Sketches: Bringer of the Red Dawn

Posted in Arcana on July 22, 2004

By Wizards of the Coast

Welcome to another edition of Sketches! This week we take an interactive look behind the scenes of the art of Fifth Dawn's Bringer of the Red Dawn by Christopher Moeller.

1. Art Description

Once a card is designed, an art description is written to tell the artist what the card will do, what its flavor is, and what the mood of the illustration should be. Here were the instructions given to Christopher for the project:

Location: Oxidda mountain chain.
Action: Show a huge crystalline humanoid bull in an aggressive pose.
Focus: On the beast (5/5). Mood: Powerful.
Notes: This magical beast is made of 100% crystal that looks like ruby or garnet.

The cycle of Fifth Dawn Bringers were all concepted as manifestations of the energy of Mirrodin's five suns. They are crystalline to show that their power and their nature transcends the metal ecology of Mirrodin.

Christopher Moeller has been a consistent contributor to the world of Magic card art since Urza's Saga, with over eighty artist credits to date. You can see his work such cards as Bloodstoke Howler, Expunge, the cycle of Nemesis Seal of Fire, Meddling Mage, Pernicious Deed, the cycle of Odyssey Sphere of Law, Siege-Gang Commander, and Liar's Pendulum, among many others.

2. Sketches

Here's Mr. Moeller's initial sketch submitted for the big red Bringer:

You can see he nailed the "crystalline bull" part of the art description, but the creative team wanted the Bringers to be humanoid; they're avatars of colored mana, not just crystal beasts. Also, the scale of the 5/5 monster isn't well represented; it's hard to tell whether this is a normal-sized bull or a huge crystalline beast of the art description.

Here's the revised sketch, taking into account these changes:

3. Final Art

Here's a large version of the final piece. The Bringer is clearly humanoid now, and its scale is evident against a foreground of goblins in an Oxidda Mountain encampment. Now, are those goblins cheering the Bringer's magnificence, or trying to halt the 5/5, blocker-stealing trampler by waving their arms?

4. Card

And here's how you'll see the card in its final state, in booster packs of Fifth Dawn.

Bringer of the Red Dawn

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