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Melissa, you were one of the very first Magic the Gathering illustrators, and many cards you worked on (such as the early Shivan Dragon or Nightmare) since then managed to achieve legendary status among players all around the world. How did you get to work for Wizards of the Coast? Did you ever have the chance to meet Richard Garfield in person?
Back in the good old days of Alpha, did WotC have an accurate idea (if any) of what every illustration was supposed to look like? Were you given any guidelines, or were you totally free to draw characters and creatures the way you wanted?
Back then, did you expect the game to meet such a success and last for so long? Did working for MtG help giving more visibility to your art? Would you say it significantly boosted your career as an artist?
We read in the FAQ's on your website that you don't play MtG. Did you nevertheless give it a try or read the rules? How deep is your knowledge of Magic background, the Multiverse? (For instance, do you know what a planeswalker is or where Shiv is located?)
Most recent MtG cards are now illustrated with digital paintings (and digital VS traditional is still one of the hottest debate among art-oriented Magic players) Would you say the use of computer tools is now a requirement for a fantasy artist in this day and age? What is your personal opinion about this evolution?
Fantasy art is often all about body-building barbarian warriors wielding blood-stained battleaxes and saving half-naked elvish bimbos from the fangs of evil demonic monsters. Do you think that female artists may be able to introduce more subtility and poetry in these testosterone-flooded universes? Are they key to attracting more girls in our mostly-male fantasy world? (Could drawing more unicorns and pegasi really be the only way to achieve this goal?)
What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any painters that have particularly influenced your work?
Did you try other artistic means of expression (photography, sculpture, writing...)?
What are your next projects? Do you plan to work with WotC again sometime?
Melissa, thanks a lot for your time. We wish you the best and hope to see your art again on MtG cards!
Plus de Melissa Benson sur son site : http://www.melissabenson.com/
Une interview de Melissa Benson réalisé pour le magazine le Duelist : http://www.melissabenson.com/duelist_interview.html
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