An article by John Dale Beety examines the fantasy world art of Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark. Very cool. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online.
After more than two decades of playing Magic: The Gathering, it's hard for the game to shock me. Multiversal apocalypse? I've been through my share. Beloved characters die? I'd seen Bambi and read Where the Red Fern Grows by age ten.
Even so, the March of the Machine previews debuted at MagicCon Philadelphia left me with my mouth open. Well, one preview in particular.
No, not the Zezhou Chen art on the left or the Betty Jiang art on the right, though both are awesome in their own ways. My eyes went straight to the alternate-frame art in the middle.
First thought: That's a well-illustrated medal.
Second thought: That's a very well-illustrated medal. Who did that?
Third thought: Jody Clark? They got Jody Clark?!
For many new Magic illustrators, debuting with the game is a breakthrough moment for their art careers.
Jody Clark's artwork has been reproduced literally billions of times already.
In 2015, Jody Clark, then a relatively new employee of The Royal Mint, was announced as the winner of a contest to design a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for British coinage. He was only 33 years old, the youngest artist in memory to do such a portrait for the United Kingdom.
After several more years with The Royal Mint and additional designs put into production, including a new coinage portrait for Australia, Jody Clark joined the private sector in May 2020. He made his Magic illustration debut with 2022's Dominaria United.
While Jody Clark's most famous works are numismatic designs for coins, medals, and related objects, that isn't his only mode of art-making. Because the process of bringing a coin design into reality goes through stages of two-dimensional concept drawing (traditional or digital) and three-dimensional low-relief sculpture (traditional or computer-aided), this sets up a coin designer well for commissions in those media and related ones. And on seeing Stained Glass Strangle, aka Brazillian [sic] Jiu Jitsu Is My Religion, it's easy to draw a throughline between that work and the four stained-glass-style illustrations of his Magic debut.
When I found Jody Clark's name on these illustrations after a search, I felt silly. I'm supposed to be on top of new Magic artists, so how did I miss the connection to an artist I already knew from being a former professional coin geek? The only excuse I can offer is that
Jody Clark is a relatively anonymous name — there's at least one other artist named Jody Clark out there — and I was not familiar with the coin-famous Jody Clark's other work.
Once I saw the medal, though, I knew. It combines the best qualities of the illustrations for Saga cards, which depict art forms the inhabitants of a Magic setting would make, and Secret Lair, which sometimes brings in artists with specialist skills. Jody Clark's years of experience at making numismatic designs, plus his hard-won knowledge of how those specific three-dimensional objects appear in two dimensions, give Ghalta and Mavren that further nuance of rendition a connoisseur recognizes instantly, though may find hard to articulate.
To read the complete article, see:
Ghalta and Mavren (and the Money Man Who Made Them)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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