pla ying hard ball
Aaron was against taking on this pro bono project, but it became a key springboard for his Magic work…
Depicting a dwarf ranger scouting out some orc raiders, Scouting Party was commissioned at desktop art for an online gaming convention in 2013. It proved to be a milestone project for Aaron that ultimately got him noticed by Magic: the Gathering, but he wasn’t at all keen on taking it on at first.
“I tried as hard as I could to turn this job down,” he recalls. “After two ‘no thanks’ emails, the art director called me to find out why I didn’t want to do the work. For starters, there was no money. Zero. Then the project descriptions were horrible, from my perspective. They called for compositions I don’t particularly care for, and had no desire to create.”
All the more appealing subjects were already taken, he recalls, and the lack of fee on top of that seemingly made the rejection a no-brainer – but Aaron opted to move the goalposts instead. “Asked what I would prefer, I mentioned creatures. He recalled a description that had a dwarf riding a lizard. I explained it was an overly busy scene, but I liked the main theme and would create something that worked for me and they could take it or leave it. The art director agreed.”
Aaron’s persistence paid off: the resulting painting was the event’s most-downloaded image. “Confidence won out, and I delivered what the client actually needed, rather then what they thought they needed,” he adds. “I try to recall this project when I feel my confidence slipping.”