Award-winning Illustrator Eric Wilkerson and Wizards of the Coast Art Director Ovidio Cartagena chat with Justin about their work together on card illustrations for Magic: The Gathering, how an art director chooses artists for the job, and how Eric got his “golden ticket” into card illustration. They also share a ton of practical career tips on preparing and presenting your portfolio, including why it's important to diversify.
Eric is a New York Times bestselling Illustrator, 2020 Chesley Award Winner for best hardback book cover sci-fi illustration, 2019 Chesley Award finalist, and has been featured in multiple volumes of Spectrum Fantastic Art, Expose, and Imagine FX. He was also a finalist in the ARC International Salon.
Eric's creative versatility spans film, TV, advertising, publishing, animation, comics, video games, and even costume design. His client list includes Marvel, Upper Deck, Dark Horse Comics, Scholastic, and Disney Publishing. He also teaches CG Spectrum's Illustration Courses.
Ovidio is a Senior Art Director at Wizards of the Coast, where he has commissioned art for several Magic: The Gathering expansions including MTG’s first brand collaboration, with Toho, a set of Godzilla-themed creature cards; tentpole sets Strixhaven, Midnight Hunt, Crimson Vow and the upcoming Warhammer 40,000 commander set; and contributed to other products like Secret Lair. He is also the Lead Art Director for the upcoming Lord of the Rings+Magic: The Gathering card set, headlining concept pushes and art commissions.
Hailing from a fine art background, Ovidio has also worked as a graphic designer and classical guitarist. He's done art-related work for non-profits in Guatemala and the US. Fun fact: the first MTG Mystery Booster card ever opened has Ovidio's art on it!
Some of Ovidio's Magic: The Gathering card art, featuring birds. Left: Bird of Paradise, partly inspired by the national bird of Guatemala—the resplendent quetzal—where Ovidio is from. This card is a staple of ramp decks everywhere. Right: Ovidio designed a new species of dove for the Enchantment card, for the Ornithological Studies Secret Lair drop. (Images courtesy of Wizards of the Coast)
Still life: Hechos de Maíz — oil on panel by Ovidio.
Two of Eric's Magic: The Gathering card art using family members—his daughter (left) and wife (right)—as models and lighting reference. (Images courtesy of Wizards of the Coast)
Eric's book cover art for the best-selling children's book, I Color Myself Different.
Eric's unofficial behind-the-scenes video he made to share the cover art for the second Tristan Strong novel he painted. This was originally shown at the end of the "Rick Riordan Presents" panel Eric participated in, alongside author Kwame Mbalia.
For more information on Ovidio and to see more of his awesome work, visit Ovidio's website , Instagram @ovidiocartagena, and his Twitter account.
To check out Eric's amazing work and learn more about him, see Eric's website, his ArtStation, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
If you want to learn more about card game illustration and how to become a Magic: The Gathering Artist, head over to our blog!