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About Digital Art / Professional Core Member Steve ArgyleMale/United States Groups :iconmagicthegatherer: MagicTheGatherer
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Liliana Nouveux by SteveArgyle
Liliana Nouveux

Oil paint on Liliana of the Veil artist proof.  2.5x3.5 inches.  Sold.

This is my first experiment in oil painting an artist proof.  

For those unfamiliar with artist proofs: they are the "test run" cards done for Magic the Gathering, to insure that the colors and printing are correct.  Since the card backs never change, they don't waste the ink on them.  So a set of 50 of these blank-backed cards from each set are printed, and they're given to the artist.  

Considered extremely collectable because of this rarity, many collectors request sketches on the blank side.  While I have done my fair share of super-quick sketches at events and such, I'm moving away from that, and instead putting more time into crafting truly unique work to collect.

And I adore Art Nouveau.  If you don't love Alphonse Mucha's work, you may need to see a doctor to make sure you have a heart.  This was a really enjoyable experiment.

Liliana of the Veil is copyright Hasbro and Wizard's of the Coast.

Planescape Artist Proof sketches by SteveArgyle
Planescape Artist Proof sketches

Planescape, and the artist for much of it’s history, Tony DiTerlizzi, has had a profound influence on my creative journeys.  Plus it’s just super cool stuff.  Heaven and Hell with a hearty dose of humor, Planescape exploded with possibility and potential.  An expansive universe that contained all the worlds we already knew.  Bringing not only new worlds to explore, but many of those worlds had new laws of physics.

Tony DiTerlizzi brought so much of this world to life, with an effortless whimsy that as I kid I marveled at.  As an adult, that marvel has not diminished, and has been coupled with a respect and appreciation for how much work and skill “effortless” really takes.

It was long overdue for me to do this series of sketches.  These are the characters I scrawled on my homework in high school; it’s about time I paid them a visit.


These, and a few others, will be available at Dragon Con this weekend.  Booth 1113!

Jace Belerin: Black on Black by SteveArgyle
Jace Belerin: Black on Black
These are super fun.  I think everyone should give this a try.

You have to admit, love Jace or hate him, he’s got a pretty cool fashion sense.  Giant, heavy cloak for long brooding sessions, tattered just enough to say “hey man I’m not some poseur , I’m an experienced brooder.”  Enigmatic, glowing ...buckle-ish things that look like maybe he’s trying to lock his fancy, rare blue leather (probably orphaned-infant dragon-skin or something) onto his hairless chest.  (I don’t know why I make the assumption he’s hairless.  But yeah.  Like pale, squishy teflon everywhere.)  He’s got his stompin’ Docs, custom-made to match his all-over mind-racing stripes.  And then, just to throw us off and make us discard our judgements: Bam!  Classic jester pants!  For juggling his three blue balls.  (Hey, don’t get mad at me.  I’m not the one who made him a roofie mage.)

They say fashion is a way of communicating who you are.  Jace’s fashion is spot-on with “I have no idea.”

Jace Belerin is copyright Wizard's of the Coast.
This is just fanart, it's not official or licensed.

Reference shot on location at Zero-G Orbital Resort and Private Suites.  "Whatever you're into, it's better in microgravity!  All rooms are heavily soundproofed!"
Liliana of the Veil: Black on Black by SteveArgyle
Liliana of the Veil: Black on Black
I love the San Diego Comic Con black on black Planeswalker promos.  While I rarely have time to do fan art of any sort, or even hit my deadlines for "real work," I just couldn't resist.

Liliana is after all, blacker than the blackest black, times infinity.  Black like black holes wish they were.  Black like a chaotic evil pitch elemental's darkest secret.

Kind of an anachronistic simile these days, "black as pitch."  How many of us have ever actually seen pitch?  Or even know what it is?  I didn't until I took a precious metals sculpture class.  Old-school metal smiths would melt it, place the object they were sculpting in it to support the shape as they hammered shape into it.  Known as "chasing" and "repose."  Pitch is pretty black.  When it's melted, it's SUPER black.  Like a hole in the universe, with a light sheen. 

This has been your nigh-useless tidbit tangent from the addled, tangled mind of me.

Liliana Vess is copyright Wizard's of the Coast.
This is just fanart, it's not official or licensed.

Special thanks to Boney Joe, the Grave Titan, for lending me a disturbingly lot of bones for the reference shoot.


Steve Argyle
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
NOTE: No notes! In my supreme big-shot-edness, I get too many messages to juggle inboxes for a billion online galleries.

All inquiries, praise, and blackmail demands should be sent through my website contact page: It's cozier there anyhow.

It wouldn't hurt to read my FAQ first. I've probably already got an answer to your question. I'm sure that if you tried, you could come up with something I haven't heard before. But it's not easy.

If you're averse to reading my FAQ, which is just tragic, here are quick answers to the most frequent DA questions:

Everything in my galleries is wholly owned or licensed. (Specifics are in the descriptions for each image.) So none of it is available for stock, derivative work, personal projects, to burn into toast, or anything else. No matter how just-for-fun, not-for-profit it may be. It's not my call. I've got some litigious clientele.

I am not available for private commissions at this time.

No, I do not put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. (That would mean I'd be wearing pants.)

Auckland, NZ 2015 - Day One

Journal Entry: Mon May 11, 2015, 6:03 PM

Day 1 – Getting the hell to the other side of the planet – the (technically) three day journey.

The awkward wrestle of transporting our chimeric towers of luggage has become a familiar choreography.  A cantankerous jig of squeaking wheels, clanks, clunks, and the occasional profane outburst.

Checking in to our flight, we are surprise ambushed by a monster so common it needs be in no Dungeons & Dragons manual.  Perhaps the most sinister of their genus, the red-tape viper, (technically an elemental,) has many natural nesting grounds, preferring dreary cubicles, but has also become an invasive species of the wilds of the internet as well.  It paralyses its prey with a long tail of paperwork, and has two sets of venomous fangs, colloquially referred to as their fees, and their more poisonous penalties.

This particular species we had not encountered previously, despite the great deal of time we’ve spent navigating through its preferred territory.  But we should have known.  We were, after all, travelling through Australia, land of everything-here-kills-anything.  The Temporary Visa Even Though You’re Just On A Connecting Flight Sidewinding Red-Tape Viper struck as soon as we presented our passports at check in, and though the bite was a small $40, the paralysis a brief forty five minutes, we started our journey with the lesson we needed to be wary in this new land.

I have no idea how people survived long-haul flights before there were prolific electronic devices, and video players in the back of every seat.  I can only assume that every single passenger on every single long-haul flight in those dark ages would stop by the duty-free store before their flight.  Selecting a bottle of their preferred 80-proof way to wash down the fistful of pills they’d talked their doctor into prescribing for “nerves” and/or “back pain.”

Personally, I use the time to watch bad movies that I secretly wanted to see, but had to wait for the excuse of “Well, I ran out of everything in their ‘Critically Acclaimed’ section.  Therefore ‘the Hangover’ trilogy was all that stood between an uneventful flight, and an emergency landing to expel and probably arrest me after what happens when I get bored!”

Even so, I will echo the cries of countless airline nomads.  The seats are apparently designed by devious chiropractors who have turned to the dark-side; sinisterly engineered to turn the human spine into an aching bramble of tangled vertebrae.

Upon arrival in Sydney airport, we begin our forage for snacks, and survey for a lounge for our eight-hour layover.   (Which became a ten-hour layover.  Thanks, cyclone Pam.)  Kat, for the umpteenth time of the day, uses her mutant power to Cerebro-style detect every person from the Phillipines within a two-mile radius, finding some very helpful lounge gatekeepers.  Phillipinos are always incredibly friendly and open, marveling at Kat’s proficiency in a very uncommon second language.  At least I think that’s what happens.  They’re speaking Tagalog, so for all I know, it’s a cultural thing to argue with bright smiles, and they were actually in a vicious verbal duel.  If that’s the case, Kat is deadly.  And victorious once again, we find ourselves in the American Express Lounge, surrounded by snacks.  And for many hours, solitude and serenity.

I semi-industriously scrawl sticky paintmarker across the tiny, but remarkably expensive canvases of Magic cards.  The rare interruptions are pleasant folks asking what I was doing, or hovering ever closer until I offer for them to take a look.  I’m reminded how few adults engage in creating art every time I’m in a public place doing just that.  People orbit around me, their eyes tethered with a quiet curiosity as though I was practicing a craft they’d only heard of in legends.  Long before anything interesting is on the page, mind you.  And when they finally decide to swoop in for a brief conversation, it does not matter how far along the drawing is: I am seven  years old to them.  I can have four wobbly lines, and they will exclaim “Oh my gosh!  You’re such a good drawer!  That’s so amazing that you can do that!  Boy, I wish I could do that.  I bet your parents are very proud!”  And if they happen to have an actual seven year old along with them, I get introduced to the children as though I am the Avatar-god of Dreams Fulfilled.  Steeped in myth, with the power to inspire a young mind with but a few words, gifting everlasting keys to forge destinies, conquer all obstacles, and live every hope one will ever have.  This, of course, always ends in disappointment when I offer up something like “Yeah, it just takes practice.  Art is no different than anything else.  Put the work in, and you can do whatever.”  It’s like they expected my words to call a rainbow on a bolt of lightning, revealing the gift of a talking pegasus, hand them an amulet that fulfills desires; and what they got instead was a grunt of “meh,” and mildly farty dog wanders in from somewhere and won’t go away.

Our oasis paradise of free snacks and power strips was not to be entirely blissful, however.  There is another sort of family, with another sort of child, that you’ll occasionally encounter out in the wild.  The family that advertises vasectomies far better than any pharmaceutical company ever could.  The family of gremlin children born to zombie parents.  This will be how we spend our final hours in the airport lounge.  Peace broken by a dozen adults, trailed by what seemed like a thousand grabbing hands and slobbering mouths.  A rising tsunami of smelly bodies, screeches and howls, leaving everything in their wake sticky, gross, and somehow violated beyond the realm of physicality.  The “adults” scavenge the free bar like starving, shell-shocked survivors of the apocalypse, drenching and drowning what was left of the awareness of the multitudinous horrors they’ve unleashed, with whatever bottom-shelf liquors they could find.  In the meantime, those tiny humanish-shaped horrors descended upon the lounge as slimy pink locusts suddenly let loose from their 12-hour imprisonment on a plane.

These people and children are…  less than pleasant.  I had to save several Liliana of the Veil from literally being eaten.


Arriving at the hotel after midnight, the instructions for getting in included getting our room key from a safe in the lounge.  We arrived along with a handful of players, who opened the safe and rifled through a handful of envelopes exclaiming “Steve Argyle!”  Silly me, I thought they had recognized me, and wandered up to claim my envelope.  “I’ve got a ton of stuff to get signed.  We should totally wait in his room and ambush him.”

“Hi guys!  Hope to see you tomorrow at the show!  Have a good night!”  And gestured for my envelope.  They looked at me with an inquiring scan, suspecting I was a crazy person.  While not wrong, I clarified “that one’s for me.”

“Nice try.  There’s just ours, another group we know, and Steve Argyle’s”

“Yep.  Steve Argyle.  …  Um, that’s me.”

They then delightfully lost it for exactly seventeen seconds.  A frantic whirlwind of questions and compliments later, we parted ways to hibernate in our remarkably large suite.  We were in Auckland.  The GP was about to begin…

  • Listening to: Half of the voices in my head. The rest is jerks.
  • Reading: I'm trying to learn how.
  • Watching: Every step you take, every move you make.
  • Playing: a lovely little fiddle ditty vs. the devil.
  • Eating: Whatever wanders close to my glowy angler tongue.
  • Drinking: in the irony of it all.

Journal History


Add a Comment:
DeathGod46 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Student General Artist
Your art style is amazing ! Have my watch and a llama :)
AprilONeilFanboy Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015  New Deviant
Heyas, could you possibly create a desktop wallpaper pic out of that awesome artwork you did for Reya Dawnbringer (aka this):…

I would be willing to pay a reasonable fee for such a desktop wallpaper. :D
I-am-the-wanderer Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015
You have a great style of presenting a concept, and your work is amazing. Great gallery, great MTG cards, great everything! :D
blackstrike Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2015  Professional Photographer
Wow, what happened with your gallery??? Quitting DA or just reorganizing the stuff?
mackie85 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday!
frokamen Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015
have an excellent birthday
nikolai60 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Happy Birthday!
jamesgunner123 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015
...happy birthday to you sir...=3
nsideddice Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015
:cake: Happy Birthday! :cake:
A-s-t-r-a Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2015  Student General Artist
Happy B-day.
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