I started playing Magic when I was 11. I don’t remember a whole lot from those days, but I do remember drawing a lot of fantasy-themed scribbles based on Magic artwork. In particular, I loved drawing faraway castles and armoured knights.
It doesn’t really feel like it, but Magic artists like Mark Poole helped turn me into a fantasy geek.
It’s not like any of these artists are close friends of mine. It’s only recently that I started making an effort to visit their tables at GPs. GP Las Vegas in 2015 was amazing for meeting the first generation of Magic artists. I got to meet and talk to Bryon Wackwitz, Jeff Menges and Ken Meyer Jr. I could sit and listen to their stories all day.
There were a couple of the old guard I didn’t get a chance to meet, though. One was Richard Kane Ferguson; the other was Christopher Rush.
My good friend Mike was able to help me pick up one of Chris’s signed playmats. It feels weird to think that a physical object is the closest I will ever get to meeting the man. I imagine many also feel the same about Wayne England.
I get a little defensive about artists sometimes. It annoys me when people drop a stack of 40 cards on their table to sign, without so much as a tip. It annoys me when people don’t even make an effort to start a conversation with the artist. Maybe I’m just an art nerd, but there’s such an opportunity to delve into the mind of an artist. And it could just start with “Which of your cards do you like the most?”
As someone who draws but hesitates to claim being an “artist”, I have two main motivations. The first is the joy of creating something. The second is the hope that my creations will outlive me – that when I am gone, my work will be remembered by someone.
Time will go on and it is sadly inevitable that more of the artists who shaped my childhood will leave this world. I owe it to them to pay tribute, because I very well may not be drawing today otherwise. I will gladly, in my own amateurish way, do so for each and every one.