Hurley Burley Studio

Fantasy Art and Illustration

Alter Feedback: I usually Draw

Twitter user @HarleyTheKind usually takes pencil to paper, but decided to try a brush! Since they already have some background in art the extension part of these are pretty spot on. The feedback for these is short and sweet:

  • Color Matching
  • Thin Paint
  • Add Details

Color matching

Getting the colors to match seamlessly can be tricky. Let’s start with the Mascot. Light colors like whites and yellows are hard to control because when you try to change the tone you can easily become too pastel. The building extension is a touch too dark, but getting it to be light enough requires the use of layers. The top of the art can be tricky to mimic. I would have gone about it with an old beater brush and used a dabbing technique to get the dots of the crowd randomly down. It requires a ton of thin layers of a few different colors, using your finger to smudge them down, and then repeating. Leaving you with a spray can effect to the card.

With the drake you have the opposite problem, the colors a bit darker. The key is to try to keep them vibrant while bringing it down to a grey. The main colors used, besides black and white, should be blue and magenta. When you get a nice looking purple you can then work your way up and down to get the lights and darks. The biggest area you can see the color difference in the paint and print is on the left side around the wing. The paint needs to be lighten up with the whites and purple. 

Thin Paint

Thin paint is your friend. If you use Golden Fluid Acrylics you can use them straight out of the bottle. I highly suggest getting a wet palette for your paints. A wet palette will keep your acrylics usable for hours. If you don’t want to invest in Golden paints yet, you can use cheaper paints. The consistency of the paint should be around that of bad milk. 

Using thin paint will let you work up to the color that you want. Taking the Drake for example. The super light, almost white, blue on the top can be built up to with thin layers of white with a touch of blue. Whites and yellows are hard to make opaque so making sure that you have a nice grey base coat to start on is key. Thin paint will also help prevent the brush strokes from showing. If you lay down a layer, and smush it with your finger it will get rid of the brush strokes and blend the colors together. 

Add Details

I have found that digitally painting on cards is much harder for me that doing it in real life, I can’t touch them and that really effects my blending. 

The smallest things can make a huge difference when it comes to card alters. When there are parts of the focal point that extend past the color pipelines I love to keep the pipelines on the card. Having a piece of the art extending over it while the rest of the art is in the background can add a 3D effect. With the Mascot you get the feeling that it is moving away from you and the Drake is going to dive over the textbox. 

With the current card frame I like to leave the bottom alone. It is a nice clean black bottom with the WotC artist’s information. The majority of the time what we are focusing on is up top, so being able to have a simple bottom will keep the viewer’s eye on the important part. And let’s be honest, trying to figure out what to put on the bottom can get tricky.


Having a background in art gives them a great head start. Working on color matching and keeping the paints thin will make the most improvement in their work. 

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2 Replies to “Alter Feedback: I usually Draw”

  • Once I get more familiar with painting, I’m definetly going to invest in better paint. Im already seeing progress from piece to piece, so every bit of feedback and advice is helpful. I can already tell that every card is different, and they don’t need to be altered in the same way. I really like your paint overs, keeping the thin border to make the main focal point have more depth. As well the WOTC information left at the bottom does make the card feel more complete.

    Thank you for the feedback, I look forward to seeing others, as well as your own work.

    • Thank you! Leaving the pipelines is one of my go-to techniques to bring a little extra to the card.
      You’re very welcome for the feedback. I’ve been enjoying watching newer alterists learn and grow!

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