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Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
By SteveArgyle   |   Watch
1K 45 15K (1 Today)
Published: May 2, 2015
© 2015 - 2019 SteveArgyle

Thalia card by SteveArgyle Thalia sketches by SteveArgyle 
Creating artwork for a promotional version of a character is an interesting challenge of balance.  You need the work to stay true to the original, but offer some new insight, story, or perspective.  It's also really intimidating to be following artwork that is already incredible, such as the original by Jana Schirmer and Johannes Voss.


As shown in the sketches, a few of the approaches considered were to show her in front of, or in, a vibrant, thriving city of Thraben.  Or perhaps commanding her armies, or admiring a statue of Avacyn.  While you only get one piece in the end, between me, the art directors, and the concept teams, a whole lot of ideas are explored.  In the end, we settled on one with subtlety.  Instead of a more typical Magic high-action, or epic hero shot, we see this fearsome commander in a moment of humility, saluting another mighty guardian, Avacyn.


And that part is pretty subtle, no?  Avacyn is portrayed here almost entirely as a light source.  And while you'll never-never-never-ever-ever see it on the card, Avacyn is there, a tiny little reflection of her in Thalia's eyes.  I am relentlessly detail obsessed, if you hadn't already noticed.  (Such as the basket hilt design, which if you haven't caught it, is a heron of Innistrad.)


For Magic the Gathering. Copyright Wizards of the Coast. Art directed by Jeremy Jarvis.

Image size
1170x855px 651.06 KB
Date Taken
Apr 29, 2015, 12:03:41 PM
ACDSee Pro 7
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Comments (45)
WhiteBoneDemon's avatar
WhiteBoneDemon| Traditional Artist
Hey there SteveArgyle! Just thought I should let you know, I found someone who is stealing your artwork-->0152mak :icon0152mak:

 I have discovered that they are also copying art/masking watermarks from many other people. Proof;

(From 0152mak's dA gallery)
sword  beauty by 0152mak sword beauty [7 minutes and 48 seconds ago]

As the original artist, you can help report 0152mak for intellectual property theft, and have their IP permanently banned from Deviantart by sending a DCMA report here -->:bulletblue:
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c01e's avatar
c01e|Student General Artist
This piece is fantastic! I love how the lighting, skin, hair, metal, everything works in concert showing fantastic detail. The reflection of light being the entity she's saluting is brilliant. Well done!

Side note: I think it's safe to say your work isn't following other incredible artists. I'd say you've shown you stand side by side. (Metaphorically, of course.) I'm glad you haven't let it go to your head and can stay humble though. I think that's more enjoyable too. There's still magic in accomplishments and meeting heroes.
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springtwister's avatar
springtwister|Student Photographer
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MYCARO's avatar
MYCARO|Hobbyist General Artist
so beautiful....and expensive
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tru3nam3n3m3sis's avatar
got that right...jeez
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bishoujosavior's avatar
I finally got a copy of this card.  It is surely one of my prized cards.
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Rafellin's avatar
Rafellin|Professional Writer
This. This is Art.
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Moltenkitty's avatar
Moltenkitty|Student General Artist
Wowowow that's so amazing !! I love the detail you put in there, especially the reflection of Avacyn in her eyes :la::la:
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Elvinkin66's avatar
Elvinkin66|Student Writer
Hope she return d in Shadow Over Innastad. 
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SteveArgyle's avatar
SteveArgyle|Professional Digital Artist
Me too.  She's too cool not to.  I have faith in Wizards.
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Elvinkin66's avatar
Elvinkin66|Student Writer
As a Planswalker maybe? 

A guy can hope. 
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XiahouDun's avatar
Thalia was one of my absolute favorite cards in Magic, both for art and ability. You just raised the bar here.
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Antonvac's avatar
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Lorkar's avatar
So beautiful i can't even tell--her eyes, the rapier, her freckles, her lips. Perfect.
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kamao's avatar
her eyes, just stands out.. very amazing!
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Velkaarn's avatar
Awesome, I need to acquire a copy of the promo card once it's out. A very good, unexpected interpretation.
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Someone-Else79's avatar
Great work !!!
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lauraypablo's avatar
lauraypablo|Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow!!! so beautiful artworkk :heart::huggle:
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YasuMatsuoka's avatar
YasuMatsuoka|Professional Digital Artist
Beautiful. I love the eyes!
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Spoig's avatar
There's a bit of duality in you doing this piece, after Liliana of the Veil. WotC seems to be increasingly tapping you for female card art, or maybe that's just observation bias.
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TheAstronomicon's avatar
A most excellent piece of art, highly worthy of praise.
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Neo128's avatar
Neo128| General Artist
Great detail... Obviously, she takes her obligation very seriously. :o
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warrior-of-tzeentch's avatar
Absolutely gorgeous close up of her.  The details are incredible.  It is beautiful to see such a focused look into the calm details of emotion, passion, and feelings that can be conveyed with such a beautiful angle.
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anonymous's avatar
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