Terese Nielsen

From ru­ral dream­ing to trad­ing-card queen, Terese’s rich, tex­tured work is un­mis­tak­able. Jem Roberts fol­lows the artist through her fan­tas­ti­cal ad­ven­tures

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erese Nielsen is an im­me­di­ately recog­nis­able name in fan­tasy art. She’s a painter and mixed­me­dia ex­per­i­menter at the top of her fields – no­tably, trad­ing card art­work for the likes of Magic: The Gath­er­ing and Harry Pot­ter, and of course Star Wars art. Given the star-skip­ping theme of this is­sue, it’s ir­re­sistible to draw com­par­isons be­tween young Terese, and an­other am­bi­tious young farm­hand on a planet far, far away…

“I’m from Aurora,” Terese says, “a teenytiny farm­ing town. We didn’t have com­put­ers or cell phones, and video games were barely be­gin­ning to hap­pen, so there wasn’t any­thing to do! I would stay home and draw. I wasn’t ever bored, but had a lot of time to learn how to do stuff with­out be­ing dis­tracted by a mil­lion things, like to­day. Grow­ing up on a farm, you see the sea­sons turn­ing.”

Shar­ing an up­bring­ing with a twin and older brother (fel­low fan­tasy artist Ron Spencer), cre­ativ­ity ran in the fam­ily. “We have a strain of it go­ing on there – my mom took art classes in col­lege early on, but then got mar­ried and did the stay-at-home mom thing. But she was a cul­tured lady.

De­scen­dants’ Path A 2012 Magic: The Gath­er­ing illustration from the set Ava­cyn Re­stored. “Prob­a­bly one of my most per­sonal and mean­ing­ful M:tG pieces. It fea­tures por­traits of my own fam­ily his­tory.”

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