Artist Story - Josu Hernaiz

Posted in Event Coverage on August 29, 2015

By Neale Talbot

I caught up with Josu Hernaiz, a local Chilean artist, who joined the Magic fold with a first artwork for Magic Origins. Here’s what he had to say.

Josu Hernaiz

I have been working with Wizards since last year. My first card, Healing Hands, came out in Origins. My second card is Veteran Warleader, spoiled for Battle for Zendikar, where I have more to come.

I was first introduced to Magic when I was 8 years old, during Urza’s Saga. It blew my mind. I was living on the island of Chiloé, south of Chile, which is very isolated, so we didn’t get many things. When I discovered Magic, it opened my mind to a lot of things, especially fantasy. I started playing Magic. I loved the art. I kept going for many years. I kept looking at the art, I was obsessed with it.

I bought a tablet in 2008. I had worked in traditional pencil drawing prior to that. I was a self-taught amatuer, art was only a hobby for years and years. However in 2011 I became very serious about my art, drawing to find work at an industry level.

I built a portfolio that I thought was fitting for what I perceived to be the Magic style. I applied to Wizards to become an artist via email, but also contacted the Wizards Art Directors and some artists, to see if they would recommend me. In the end I don’t know exactly what worked, but when I received an email from Wizards’ Jeremy Jarvis I was super-excited.

Tolkien has been a huge inspiration, as has Philip Pullman’s Dark Matter trilogy. They have really affected my notion of fantasy. But for Healing Hands, I had a story to follow. I was very nervous, as it was the first card I was doing. Actually at some point I had to redo the whole artwork to make it work.

I don’t know if a ‘Latin-America feel’ is a conscious choice of mine, but I always try to diversify my artwork with different races, different cultures, and different genders. For example, if I received cards from a Wizards Art Director, and they are all specified as men, I would ask if one or two could be a woman. Same if they are all white dudes; I try to do something different.

Veteran Warleader

So drawing Veteran Warleader card was fun, as it was this bad-ass woman with heavy armour. I was very into it. I watched a lot of films for inspiration, such as Game of Thrones and Joan of Arc, plus a lot of Chinese martial art films featuring powerful women. It was great to draw one for Magic; working on Magic art has long been a dream of mine.

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