landscape commissions, and this work is reminiscent of his Bant Panorama first seen way back in 2008. The clouds have now taken equine form as they gallop out of the horizon, with all the colors of the sunset trailing behind them. It’s like something from a childhood dream, now captured on cardboard. A perfect commission for this theme pack, Donato delivered just as he always does with a breathtaking and picturesque fantasy-scape.

Emiel the Blessed by Antonio José Manzanedo

Emiel the Blessed by Antonio José Manzanedo. Digital.

This card immediately reminded me of Shadowfax from Lord of the Rings, and I am here for it! What really makes this piece special is that Manzanedo doesn’t really illustrate unicorns, and yet he’s given us one in glorious fashion. If you’ve seen his past Magic work, and especially his Artstation, his artwork usually involves monsters and claws and wings and blood and death and gnashing of teeth. This is an entire change of pace, and shows just how versatile he may be. It will be fun to see what the Art Directors toss his way next!

Terramorphic Expanse by Andreas Rocha

Terramorphic Expanse by Andrea Rocha. Digital.

This is the 30th paper printing of this card and the first time it’s received new artwork, so I had to include it here. Rocha has given us the five colors of mana present together but torn asunder. It’s a perfect encapsulation of what this card actually does in the game, and now with some fabulous new color intensity to add to your deck. We found out on Twitter from Senior Magic Designer Gavin Verhey that the new art was a direct response to the community asking for new artwork, and that’s pretty cool. It shows that there are Wizards folks watching and listening, and sometimes you get something beautiful like this as a result.

Wrapping Up

And that’s that, the Jumpstart Grand Art Tour! Jumpstart was something I didn’t think would be for me when I first heard about it, and I was skeptical until previews began. But as soon as I started seeing these lands roll out, especially the beautifully themed basics, I knew I would be hooked and I never looked back. Repeat readers know I’m a sucker for the building block of Magic, basic lands, and Legends are the high note of characterization and storytelling. To have a set where both ends of the spectrum are so masterfully crafted is just fantastic.

These dozen artworks have been inspirational to my own flavorful deckbuilding endeavors, and maybe this article even jumpstarted your own artistic exploration into some of the other pieces I didn’t look at. I had to leave some great art out of this art-icle, and honestly it would’ve been a dream to write about every single new land and legend given the time. If there’s one that’s your favorite I didn’t mention, feel free to share it with me on Twitter—I’d love to hear which, and why you like it.

Remember, to see original #mtgart and other #vorthos related things, follow me on Twitter. Feel free to ask questions or retweet to continue the conversation. Stay safe, be excellent to each other, and I’ll see you back here again real soon.

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!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.