If You’re Not Already Aware… (today we’re dreaming big)

…Jeremy Jarvis, art director for Magic: the Gathering, announced this week that changes have been made to the perks that MtG artists enjoy. It’s being talked about all over, for good reason. Read more about it on these blogs, because Jon and Dan. That’s it, just… because Jon and Dan.

The Art Order
Muddy Colors

I read on Muddy Colors that Jeremy’s response when asked why they made these changes was this:

A huge part of Magic: the Gathering, both as part of the game and as a hallmark of the brand as a whole, is the incredible quality of the artwork. We realize what an enormous contribution the artwork makes. We also realize that we are dependent on a healthy, happy group of professional illustrators to create this amazing work. I literally can not do my job with out the strong drawing arms of men and women more talented than myself bracing me up. Magic strives to be a great client for these artists, and it is very exciting to be able to add a dollar value to that sentiment.

So the breakdown is this. Based on what I’ve read on ArtPact (you do have an account there, right? If you’re a freelancer, you neeeeeeeed to have an account there!), Wizards pays anywhere from $850 to $1500 depending on the card and the artist they’ve hired to work on said card (my numbers may not be accurate, but those are what I’ve read). That’s a pretty chunk of change, if you ask my humble opinion. That buys a whole lot of pizza rolls.

Now, MtG has increased their pay rates by 20%.

Let’s do some math here… 850 x .20 = 170. 850 + 170 = 1,020. That’s for the low end of the spectrum. So now, 1500 x .20 = 300. $1800 for one card.

Now, obviously we do our art all for the love of it, right? Right. But, we all have bills to pay (thanks OBAMA! just kidding). What if it only takes you a week turnaround on a card and you start getting hired by a company that pays $1800 a week?

Let’s dream big and say you do one Magic card every week for a year. Know what you’d make that year?


Moving on.

I’m not aware of how many artist proofs (also know as “whitebacks” because the card is sent to the artist with a blank, white back, and the artist is free to keep or sell them) the MtG artists were allowed before, but they have increased the number of artist proofs for limited run products by 55%.

Magic already allows for the artist to sign, alter, sketch on the back, etc., and sell their artist proofs at conventions. Now, they get moooaaaaarrrr proofs to sell. Woo!


Thirdsly, their policy on how much WoTC/M:tG artwork you can include in your personal artbook was 25%. What this meant for artist was that if your primary income was from Magic cards… you couldn’t really produce your own artbook to sell to your fans.

Guess what, you guys. That has all changed.

They now allow for 75% of an artist’s artbook to contain WoTC owned work.

That is HUGE for those elite artist’s who have portfolios chock full of Planeswalkers. So happy for those guys.

Lastly, if you’re not already in the know, WoTC allows the artist to sell the original painting, which is already awesome. I’ve seen paintings by Terese Nielsen listed for $2,900. By the way, her art is amazing. Srsly.

With the existence of ArtPact, where artists are able to review their working experience with every company imaginable, this will likely cause other companies to have to improve their perks and pay for the artists, if they want to attract the big hitters and have great art.

Magic the Gathering has become more awesome, and being the industry leader, the likelihood that this will flow downhill and force other companies to change their policies is high. One can hope!

Ok, so I’ve used an exorbitant amount of gifs to say not a whole lot, so I’ll bid you adieu.


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