Demonic Tutors are always a good choice for an alter since they are popular in EDH, and I've done lots of them in the past. I wanted to make this one frameless with replacement art, and I wanted it to be fairly simple with some hotness on it, i.e. some hot demon chick. One of our very first customers had pointed me to an artist who is pretty much the master of hot chick: Luis Royo (www.luisroyofantasy.com). Royo is an amazing illustrator with a huge body of work. I took some time going through lots of his drawings and eventually narrowed it down to a few that I thought would be good for my tutor. This is the one I settled on:
Compared to some of Royo's other work, this one is fairly simple. Even so, I simplified it a bit more on the tutor in order to make it more feasible to paint at such a small scale. She's not wearing a whole lot, and she's sitting in a way that fits well onto the dimensions of a magic card. The colour scheme is very limited, too, which makes it easy for me.
I only had three colours of paint out for this one: black, white, and brown. The first thing I did which is what I usually do with full frame art, is paint the whole card over with black. I then worked some colour and texture into the background. I didn't take a picture of this because I figured it wouldn't be all that interesting ^^
Next I sketched out the rough shape of the body. I used black and white grease pencils for this. I find they works well on top of paint and can be removed fairly easily if I mess up. Next, I filled in the area of her body with some grey paint which helped in defining the features a little bit.
Here's the picture of the rough shapes. You can see a lot of brushwork texture in the background, and also remnants of the grease pencil. I kept the same pose as the Luis Royo image, but I decided to just skip out on the clothes all together. I also wanted to give her longer hair. The naughty bits are often frowned upon in the forums and auction sites, so long hair helps cover up what must not be seen and I'm a big fan of long hair anyway so this!
Here I added some more detail to her body and face. I like to work from a mid-ground colour, in this case grey, and then work my way up with highlights and shadows. I like the face on the original Royo but I wanted to make her face a little more demonic looking. I also made some changes since the original art is a large scale painting and this is only a tiny magic card. Furthermore, the artwork is a bit too realistic for my taste and it kind of has that 80's feel to it. You'll notice that she also has a cute bangs going on in this picture. This was kind of an accident, but I liked it, so I kept it.
Next, I added more detail and really pushed the darks a lot. I expanded on her fringe and the face. I gave her eyes the shape of animal eyes, with the little line that comes down from the inside tip of the eye towards the nose which you can often see that on cats. I also decided to give her little pointy ears, just like a typical demon (or elf)!
And here's the last of the details. I smoothed out her body a lot with washes of the midrange colour that I used at the beginning. I decided to skip the tattoo over her belly, like in Royo's painting, and put one on her arm instead. I made her eyes more demon-like by giving her slits for pupils and adding a bit of glow to them. I then used a 0.2mm black pen to add some finer details and outlines. On the one hand, this adds to the crispness of the alter, but on the other hand it makes the card lose a bit of its painterly feel, which in turn is more stylized. It's a trade-off, but I think in this case it was the right choice.
The last stop for this alter was to carve out the lettering in order to restore legibility to the name and casting cost. Here's the final result:
Thanks for reading, meow!