Welcome to Thursday folks!
Alters Week here at East Coast Commander is just about ready to come to a close with only two artists left to be featured. I really can’t thank everyone enough that took time out of their day to support this site. One of the best parts of working on East Coast Commander is meeting a ton of amazing people – from players, to bloggers and of course artists!
Without further a due, let’s take a look at Janne Puhakka, the brush behind Dewil Alters!
East Coast Commander: Thanks for participating the East Coast Commander’s Altering the Magic series. Let’s get some background information to kick things off. How long have you been playing Magic, and when did you first start altering cards?
Dewil Alters : Thank you very much for incorporating me. It is really nice that people have an interest towards alters and that they enjoy these miniature works of art. I have been playing magic for about three years now. I did play when I was younger, from revised to alliance, but then I got interested in other hobbies sold my collection and quit. I did switch to miniature gaming and I still enjoy a good game every now and then. After a long break and after some serious computer gaming (WOW) I turned back to this familiar and fun hobby. It did not take too long before my friends who also played with miniatures said that I could try altering cards. I had just started to play again so I was pretty amazed by this thing that did not exist back in the day. I remember that I was immediately interested in changing the medium. I had been painting miniatures for years so I tough it would be fun to try something different and I also thought that I could be pretty good at altering since I had the detail thing already in control.
ECC: What kickstarted you into altering cards? Did you work with other mediums first, or have formal education in art? Did your first works stem from your own desire to alter your own collection or were you commissioned by friends from the beginning?
Dewil: I have some friends to thank for getting me to altering. Now as you can imagine I had a lot of experience with miniature painting so the switch to altering cards was pretty easy. I do not have any formal education but I had always been interested in painting and art in a way or another, so starting altering really set something in motion. My first work was for a friend and it was a pretty funny idea that I liked instantly. I was asked to alter a my little pony for the legendary card Nightmare, I thought it was a perfect fit and just so damn funny that I had to do it.
I rarely keep a card to myself or paint anything for myself nowadays because I really don’t have the time to. I would love to alter some cards to my cube or paint a few miniatures for my armies, but other things and commissions are really taking all of my time.
ECC: What was your first alter project? How did you feel after it’s completion? Did you know then that that project would start you off in this hobby or career?
Dewil: The first project was the Nightmare I mentioned. I remember I felt pretty pleased with it, but as always I knew that I can do better and that is how I felt soon after I completed the alter. I think the thing is that If you ever feel like you have made it perfect you should just stop doing what you’re doing. I always look at my work once it’s completed and every time I stop to think what I could have done differently and how about if I did it like this. That’s how you get better and better. I have to say that I had no idea that I would be altering cards for over 2 years, and it does not look like I am going to stop. I really have to thank all the people that have a card that I have altered. I really wish that those altered cards have been taking part in some good fun games and hopefully even helped to win a few.
I really feel lucky that people like what I do and I really give my best every time to deliver a good quality alter that is unique and looks good.
ECC: Whenever people create multiple works of art they have to have a favourite. Do you have a piece that you really felt turned out well? Why has it stuck with you as your favourite?
Dewil:I do have some favourites and usually they are something that really have a good flavour. I have to say that one of my favourites is the Joker I did for this [card]dark ritual[/card]. It was the first card that I put some serious hours in to and really got in to it. I painted it not long after I started altering and I am still very happy with the card. I think it’s still a good example of the quality that I can do. It is highly detailed and I really blended all the colors carefully. I also used my smallest brush on this one. I have the ritual in my cube and I think it is going to stay there for a long long time.
ECC: What is the most interesting, unique or down right wacky alter that you have ever done? Was it a commission, or something you came up with yourself?
Dewil: I have to check my site for this one. I think I have done over 600 alters so I really can’t remember them all. I just have to say that people have so much great ideas that it really is fun, interesting and surprising to alter cards and I can’t see myself getting bored with it.
I have done some wacky stuff but I will go with a one really interesting and challenging set of two cards I got commissioned for. I was asked to paint two homewards paths and the client wanted them to represent heaven and hell. Choosing the right images was up to me so I was very pleased to get complete freedom with it. They also had to be textless full alters so I had a lot of space to work with. I came up with two really good images that I liked and after I got the ok I was ready to get to painting. Now what made these two alters interesting for me is that they are really small with lots of detail.
Alters like these need the extra attention and you have to paint detail that you almost can’t see, but if it isn’t there you definitely can see it. Working on alters like these is the best, I get to do what I want and I can go nuts, challenge myself and make a really beautiful alter.
ECC: When you are working on your own unique projects, where do you derive your inspiration from? Do you have a favourite past time or cultural staple that you thrive off of and try and incorporate into your art?
Dewil: When it comes to alters I get inspired by people. I do try to keep an eye on what people like and what is popular when I do alters. I personally like to paint comic book stuff because I think the style fits so nicely in to magic cards. My own unique projects at the time are much bigger and take most of my time. Last fall I started studying visual arts North-Karelian and It has been a blast. I have noticed that I get inspired by almost anything. It could be something that I see, something I hear, something that I read about, nature, people and so on. Being able to be creative full time has really freed me to take the time and look around when I want to for ideas and inspiration. This is something I value really much these days, since it gets my creativity flowing and makes me love what I do. There is so much going on all around every day that sometimes when I see something I like I can stare at it for hours. This is how I get inspired, I want to be able to paint anything I want and that really keeps me going.
ECC: Is there a card that you have always wanted to alter but haven’t got around to it yet? Do you have a pet project that you are just looking for the right time or the right idea to get off the ground?
Dewil: Can’t say that there is a card I always wanted to alter. I do my best with every card and as long as people are happy with my alters I have managed to alter what I want. I have a pet project I started a long time ago and still haven’t got around to finishing it. The alter projects I start for myself usually end up on hold.I will eventually finish what I started but the other stuff I do is much more important than a couple of miniatures or a card to my cube.
The pet project I have going on right now is art. I have been doing small detailed work for a long time and during that time I have had some ideas for some much bigger pieces that I would like to paint on canvas. A year ago I decided that now is the right time to start working like crazy on those ideas. I should be able to get my project finished in the next two years, it will include an art exhibition in my hometown and hopefully after that I will be able to travel around with my art and keep on doing more.
Have good games folks!!
Dewil Art on Facebook
Thanks for spending some time with us at East Coast Commander Janne. Good luck with all your future projects, and if you ever get around to finishing that pet project, let us know and we will be happy to spread the word!