Are you prepared to spread your wings and journey to the finale?
It just doesn’t get any better than this. Here, in the final stretch, are the ten artists that have fascinated me and enraptured my adoration with their sublime level of imagination, technique, and style. Every artist so far on this countdown are all terrific, and I look forward to seeing more art from all of them, but I personally feel that the ones here on the highest ranking are the very epitome of what I look for and enjoy with the world of fantasy artwork. In case you were wondering, there are indeed over 100 pieces of art posted below. Now, let’s see just how amazing this fantasy can get.
10. Wenqing ‘Yuumei’ Yan
Some may think that art with anime characteristics shouldn’t be up this high. Well, if her artwork isn’t already enough, the message and voice behind many of this activist’s paintings should surely capture your attention. An artist with a hell of a voice, her drawings both open the eyes and saturate them with explosions of color. Her art is meaningful in more ways than one because of her determination to express her stance on topics in the world. She doesn’t just merely draw to bring her imagination to life, she draws to communicate. She expresses herself completely with many of her drawings. On top of all this, she also has on online flash comic called “Knite” that’s garnered a sizable underground following. All of that passion and dedication earns her this spot in the top ten.
9. Richard Wright
I’ve never seen anyone draw finer architecture than Richard Wright. Easily one of Magic’s most overlooked artists, his skill level and execution are downright astounding. You could even take a little square out of his drawing and that one portion would have more detail than most other artists have in the whole frame. He singularly brings an entire city to life with every single drawing. It’s breathtaking to say the least, and Magic owes him a lot more credit than he’s given.
8. Johannes Voss
Warning, his artwork can stun. The blinding flash of light in “Commander’s Authority” instantly dazzles your eyes and almost make them tear up. His color and lighting are easily his two strongest qualities, and when combined as you see here, it makes for some of the most gorgeous and colorful artworks out there. Even in his more grim works, he uses bright coloring to amazing effect. Though very new to the staff, Johannes Voss is easily one of Magic: The Gathering’s most talented new artists and I can’t wait to see more of his work.
7. Aleksi Briclot
When you’re the artist responsible for two of my favorite planeswalker art pieces in Magic: The Gathering, you’re guaranteed a spot near the top. Planeswalkers are the most prominent characters in Magic’s massive storyline, and Wizards of the Coast only have the best artists draw them. His beautiful renditions of his characters are so full of imagination and creativity that it almost makes me wish he’d draw every planeswalker in Magic. Actually you know what…he already almost has. Just look below.
6. Chris Cold
Dark, gritty, and raw: Chris Cold is an artist impossible to imitate. His drawings border on surreal in terms of the techniques he employs. A kind of medieval, bleak, hopelessness underlies all of his art. Dark fantasy is my favorite kind so he definitely appeals to me more than he would to most. In a lot of art, you imagine music or melodies, but in Chris Cold’s art, all one would hear is a hollow whistling of the wind or perhaps even dead silence. He is definitely an artist of the highest caliber and his work will generate chills and awe for years to come.
5. John Avon
We’re now at the top five artists that define every aspect of what I adore in art and who better to lead in the final five then with the artist who once actually was my number one favorite artist? John Avon is one of Magic: The Gathering’s longest hired artists, drawing with them since 1996 where he could finish a drawing in two hours. Now he has easily offered a hefty percentage of Magic’s artwork, and continues to do so today. He remained, for the longest time my favorite Magic artist, mainly for his environmental artwork which you will see a lot of below. His sense of atmosphere and skill with realism make for some awe-inspiring landscapes, and the way he uses the open space and air to create a sense of scale and distance is used extremely effectively.
4. Sam Burley
Sam Burley is an environmental genius. If you look at his portfolio, you’ll see heaps of desert and mountain scenery with near photo-realism. He was just picked up by Magic very recently which is a huge score for Wizards. What’s being displayed below are his more fantastical art pieces. Each one should drop your jaw a relative degree or two. Water is definitely his strongest element that he can use, but even without water, he can pull off majestic set pieces left and right.
2. Alexander ‘Hollllow’ Fedosav
There are certain things that you may have noticed seem to dominate this list such as dark fantasy, detail, and creatively creepy subjects. Well allow me to preface this artist with the fact that he took all three of those things and turned it into one singular style that completely blows me away with every single piece. It’s my burning pleasure to introduce you to the runner up of this extremely exhaustive list. From Ukraine, he’s known as Hollllow. His art style is very specific, and absolutely mesmerizing to look at. Take a human’s body and morph it into a twisted, elegant aberration of abstract design. As rough as it sounds on paper, this art style is incredible. The work that goes into each portrait is absurd and his designs are ingenius. They are delightfully dark, hauntingly beautiful, and full of elegance and poise. His detail is flawless. The fold and wrinkles, cracks and chips; everything has been accounted for in each drawing. His spot may be more to the specific liking of my taste, but defend it to the grave, I will.
2. Noah Bradley
There’s one quality that a lot of fantasy artists don’t put a lot of emphasis on; atmosphere. The way the environment feels, let alone appears. While there were tons of great ones on the list, Noah Bradley ranks this high for the way his art feels. Almost every drawing is a place I’d want to live. Every setting is a location that I wish to be witnessed with my naked eye. And he does all of this with such a minimalistic design. No sharp, popping detail, and no clashing of vibrant colors. It’s all done delicately, carefully, and most of all, with much personality. Noah Bradley also just got added to the staff of Magic: The Gathering very recently making this fine gentlemen my new favorite Magic: The Gathering artist.
There’s one common desire among most art followers, and that’s to experience the feeling of imagination spiraling out of control and creating something spectacular out of our wildest dreams. This singular artist has reached the top over every other artist for that exact reason. Cyril Rolando is able to capture that feeling and create the most exhilirating artwork I have ever witnessed thus far. His portraits are a tour de force of inspiration and creativity, and it’s quite possible that some of your dreams may even be rekindled just upon examining his illustrations. Warm oranges and cool blues dominate the majority of his dreamscapes illuminating them with emotions of hope and thought. It is because of these intrinsic qualities that Cyril Rolando is ranked above all the others in accordace to my taste. For what is art, without the inspiration?
As you recover from this marathon of sizzling your eyes and having your jaw hit the floor, this could be a great time for to reflect and bask in all that this artwork provided. Then if you feel so inclined, leave a comment of any thoughts you have of any of these artists. If you’re a fan, show your support and call them out, even if it’s someone you just discovered. And if you are more willing, you’re welcome to post thoughts on your own version of this list and share artists that may have been missed or deserve a spot in your mind. Please don’t bring negative conversation into the mix, we’re all here for constructive criticism, which is, coincidentally, the number one foundation of an artist. Thank you very much for bearing with me through the longest blog post I’ve ever compiled.