February 2015



Creating a graphic novel but stopping along the way to take some photos, eat some food and admire great art!

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Artwork of Dan MacKinnon – From the Ashes Kickstarter

36 year old Dan MacKinnon is a fantastic artist who has been illustrating several fantasy pieces. He’s also about to launch his Kickstarter “From the Ashes” where the world is rebuilding from the devastation unleashed by Wraith King Arthon.

Garruk (Inked) :
Kickstarter, From the Ashes, Dan MacKinnon, MtG, Garruk, artwork

Garruk (Coloured) :
Kickstarter, From the Ashes, Dan MacKinnon, MtG, Garruk, artwork

Thanks for your time Dan.
Where are you from?

I’m from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Currently living in Duncan, British Columbia. I live on the west coast for the climate but I will always consider myself an east coaster. Where I’m from and how where I grew up are a big part of my identity and something I’m very proud of. I just got married moved in to a little house in the country with my wife and my big ol dog, Bruenor.

Were you always an artist?

Haha . . I spent 13 years as a tree planter and worked all across Canada and the US. Ive planted just over one and a half million trees by hand and am fiercely proud of the time I spent and the things I learned doing it. I went to university to be a teacher because I didn’t get accepted in the fine arts program. I taught English in China for a while then went back to planting trees.

However I have always been an artist but after I didn’t get it to art school, I kind of gave up on it as a career but I never stopped drawing. At some point I decided that it was an itch that I needed to scratch or I would never forgive myself so at the age of 30 I went back to school for illustration. I finished a 3 year college program in Toronto and have been a freelance artist for the last 3 years.

The works I’m showcasing all have a fantasy element. How would your describe your work and influences?

American comic book style meets dungeons and dragons with a touch of traditional illustration is how I would describe my style I suppose. I love the dynamics and explosiveness of modern comic book storytelling but I have a real desire to keep things realistic, even when drawing unreal things. Comic books and fantasy art asks you to suspend your sense of disbelief so much already in its subject matter that I feel like the artwork has to keep you grounded or it might as well be a cartoon. If it doesn’t look real, I’m never afraid something real might happen. If it all looks like a cartoon, there’s no fear that there might be real consequences to the actions of the characters and that ruins it for me.

I am heavily influenced by Jim Lee. I have lots of other guys who I love like Stuart Immonen, Wayne Reynolds, Marc Silverstri, Jeff Easley, but it all comes back to Jim. He was the guys I learned to draw by copying so he’s the guy I always to back to for inspiration.

I noticed a lot of your work are based on Magic the Gathering (MtG) characters. Is there any particular character you enjoy illustrating?

My favourite MtG character is probably Ajani just because he looks so cool. I can’t get enough of that insane weapon he wields. The worlds of fantasy had me in awe as a kid and keep me creating to this day. I was mesmerized by the artwork in the players handbook and the monstrous manual. I couldn’t get enough of it and that’s what drew me to MtG. I like the game itself but its the artwork and the world that keeps me interested. Crazy monsters, unbelievable worlds, the power of magic, the fury of dragons, this is the kind of stuff that excites me.

I love fantasy artwork as well! However do you much “superhero” work?

I stop loving superheroes because it all seemed so boring. It all took place it plain old today in the plain old real world. Every background was skyscrapers and cars, every character was essentially the same, jumping around in their underwear flexing their muscles. I find it nauseating these days. D&D and MtG showed me stuff Id never even thought of, it continues to blow my mind to this day.

What work do you have completed?

I recently did some work for the Design Mechanism on the RPG game, Runequest and I got to do some illustrations for their players handbook and draw some of their monsters. I was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever had the privilege of doing. The thought that there are young people out there playing Runequest looking at my drawings and getting inspired to draw or create still chokes me up even after the 4th book. It’s a dream come true to be able to give back to an industry and a genre that inspired me so much as a kid.

I’ve just finished working on Mythic Britain, my fourth book for Runequest which just came out. I did a 60 page graphic novel called The Merciful for Underbelly comics a few years ago. I’ve finally stopped pretending that I’m gonna do anything other than draw monsters and wizards for the rest of my life and I can’t tell you how good it feels.

From our previous discussion, I know you are launching a Kickstarter “From the Ashes”. What can you share about that project?

It’s a story I started 20 years ago! I can’t believe it’s about it’s about to launch. Here’s a sample page.

Kickstarter, From the Ashes, Dan MacKinnon, MtG, Garruk, artwork

Thanks for your time and good luck with your Kickstarter when you launch!

Dan is currently available for commissions (pricing information on request), please contact him danmackinnonart [at] gmail.com

His work is also available :

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