INTERVIEW TO PETE VENTERS - [Lea la versión en español]
by Noisygoblins

We have with us Pete Venters, who is ready to talk with MTGSpain people about Magic and about things we want to ask him. In rare occasion spanish Magic players community have the opportunity to talk with somebody as important at international level into Magic wolrd, so we are going to make good use of that.

Pete, a british who lives in the USA, is the Magic the Gathering Illustrator who more cards has draw in all these years, making than goblins have this look so characteristic that all of us know. If we had to think about goblins we will think in venters´ goblins. But theres not only goblins in Pete´s life. Let go to know more things about this famous artist.

Hi Pete, and thank you for make this interview possible. It´s a pleasure and an honour for MTGSpain to have one guest so famous as you. Thanks in the name of all our community to gave us the possibility to talk with you about Magic.

Our readers have some questions to ask you. They have been very excited from the time they knew you will be here, and they have compliled a mountain of questions. Here we go...

Noisygoblins: When did you start illustrating Magic cards?
Pete Venters: It was late October 1993. I was assigned cards from Antiquities, Legends and The Dark all at the same time as they were all being developed.

NG: Which is your favorite card drawn by you?
PV: Probably 'Drawn Together' because its a rare opportunity to do a retrospective of my work with Magic.

NG: And drawn by another?
PV: I try not to pick favorites among the work of my colleagues but I have to admit that pretty much everything Aleksi Briclot does totally blows me away.

NG: What do you think about the evolution of Magic art in the last decade?
PV: Well, the individual quality of pieces has improved considerably, but the sets have tended to be dominated by a much narrower stylistic mix creating a more homogenized look. The individual art is beautiful but the set en masse can be boring to the eye. I miss having some of the older artists' distinct styles like Drew Tucker´s watercolors, Harold McNeill´s swirling compositions or Quinton Hoover´s linework. 10th edition suggests that Jeremy Jarvis might be addressing this problem and I guess Lorwyn will be the first big test.

NG: Which is the illustration that you are most proud of?
PV: Ah, there's too many to choose from. I'm really pleased with the lighting in Skirk Marauder, especially that hot light on the blades, but you can still tell they're metal. I like Raksha Golden Cub because its such a vibrant dynamic piece , and Tanglewalker because it was my idea from beginning to end (as this was an experiment where we got to make up our own art for Mirrodin free of art descriptions). And Crovax, Ascendant Hero was such fun because I got to hide so many story clues to the backstory of this alternate universe Crovax. I also have a nice elf piece coming up in Lorwyn.

NG: And the illustration that you dislike?
PV: There's a lot. All too often an idea just doesn't crystallize into something worthwhile. Time Spiral's Orcish Cannonade might be my most loathed piece currently. I painted it with acrylics, ahnded it in, decided I didn't like it and that I"d try to fix it digitally, and in the end made something that was only a little better and certainly not a big enough improvement for the amount of time I put into the piece.

NG: How did you start to work in WoTC?
PV: I met the original art director, Jesper Myfors, at a comic convention in Philadelphia (it was my first time in the U.S.) and I got assigned my first pieces only a few weeks later.

NG: Which was yor first proffessional (payed I mean) illustration work?
PV: I did a few ink & coloring jobs for 2000AD, the first was a back page poster of Johnny Alpha (Strontium Dog) and the second was a Judge Dredd strip. Both were pencilled by Mike Collins. I later got to do a couple of Dredd strips all to myself. Actually, I also inked a few Transformers comics strips fo Marvel UK, and they may have come first. Pencils by Pete Knifton, really bad inks by me.

NG: Any advice to somebody who is starting this profession now?
PV: Illustrators need to have thick skins - that is, they can't be easily discouraged because you'll likely suffer a number of rejections before you nab a commission. Also, I think taking some kind of business studies might be good if you're planning to go freelance; I think we all make a lot of idiotic maistakes when we're geting started. Also, try never to do any work 'on spec' (that's for free i the hope of getting paid work). On spec is a way for publishers to get art for free. You're no more likely to ever get a paid commisiosn from someone who offers such a deal but you have ensured that they haven't needed to pay for that image they needed. Companies that use on spec should be avoided. You work hard fto produce your artwork, and you desrve to be paid.

NG: Why you choose this job?
PV: I started drawing at the age of 3. I drew comics all the time from age 5 through my 20's. I don't actually think I'm qualified for much else!

NG: There is another Magic illustrater who you admire? Why?
PV: There are plenty but Aleksi Briclot has consistently staggered me with his imagination and talent.

NG: If you had to be identifided by one of your cards, which it will be? Why?
PV: I don't think I have a choice in this; I'm almost always associated with the Baron Sengir image. Some people say it looks like me but I don't see it.

NG: Which card not done by you would you have liked to illustrate?.
PV: Again, far too many pieces that I just wish I could have done. Festering Goblin just screamed my name since I love black cards & goblins. I think my biggest dissapointment was not getting to paint the Tahngarth card. I'd turned down doing Squee, Goblin Nabob because I had a deal with the art director that I'd get Tahngarth and I didn't want to be greedy, then art directors changed and I didn't get my shot. Tahngarth was my favorite character in the Weatherlight saga so I was really bummed out not to get the assignment.

NG: If you had to design a Magic card (not the illustration, the whole card I mean) , what would it be like?
PV: Well, I actually did design a few cards way back when. Merchant Scroll is mine, for instance. I'd probably design a dragon because they're always fun, though I once conceived of a Blue Vampire which instead of draining blood, it drained thoughts.

NG: Which world do you like more: Dominaria, Pyhrexia, Krosa, etc...
PV: Dominaria, no question. I love Phyrexia because it's such a wild environment but I spent a lot of time dveloping Dominaria and I'm still very proud of the globe I made and the interractions of the cultures upon it.

NG: You are the more profilic illustrator in whole Magic History. How many different cards have you draw?
PV: Over 250. If you include Vanguard, tokens, and the pieces I've finished but are not yet in print it's probably closer to 270. Kev Walker will overtake me within two years though.

NG: Wich technique do you use to illustate your cards?
PV: I used to paint in acrylics with some watercolor work in the backgrounds. Howver, since Planar Chaos everything has been done digitally because my eyestrain required me to change my methods.

NG: How much time do you spend drawing at day?
PV: Not enough. The internet is a terrible distraction.

NG: How much time do you spend drawing to finish a card?
PV: Too long. I've never tracked it in hours but it seems to take a week for me to paint a card these days and that's a little too slow.

NG: How is the process of creation of a card from WoTC first idea untill the card was printed?
PV: I've no idea. You'd have to ask R&D. By the time I get an art description, the card has been through a lot of design and is into it's development cycle. After I deliver the final piece, they're still finalizing card powers, flavortext and even the card title.

NG: Are you self-instructed or have you studied art in College?
PV: 99% self-instructed. I spent one year at college and all that taught me was the importance of preparatory sketches. The only other benefit to college was there was a lot of really hot girls.

NG: It is possible to buy your originals, prints of your card or Artist Proofs? How?
PV: My contact info is peteventers (at) gmail (dot) com. Sorry, I have to phrase it like that but it helps cut down on spam. Contact me there and I'll send you a list of prints and artist proofs. Original Magic pieces usually cost $800 or more.

NG: If you dont was chosse fantasy and fiction to draw, where you have been developed your work?
PV: I don't know. I'm a storyteller at heart and I'm drawn to the fantastical. I'd be a complete different person without fantasy and science fiction.

NG: All of us know about your work in Magic The Gathering, but you also work illustating comics, role-games and other CCGs. Tell us about them.
PV: I've done some Judge Dredd stuff (almost 15 years old now). I've done cover work for the Deadlands RPG (around 2001) and some interior work for the TORG RPG (also about 15 years ago). I've done a bunch of CCGs but the bulk of my non-Magic work can be seen in Vampire:The Eternal Strruggle and Doomtown. I'd like to do more Judge Dredd comics, and I have plans for a comic of my own but that's a long way off. I have to get my website done before I start any new projects.

Visit link

NG: Do you use real people as models to inspire you in your illustrations?
PV: Almost never. I will look at photos for help with anatomy but I don't photograph people in poses. I know plenty of artists who do, but it's just not my thing.

NG: Do you know any spanish illustrator?
PV: Contemporary or Classical? I really don't know many artists in Europe anymore, well, not personally. As for classical, I have a dreadful memory for art hisory and couldn't tell you if any of my favorite old masters are Spanish or not.

NG: Do you have any pictoric influence in your art?
PV: I read comics from age 4 and I think Curt Swan's Superman and a variety of artists from 2000Ad had the biggest influence on me.

NG: Do you have disciples (or slaves) to help you in your work in exchage for your arcane secrets?
PV: We like to call them minions, and my wife hoardes them all. Seriously, I don't have any apprentices. I have to feel a lot more confident about my work before I thought I could actually teach anyone.

NG: Do you play Magic?
PV: I played from Beta to Fallen Empires and then quit and just stuck to collecting. I tried to get back into the game around 5th edition but I found the rulebook so badly written that I gave up. Nowadays, I don't play any CCGs because I was a lousy deckbuilder and I'd spend days building a deck to see it demolished in minutes.

NG: Do you collect some kind of card (or another things, as coins, baseball cards...)?
PV: No, I don't really collect anything. I do have a colection of Magic complete sets but I haven't kept up so my collection is four years out of date. I buy some comics but I'm not a collector.

NG: Have you worked in any thing more than professional artist?
PV: The only non-art related job I've held was as one of the members of Magic Continuity. I was responsible for stories, art descriptions, card titles & flavortext from Alliances to Urza's Saga.

NG: Have you been in Spain?. Some plans to come here (GP, PT, holidays)?
PV: Y'know, I've never been. I'd like to visit one day thought it'd have to be something other than Summer as I don't handle heat very well.

NG: Do you work only as illlustator profesional or do you have another job?
PV: I only work as an illustrator. It is, however, a tough life because it's hard to pay the bills just doing art. You walk a tightrope of doing just enough and only just paying the bills, or making yourself ill by working long hours constantly throughout the year to make any real money. I wish artists were paid what they deserve.

NG: In wich enviroment do you work better? (with music, in silence, in open spaces, in garage, alone, with people around...)
PV: I've thought about trying a shared artist space because I know that my mind wanders when I'm alone. Thing is, I'm just too easily distracted. I work eaither with or without music. Mostly, I enjoy having music on, but there are just some days when you don't want to listen to anything.

NG: What do you like to do in yor free time? Any hobbies?
PV: I still play RPGs occasionally - sometimes D&D, and recently Unhallowed Metropolis (it's new, check it out). I mostly play Halo and am eagerly looking forward to Halo 3. But these are occasional things because I don't have a lot of free time.

NG: If you had not been a professional illustator, what job would you choose?
PV: When I was 10, I wanted to be an astronaut. If I'd been a musician, I would probably have been a drummer as I love percussion. These days, I'd like to be an explorer. Preferably a rich one, visiting far off places in his big expensive yaught!

NG: Do you draw in napkins and pieces of paper when you get a good idea?
PV: Yes, yes I do. I've forgotten far too many good ideas because I didn't have anything to write on. Also, if I'm ever in a restaurant with the paper tablecloths and crayons, I invariably fill up the cloth with goblins and monsters and stern-looking heroes. There's an excuse for you all to take me out to dinner! ; )

NG: In 3 words, try to define your work.
PV: Here be stories.

Thank you very much Pete, for anwering all this things. We are waiting anxious to see your new work for Lorwyn (any news in exclusive for MTGSpain?), and expecting to see you in person some time here in Spain.

We want to thank you also for your work. All who like Magic, love your work. This fourteen years of Magic have will be very different without a venrtes in every set. We expect to see you in every single set from now to a lot of years... (And will forgot the three-times-cursed set (Future Sight), hoping your absence will not repeat never again.

Long life to the King of the Goblins!!!

by Noisygoblins, aka Gregtork
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