Sketches: Search for Tomorrow

Posted in Arcana on October 19, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

Welcome to another edition of Sketches! Today we look at the process behind illustrating a deceptively simple green land-fetch spell, Search for Tomorrow. But first, some background on the artist, Randy Gallegos.

Artist Portfolio


Lotus_BlossomArtist Randy Gallegos has contributed over 100 pieces of Magic artwork since Ice Age. His work can be seen on such cards as Vexing Arcanix, Stampeding Wildebeests, Earthcraft, Soul Warden, Lotus Blossom, Accumulated Knowledge, Plague Spores, Battle Screech, Mistform Stalker, Electrostatic Bolt, Hour of Reckoning, Martyr of Sands, and Sprite Noble, among many others.

Art Description

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 Randy for Search for Tomorrow:

Color: Green "Delay Spell"
Location: Your choice (see below)
Action: This spell represents searching for habitable land in this decimated world. Show this how you think works best. One idea is to show a post-apocalyptic elf on horseback, or a mage walking from one kind of terrain that is seen through an "x-ray" kind of solarized filter (representing another dimension) out into another dimension with different land in normal local color.
Focus: the journeying figure
Mood: There must be somewhere better ahead.

The next step is for the artist to submit sketches of his or her vision of the art description.


Here's Randy’s initial sketch submitted for Search for Tomorrow:

Search for Tomorrow sketch by Randy Gallegos

As you can see by his included notes, Randy put a lot of thought into that first submission. The Time Spiral style guide shows red-aligned humanoids with face masks to protect them from the harsh post-apocalyptic conditions (see also cards like Plunder, Flowstone Channeler or Magus of the Scroll), so as Randy illustrated the elf figure journeying from one land to another he incorporated the “face mask look” to cover the transition.

The creative team liked the direction but asked for a scene that looked more like temporal travel and less like spatial travel. The face mask was seen as optional, since green elves in Time Spiral generally don’t wear masks but do have a characteristic emaciated look. This was Randy’s second sketch:

Search for Tomorrow sketch by Randy Gallegos

Here you can see a clear shot of a journeying elf, with that same emaciated look. He’s searching across time for fairer lands. With some color indications as Randy mentions in the notes, this piece should be ready for final.

Final Art

Randy submitted this final art. He hit the “search for life” angle even harder in the final, so it really delivers the sense of an elven scout’s time-wandering quest for a more lush and benevolent time.

Search for Tomorrow art by Randy Gallegos

Finished Card

Here's the card in its final state, as you can find in booster packs of Time Spiral. Get ready to search Dominaria’s timeline for unspoiled lands (with a little help from Randy Gallegos) at Champs!

Search for Tomorrow

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