The Magic Art of Noah Bradley

The Magic Art of Noah Bradley


Noah Bradley creates epic artwork. I mean epic in the sense of scale, of message, of emotion. We’re talking about an artist who is interested in the grandiose size of nature. And who is doing everything he can to capture, mold, and animate that essence into something visually stunning. Let’s take a closer look into the portfolio of a man who by his Senior year in college was already published in “Spectrum” the gold standard of art journals. Noah didn’t want to become an artist. As a kid he cared about programming and video games. And if following his passions didn’t result in employment, he saw himself taking up his father’s business as a carpenter—but never an artist. Yet at 18 he found himself applying to one of the country’s most prestigious art schools: The Rhode Island School of Design. and being accepted. Here, he would learn the value of work. After only a year at RISD, Noah transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University. And during the summer before his first semester, at VCU, he discovered his love for landscapes. Spending the majority of his time exploring the Virginia backwoods, Bradley painted en plein air. Amongst the buzzing mosquitoes and the blowing wind. His landscapes, as we all know, would propel him into the industry and into Magic. Noah’s first commissions came in M13. A full set of the five basic lands. Bradley has stated that he kept John Avon’s work in sight as he worked on these lands; for both inspiration and as a measurement of quality—and you can tell. These basics, like Avon’s, are minimalistic. The color palette is overwhelmingly composed of the color of mana they embody. In the next block, Return To Ravnica, Bradley received commission for 7 cards. The most notable of which being Mizzium Mortars. Sure, it’s iconic partially because it’s a great card but the artwork here is exemplary of Bradley’s style. From underneath, we see a mad Izzet mage launching a volley of fireballs into the sky. His back is turned as he leans back and gazes into the stormy sky above. We, as the viewer, do the same thing. Our perspective matches his. Our neck is bent as our eyes dart from one ball to the next, following a vertical pattern, all pointing up. Once we realize the magnitude of this attack, given by the number of mortars and the colossal size of the ones fading into the background, we feel just as small as he does. This is where Bradley excels. Man vs. Nature is a motif across his works. Bradley loves environments, especially dangerous ones. His works give man minimal importance when confronted with the world he inhabits. Behold the Beyond, Volcanic Vision, and Drown in Sorrow all exemplify this theme. The overwhelming power of nature dominates the frame and we, as both viewer and secondary subject, must abide to it. Noah manufactures this huge sense of awe in his paintings and he credits large-scale Hollywood movies, like The Lord of The Rings, as inspiration for this effect. In his calmer pieces, Bradley still pays tribute to the environment by turning light into a main character. Look at the clouds behind Moat, which is Bradley’s favorite Magic piece to-date. It is paradoxically the light that gives the tremendous castle its weight and size. In Jeskai Barricade, light plays a different role. One that haunts the frame and casts a sense of unease in the terrified character up front. So, large-scale, dangerous, and interactive environments are the linchpin of Bradley’s works. It’s only appropriate, then, that he would receive commission for five BFZ basic lands. As well as a handful of expeditions including: Steam Vents and Breeding Pool. Players covet these lands. I consider them successful pieces, partially because they work well as both full-arts and in the original card frame. In a way, they’re two paintings in one. Able to move between portrait and landscape orientation with ease. Like I said, Bradley aims for epic. He is a world traveler. He understands size and hopes always to keep pushing the boundaries of light, scale, and environment. Regardless, he still has a sense of humor. And his childhood love for video games and pop culture occasionally finds its way into his works. Remember Giant Growth from RTR? Hiding in the top-right corner… and, of course, in Desert Twister if you look just deep enough we find… [crunch sound] Bradley is outspoken and active online. I encourage you all to reach out and congratulate him on his achievements. For now, I leave you with a few more pieces that are hallmarks of his style and approach. Enjoy! And, thanks for watching. If you made it to the end of this video, that means you probably liked it. If so, show your support by donating a dollar to the Patreon page! Just a dollar goes a long way as it helps me continue to make art videos into the future. And if you have a favorite Noah Bradley card, tell me in the comments below. Thanks, guys! Cheers!

Dereck Turner

9 thoughts on “The Magic Art of Noah Bradley

  1. Adderall says:

    grandoise is pronounced grand-waahz

  2. ryan ng says:

    A MTG art need to do sketches then final drawing I draw also detail I'm not under commission no need to do like them

  3. ryan ng says:

    Compare yourself to MTG artist no need.

  4. ryan ng says:

    I also can do MTG realism fantasy art but no need.

  5. Shankar Dhillon says:

    Karn's Temporal Sundering is my favorite Noah Bradley card

  6. Toyin Ajetunmobi says:

    This was beautifully presented!

  7. Christian Smith says:

    Gosh, as a VCU Arts student it's always awesome seeing our alumni doing such amazing work. Hope my art takes me here as well. Also, your vids are the best to listen to so I can get hyped for an illustration.

  8. Bo Tao says:

    Just FYI, RISD is pronounced "riz-dee." 🙂

  9. Magical Sealand says:

    The level of editing here is on par with emperor lemon

  10. Captain Phasma II says:

    I dont play MTG but I really like this videos since I just want to learn how to make my drawings more dramatic and have a huge impact on the viewer since we dont study this in school.

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