Secrets of Card Art Design with Lorenzo Mastroianni


Welcome everyone! Today, we’re going to visit the artist’s desk and take a close look at how the art for one of the cards, “Glynnis aep Loernach”, was created. Our guide to show us the process behind it is none other than the artist himself – Lorenzo Mastroianni.

Can you tell us the story behind how this piece was made?

I remember that this illustration was done in a rush right before going on holiday. I knew that I didn't have as much time as I usually do for a card, so I decided to offer the team two sketches instead of the usual three – one of them being a rework of a card that was never released.

Which card are you referring to and what made you revisit it?

The card in question was an illustration of Queen Calanthe. I really liked the idea of the dead horse at the feet of the queen as a symbolic reminder of how war isn't about heroism and glory, but rather casualties and destruction. What I didn't like was the warm atmosphere, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to further improve on an illustration that was never going to be used anyway.

Which sketch did you like the most?

To be completely honest, I was hoping that the second sketch would get chosen because I would only have to change the flag color, her armour and her face and I would be done with it!

But as you can guess, my team picked the other sketch and my laziness wasn’t rewarded in the end. Oh well – you can’t argue with democracy. Either way, both of the sketches still featured what I love to draw the most: a strong, armor-clad woman surrounded by flags.

What was the idea behind the character’s pose?

There is a running joke in the illustration team that I always favor sketches that feature a profile portrait. I fully admit this is a gimmick of mine that I never get bored of! The gaze of the character points to something far outside the frame, which makes you wonder what’s going on beyond the illustration. In general, it gives the character a rather melancholic look, which is definitely my kind of jam!

Can you tell us a bit about the character’s outfit?

I drew inspiration from a design sheet with gorgeous armor concepts done by Valeriy Vegera, so I simply used them as references for the forms and colors.

The idea behind these knights was simple: they are an elite unit of the Nilfgaardian army, predatorial in their speed and ruthlessness, and so their heraldry and overall triangular design is influenced by the sharp features of the peregrine falcon.

What did you find challenging about this illustration?

Hands are tricky and photo references always help. Funnily enough, I used my own hands as a reference. The photos that I take always have the same characteristics: I’m holding an item that is always absolutely unrelated to the picture and the look on my face is... very focused, to say the least, since I want to have interesting light and perfect readability of the fingers.

You mentioned that you had very little time to finish the illustration. How did you cope with that?

When you’re low on time as an illustrator, your best friend is the fog: it hides most details and gives a deliciously grim, epic feeling to any scene. I absolutely abused it in this illustration and made the background as simple as possible.

In the end I managed to finish it on time, but in the process this piece taught me one thing: it’s okay to not always set up new challenges for yourself. Sometimes it’s better to just do what you feel comfortable with, but at least get it done.

Is there anything you’d like to tell the community?

I would just like to say that the Gwent community’s enthusiasm toward our art makes us feel really proud of our work. Your continued support and appreciation matter a lot, so on behalf of the illustration team – thank you!
Very interesting interview, albeit it could feature more questions to Lorenzo. The Gwent art is one of the main reasons I stick to this game, and I like that the team realizes how valued their work is by the player community.

One card that always impressed me by its art is Herkja Drummond: I adore the stormy skies of this picture, heavy with rain yet to fall. She is already ashore, heralding the arrival of the viking fleet, every bit as unrelenting as will be the shower of water and axes. I don't particularly enjoy playing Skellige, but the aspects depicted in this card are simply terrifying. Well done.
I'm glad the second sketch didn't get chosen, because poor horsie. :sad:

The art is definitely one of my favourite aspects of the game, and without a doubt something that truly sets it apart from other CCGs. The sheer amount of detail that the illustrations have is stunning, just like the overall quality of the art.

It's always interesting to see arts like this one without the gameplay-related extra stuff that the cards have, because it allows one to really focus on just the art itself in its entirety.
Commendations to Lorenzo and the team! I always enjoy learning more about the creative process behind the cards.

(Personally, I prefer the second sketch, as it appears stronger, and more focused to me. Sorry, horse!)
I and a couple of the Guards were looking it over again. . .

. . . and, my word, there are rather a lot of falcons in this picture!
Nice article and interview.

Gwent art os gorgeous!

Would it be possible to dive into the card animation side. It is just as amazing as the art itself. I would to see a bit more of that process.

I really like Queen Calanthe card, why this card is never going to be used?
I love the direction of it as well. I wish it will used in the future.

Also, there should be an album perhaps of unused art (that will mot be used in the future) or more tests, scraps and pieces in an album somewhere.
Do your artists share their work and experimentations on ArtStation or somewhere else perhaps? :)
Hello team, I have some questions. I am a big fan of Gwent game and I would like to learn how to make the Primmum card movement and how to created this illstrution and action .
what are the programs used I would like to learn
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