April 12, 2012

Mage Wars

About a year ago Arcane Wonders contacted me about some illustrations for a game they were developing called Mage Wars. I was hesitant at first, as I've had some bad experiences with independent publishers. But, they were up-front with a contract, and they're a dream client to work with. The development team had concise ideas for their archetypal mages (and combat arenas), but they also gave me a lot of free reign in designing the characters and environments.

They asked for a much more vibrant palette than I usually use, and it was a lot of fun to amp up the color and let the sparks fly. The box set comes out this summer, and I'm looking forward to working on the expansion packs.

Play testing has been incredibly successful at conventions (they even printed HUGE banners of my cover work! :), and I hope the game does really well. Not just for my future employment, but for a wonderful team who is truly dedicated to making an innovative new game.

All images © Arcane Wonders


  1. Super work on the characters, but it's the play of light on the covers that really shines for me, cover 2 especially.

  2. Love seeing your new work posted up, man. Inspiration city right here. I love the character illos. I noticed that these characters are paired up interacting in the scenic pieces, are the last two together in one that we're not allowed to see yet? ;) That last chick is probably my favorite of the bunch, that's a bad ass weapon design, man. Looks like you had a lot of fun with these and it shows.

    Thanks for sharing them with us, dude :)

  3. Thanks guys! I'm doing another cover with those two mages next month. It should be easier this time around, as the characters are already established. Last time I did the battle scenes first, then the individual portraits afterwards. I'm really looking forward to seeing how an Orc Warlord and a Forcemaster will clash, it'll be like immovable object vs. irresistible force.

  4. Great stuff Craig! Love the fire guy.

  5. Hey Craig, nice to see the work you did for Mage Wars. I´ve produced some artwork for them too, but most of them seems to be not yet published; btw, can I contribute to this blog too, is it open to fantasy illustrators, or how does it actually work?

    1. The Mage Wars team regularly posts new card images from the game on facebook, yours will probably pop up soon. Bryan is cool with his illustrators sharing work before publication, I'd love to see what you did for 'em (though, best to ask him first).

      Shadowcore has a fixed number of contributors right now, but if we decide to increase our ranks we'll definitely keep you in mind!