GP Minneapolis Artist Interview – Tom Baxa #GPMINN

Greetings all,

With GP Minneapolis just a few weeks away, I am chatting with the artists.

Today I have the third and final artist I interviewed, Tom Baxa.  Tom is the star of our featured artists, having done the playmat for GP Minneapolis.  Check it out:


Rob: You’ve done a lot of Magic art.  (For the readers, you can see all that art here.)  What piece do you think is under appreciated?

Tom:ftl197_mae  With a game like Magic, there are many factors that make a particular card near and dear in the hearts of the players.  Art is one factor, but usually not the main one.  So sometimes you do some of your best work and it ends up on a card that isn’t very powerful and doesn’t see much play.  And that’s just part of the MTG, and that’s cool.  Two of my favorite pieces of art I did for Magic, that didn’t have much excitement around them are: Dripping Dead and Smokespew Invoker.

What is your favorite Magic art to sign or alter?

Tom:  I love when people are excited about my cards and like to have them signed.  It’s always cool to see how many Relentless Rats a guy has collected for me to sign.  But it’s a hard one to alter.  I do like altering Festering Goblin.

RobDo you have any great stories about Magic events you attended?

tumblr_mvlby5yQJS1ri1r1uo1_1280Tom:  This was kinda funny…it was my very first signing for the Tempest set way back when.  I had a measly 5 cards to my name, and who do they sit me next to?  Ron Spenser a huge fan favorite who had done 100 cards already.  He had a long line all day, and my was sporadic at best.  But it was a lot of fun and a neat first experience.  Luckily, in my first offering I did a powerful card, Lobotomy, so people brought a lot of those by.

RobIs there anything you really want to sign or alter at GP Minneapolis that you have not had the chance to yet?

Tom:  I’ve done them all, so I’m not fussy.  I just want the players to get their faves signed.  It is neat when someone brings me some off -beat (usually non-Magic) item to sign like some Shadowrun Cards or old Dark Sun books.

RobAre there any non-Magic things you are bringing to the GP that you want to tell people about?

Tom:  I’ll be bringing copies of my art book Blood Rituals: the Art of Tom Baxa, which actually has a lot of Magic art in it along with work spanning my 25+ year career.  I always have lotsa goodies like playmats and prints of some of my personal work .  You can always see more at .

RobHow did you get into doing Magic art?

mtgcom_arcana_583_pic2_enTom:  When Magic hit the scene I was already doing a lot of work as a fantasy illustrator in the role-playing game industry for Dungeons and Dragons and Shadowrun, etc.  The game was making waves and seemed like a really cool thing to work on.  Over the years, the Magic universe has gotten cooler and cooler.  I love doing Magic art!

RobDo you do traditional paints, or digital, or a mix of the two?  If you have done both, which do you prefer and why?

Tom:  I love painting with oils – that’s probably my first love.  But I also like to paint digitally.  There’s a lot of neat things you can do with digital, so there’s lotsa room for experimentation and happy accidents, which is fun for me as an artist.  The thing I like most about oils is the interaction of your brush strokes with paint that’s already on the canvas.  You can blend paint, mash things together, erase away for effect, etc.  And it’s more immediate and intuitive.  You can replicate some of these things digitally, but you miss out on inhaling all those toxic fumes!

Tom, thanks tons.

You can catch Tom Baxa at the GP, or on his site – as the playmat artist expect him to be busy all weekend.


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