1. Art Description
Here were the instructions given to Mr. Critchlow for the project:
"Money shot of Memnarch (p. 13 of style guide). Remember that he's an artifact creature who's slowly developing flesh. Line between metal and flesh should be very blurry."
The task of illustrating an iconic character of a Magic setting presents a special challenge to an artist. Memnarch was sketched out in the Mirrodin Style Guide already: his look has already been defined. So the artist must put a creative spin on this vision while maintaining the prescribed look -- or, putting it another way, he must illustrate the preexisting character while still expressing his own artistry. It's a tricky balance.
Critchlow has been steadily illustrating Magic cards since the time of Weatherlight (in which he has illustrated the legends Morinfen and Gallowbraid). Recently he has been seen on Mirrodin's entire Replica cycle and, in Darksteel, a couple of Arcbound Overseer Arcbound Ravager and the splashy Darksteel Colossus.
Mr. Critchlow came up with this initial sketch for Memnarch.
It's interesting to note that many Magic artists turn over full-color sketches. Memnarch's blue influence is definitely seen in the rough sketch above. For the final art, Critchlow's attention to detail went into overdrive, and the rough edges became clean, gleaming lines.
3. Final Art
Here is the final piece as it was turned over to the Magic art team:
That is the raw scan of Carl's finished piece. But there is another step to go in the process before it's ready to go on the card.
3b. Color Correction
The production team has to color-correct the scan to make sure it is bright enough, rich enough, and balanced enough in its color contrast to look good on a Magic card. Below you can see the results of the color-correcting process.
Here is the final final art for Memnarch.
Finally, here is the card as you can see it in booster packs.