Fall of the Gavel
oil on paper mounted on board, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast
Initially my idea for this piece was to have the accused, a Golgari elf, in the scene. I liked the idea and felt it worked for the card. Showing the judge banging the gavel should take priority though, and this would be more difficult to emphasize when reduced to card size.
Or at least that's what I convinced myself. Concentrating on the judge alone also allowed me to indulge myself in all those cool details of costume. In this case the silken robes, the silver metal and the blue orbs, and runes of legal code that decorate the garb of the Azorius guild.
Giving the gavel some motion wasn't something I thought to do until the finish. He might have just been holding the gavel, but some blur and a few sparks seemed to do the trick.
Another thing I remember about this piece was being uncertain about vedalken anatomy (the vedalken are a blue skinned race of humanoids that appear in many of the settings in Magic). Some of the concept art had them with very long necks, while others had necks closer of human length. As it turned out, either one was fine and the only concern for the art director, Jeremy Jarvis, was that the face not look like an alien. So I kept the longer neck. More room for more detail.