Dungeons & Dragons And Magic: The Gatheringin addition to being two of the most popular games in the world, they have another element in common: they are both published by Wizards of the Coast. This is not a novelty, after all these two titans of the playful world are known outside the playful world, also thanks to customs phenomena such as Stranger Things And Critical Roleresponsible for having contributed to the greater diffusion of the game.
When we talk about D&D and Magic, however, we do not immediately think of Italy (although both are localized for the national market), but we automatically think that these are mainly American publications. It is partly true, especially from an authorial and editorial point of view, the core of the project remains firmly anchored in the United States, however it is possible to find a piece of Italy also within these products thanks to the incredible work of talented artists.
We wanted to make this article for to celebrate the Italian artistic excellence who have contributed to creating small and large masterpieces imprinted on the pages and cards of these games.
Dungeons & Dragons
The fantasy of Dungeons & Dragons lends itself naturally when it comes to giving vent to artistic creativity, with a respectable arsenal made up of fantastic and non-fantastic creatures, enchanted places and atmospheres ranging from classic fantasy to Greyhawk to worlds with more modern influences such as Eberron or scary like Ravenloft and its Domains of Terror.
Although the presence of Italian artists in Dungeons & Dragons is a relatively recent fact, the mastery of the artists involved does not go unnoticed at all.
To bring to life some of the illustrations in the most recent manuals we find Katerina Ladon, Francesca Baerald And Marco Bernardini.
Katerina Ladon, which we will also find in the section dedicated to Magicis a freelance artist and concept artist whose collaboration with Wizards began in 2020 with the manual Candlekeep Mysteries. Later he makes some illustrations for Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft (available for online purchase), The Wild Beyond the Witchlight (available for online purchase) e Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons (available for online purchase).
In addition to the collaboration with Wizards of the Coast Ladon has also collaborated with Paizo and MS Edizioni.
Francesca Baerald is a freelance artist and cartographer whose work has appeared in manuals Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft And Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos (available for online purchase). His artistic production also includes illustration and painting and in addition to the collaboration with Wizards of the Coast Baerald he has also worked for Blizzard and Games Workshop.
Marco Bernardini is a fantasy cartographer, who before joining Wizards of the Coast worked for Keith Baker (creator of the world of Eberron), Paizo and Beadle & Grimm. Its debut under the aegis of Dungeons & Dragons will coincide with the publication of Spelljammer: Adventures in Spacewhich will contain a very detailed map in poster format of the Rock of Bral, the main quest hub of the campaign.
Magic: The Gathering
Starting in 1993 Magic: The Gathering it was a real international showcase for hundreds of artists from all over the world, including Italy. After all Magic is a game in which the visual component has always been a part basic, as each single card is accompanied by one or more versions of the same illustration. Whether it is evocations, artifacts, lands or other the art of Magic adapts to bring to life a very recognizable imaginary, defined by almost 30 years of game.
Bringing the colors of Italy high we find Katerina Ladon, Lorenzo Lanfranconi, Luca Zontini, Massimilano Frezzato, Mirko Failoni and Paolo Parente.
As anticipated in the D&D section, we find again Ladon also as an illustrator of Magic. Her collaboration for this card game is very recent, with her being present in the expansion Streets of Nuova Capenna.
For this set, Ladon made the cards Welcome Committee to the Gala And Kros, Defense Consultant.
Lorenzo Lanfranconi is a Concept Artist and Background Artist who arrives in Wizards of the Coast following several personal and professional projects with, among others, Tatai Lab, Epic Games, and Riot Games. The collaboration with Magic takes place starting from 2020with expansion Rebirth of Zendikar.
For Magic Lanfranconi made the cards Geopod of the Celestial Enclave (Rebirth of Zendikar) e Unexplored Oasis (Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty).
Luca Zontini is a freelance illustrator whose work has been published by Wyrd Edizioni, Upper Deck, Lucca Comics and Games, Salani Editore, Blizzard Entertainment and Sergio Bonelli Editore. The collaboration with Wizards of the Coast takes place starting from 1999 until 2007 and during these years he made many illustrations for the card game, including Bottled Cloister (Ravnica: City of Guilds), Dragon’s Perch (Assault), Anti-intruder alarm (Eighth Edition) e Spellweave Spiral (Mirrodin).
Massimilano Frezzato is a cartoonist best known for The Keepers of the Maser. In addition to this saga, Frezzato has made many other productions, including his version of Pinocchio and a story of Wolverine for Marvel.
For Magic Frezzato he created between 1999 and 2001 cards Pinnacle of Despair (Seventh Edition), Pilgrim of Virtue (Odyssey), Undermine (Invasion) e Perverse appetite (Eighth Edition).
Mirko Failoni is a freelance illustrator and concept artist, known in the world of role-playing games for creating Historia, an illustrated volume in which he imagined a dark renaissance populated by anthropomorphic animals. The book was then adapted in the homonymous setting for the Fifth Edition of D&D by Mana Project Studio.
For Magic Failoni he made the cards Kami of Transmutation (Alchemy: Kamigawa), Undercity plunderer (Alchemy: Kamigawa) e Arms of Adar (Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate).
Paolo Parente was among the first Italian artists to establish himself in the world of fantasy illustration. Starting from 90’s his illustrations appear in several role play manuals, thanks to his collaboration with Stratelibrifirst Italian publisher of Magic.
The collaboration with Magic takes place starting from 1997 until 2006during these years he created many illustrations for the card game, including Pulse of the Forge (Darksteel), Golem of Mycosinths (Fifth Dawn), Lightning Leyline (Pact of Guilds) e Elven Champion (Seventh Edition).