This week's "Sketches" looks at the only artifact creature in Scourge, Proteus Machine. The Machine was illustrated by Greg Staples (who, you may not know, also did the five creature-themed top banners for this very website).
1. Art Description
These were the instructions given to the artist:
"An artifact creature whose head has different faces of different creature types; he can rotate his head to give himself whatever face he wants."
Here is a preliminary sketch of Proteus Machine submitted by Greg. The word "Transformer" is at the bottom because that was the card's playtest name.
Yes, the creature has different heads corresponding to different races (human, elf, and goblin in this example). But it doesn't convey the idea that it is an artifact very well, so the art team asked for a re-do.
This version corrected the artifact problem; it clearly shows a mechanical being. But the heads all look the same. In this case, forced to choose between cooler looking art and art that may capture the exact intent of the card better, the art team chose the cooler version.
3. Final Art
Here is a large version of the final piece. Yes, the heads all look the same, but the art is quite impressive overall.
Finally, here is the card as you'll see it in booster packs.