From Death Metal to Magic: A look at MTG's Dan Seagrave


Nearly all of Magic: The Gathering's artists have a background in fantasy, sci-fi, or similar fields.  This one's is metal.

Many, before Magic, did Dungeons & Dragons art, video game art, art for book covers - the list goes on but usually in the same circles.

Every so often though there is an outlier who someone at Magic likes and comes on board for a card or two. Some have been famed public artists. Others, well, have had other jobs at Magic developer and publisher, Wizards of the Coast.

And then you have a guy who has done a lot of death metal album art.

Since the early 1990s, one of the most prolific death metal album artists out there has been British-born artist Daniel Seagrave.

He's done dozens of artists in the past several decades. Depending on if you're a death metal fan or not, the list of whom he has done work for reads either like a who's who list of death metal artists or what looks like a list of made up band names from an episode of Documentary Now: Becoming the Archetype, Conspiracy, Decrepit Birth, Demon Hunter, The Devil Wears Prada, Dismember, Landmine Marathon, Lawnmower Deth, Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Teddy Bear Suicide, Warbringer, etc.

We only made one of those band names up. We challenge you to find which one. Winner gets an Internet point.

Anyway, Seagrave had been making art for 18 years when Wizards of the Coast finally got ahold of him.

Album inspired art soon became Magic: The Gathering art for a pair of cards -- one each in Eventide and Shards of Alara: Syphon Life and Covenant of Minds to be exact.

While not exactly something out of an episode of Stranger Things, like all Magic art, still pretty awesome. It's that mix of fantasy, realism, with just a touch of surrealism. 

Unlike many professional artists, he was self taught, leading to the homemade and specific look that makes Magic cards all that more special. And every once in a while you need to think outside of the box and get those new types of images out there.

Seagrave was just the latest to have one of those more different backgrounds to do art that worked out quite well, and of course, he wouldn't really be the last to do so either.

Just like it takes all types to play the game, it also takes all types to make the art for it. And sometimes that recipe calls for a little death metal in there.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.