One edition of "Sketches" I would like to see is of Time Warp. I still don't get the art, and seeing the Art Description would be really good.
Sounds good to us. Let's go!
The first step of the creation of a card's art is its art description. The art description tells 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 Jon for Time Warp:
'Color: Blue spell
Action: This spell is powerful time magic -- it stretches time for the caster, slowing down the rest of the world. Show this symbolically: we see a huge curling wave, and we see a figure calmly walking on the water of the wave, away from us, as though the ripcurl is a tunnel. We even see the figure's footsteps lingering in the time-frozen surface of the water.
Focus: the time-warping magic -- especially the footsteps (which are key to showing that the wave is "stopped")
some sort of doubled image of a blue mage as a 'suicide king' is represented on a playing card. can be abstract and design-y. just needs to read as 'blue' and 'time manipulation'
Mood: When you're a powerful enough wizard, not even time holds sway over you.
The next step is for the artist to submit sketches of his or her vision of the art description.
Here's Jon's initial sketch, for which he used the first option in the art description.
The idea here is that the wave is frozen in time, allowing the mage to walk on the water. The footprints give this away. Jon did a few variations on this concept.
The mage has turned around and is now engaged in casting the spell. And because it's in color, the footsteps are more enhanced. Note that the mage isn't sitting on top of the water; the water is just knee-height.
This version adds a bubble of magic around the caster and takes out the footprints.
The final version kept the magical bubble but kept the footprints from the earlier versions.
And here's the card in its final state, as you can find in booster packs of Magic 2010!