In the mid 1990's, Randy "rk" Post was a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and had just been hired by TSR, the then-owners of Dungeons & Dragons. After about of year of illustrating D&D and Alternity projects, TSR was bought out by none other than Wizards of the Coast in 1997. Ever since then, Post has been making both directly for WotC and as a freelancer for them, as well as making art for places ranging from Magic: The Gathering to Nintendo to Marvel.
Magic Untapped had a chat with Post over his Magic career and delved into the art of the kid from Illinois.
Magic Untapped: What inspirations and influences in your life drove you to becoming a professional artist?
RK Post: I really didn't know it was completely possible or how to even make it work, I just fell into the right place at the right time.
MU: How did you get into doing artwork for Magic: The Gathering ? Did you reach out to Wizards of the Coast or did they reach out to you?
RP: Heh, silly story. I was a staff artist for TSR and they bought the company. Not long after I reached out and asked about doing Magic art.
MU: Your artwork has a very specific style and visual appeal. How would you characterize it and how did it develop into what it is today?
RP: A little dark and organic? I guess? When you develop your art style, you always have things that you prefer to draw ... I always kinda pulled in this direction.
MU: How long do you typically spend on a piece?
RP: It can be a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Depends on the piece and a whole mess of random external factors.
MU: You’ve done the artwork on many Magic cards so far. Which of your cards have been your favorites and what is it about them that makes them stand out?
RP: Unmask is my personal favorite. I also like the avatar cycle and a good chunk of my angels, simplifying it a bit. Unmask came out how I initially pictured it in head, doesn't always happen that way. ;)
MU: Aside from Magic card illustrations, you have developed quite the reputation for your line of fun and creative token cards such as a kitty cat Darth Vader, a Sailor Moon soldier token, and a Richard Nixon goblin token. Where did the inspiration come from to do these tokens and how have they been received by players since?
RP: In total there's around 900 different tokens. A large portion starts out as private commissions re-purposed into a token. Another portion of them are born out of a need and no other art that will work. The percentage that I bring to events are generally pretty well received ... by token type and the art on them. There's a lot of esoteric ones that don't translate as well and the only way to get them is on the site.
MU: Illustrating Magic cards is only one small part of what you do overall as an artist. What are some of the non-Magic projects you’re most proud of and what do you have on the horizon whether that be illustrating new Magic cards or something else?
RP: It's been a while, to be honest. I worked several full time jobs over the years and I worked in lots of random things that I no longer think about. For the past six to six and a half years I really haven't freelanced, focusing on all this other monkey business.
MU: Have you ever tried a more "out of the box" approach to a card where you try a new perspective or style?
RP: There's a few. Thought Vessel for instance. Not a typical subject or approach for me.
MU: Has there ever been any unusual art requests you have been given for a card, or a card where there was little description on what was wanted?
RP: There's been unusual requests, like Mind Funeral, where it's less literal and more allegorical. Some cards have also had no description, just a creature that fits within the look and feel of the set.
MU: You seem to be a rather constant figure at large gaming events such as the various MagicFests that occur throughout the year. As an artist, what is that experience like for you?
RP: Well, pretty good until recently. But that is largely out of our control. Hopefully things get under control and we can all get out there again.
MU: What kinds of things are more tricky for you to create (landscapes, people creatures, etc.)?
RP: Landscapes require some thought for me, for sure. Also mechanical things.
Thank you to rk Post for participating in this interview.
Magic Untapped's previous Magic: The Gathering artist interviews: