Magic artist Douglas Shuler talks about his favorite art pieces

Longtime Magic: The Gathering artist, Douglas Shuler, joins Magic Untapped to talk about the three pieces of artwork he's made for the collectible card game that are most important to him.

And that's just three pieces of art out of the more than 150 card illustrations he's done for Magic including iconics like Serra Angel, Triskelion, and Prodigal Sorcerer.

But, as the saying goes, you never forget your first.  And, for Shuler, that saying rings true.

"When they assigned me cards, I bought a huge piece of illustration board and I just blocked it off into 16 frames," recalls Shuler.  "And I remember sitting there just looking at these 16 frames on one board just thinking what am I gonna paint?"

So, the artist, whom is left-handed, started in the upper-right frame and simply went in order of his assigned cards.

"Demonic Tutor was the first piece I did," he says.  "And a lot of people tell me it's their favorite, so it's been downhill ever since."


Fast-forward a few years and you'll find another of Shuler's most cherished works.

Appearing on not just one card, but across two cards in total is his artwork for B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster), a 99/99 creature from Unglued that is SO BIG that it spans the width of not just one, but two cards.

"And it was requested that on each of his horns to put a Phyrexian Dreadnaught and a Polar Kraken -- they were the two biggest monsters in Magic at the time -- and we thought by just making them antler ornaments that that would set the scale of B.F.M. and show how huge he was," Shuler explains.

He also included some flocks of birds above the creature's head to further hint that the beast's scale.

"To this day, people love it when they bring that up," he says.

A third piece that stands out to the artist as especially important to himself is for a rather recent card (Nadier's Nightblade from 2023's Commander Masters) and it's important for a very personal reason: The artwork features his daughter.

"It's the first family member of mine that's appeared on a Magic card," he tells.  "She was very excited.  She came to [MagicCon] Las Vegas with me in 2023, sat behind the booth, and autographed cards, so she got to share a little bit of the journey with me."

After starting with Magic: The Gathering as one of the CCG's original artists back in 1993, Shuler took a break from creating illustrations for the game in 2005, finally returning in 2022 when he created artwork for cards in Double Masters 2022 and, the following year, Commander Masters, with more on the way.

"Hopefully it just continues on," he says.

Barry White

Barry White is a longtime Magic: The Gathering player, having started in 1994 shortly before the release of 'Fallen Empires.' After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, he went on to a 15-year journalism career as a writer, reporter, and videographer for three different ABC affiliate newsrooms.