There are many myths about card altering and often people have questions before they commit to adding uniquely altered cards to their collection. Below I hope you will find the answers you desire. However, if you don't then please feel free to contact me and I shall do my best to fill you in.
What is Card Altering?
Altering a card can take several forms, however all of mine are carefully hand painted with acrylic paint and various mediums which are chosen to blend with the print on the card as exactly as possible. They are painted in many thin layers to cover up some or all of the card, or change its appearance in a unique fashion.
What kinds of Alters will you do?
There are several kinds of alter that I am willing to undertake. 'Pop out' extensions are alter which in some way extend the original artwork outside of the art box on the card. A 'Border extension' on the other hand is where the artwork has been extended all around the art box in a uniform manner. There are two further types of alters, one is an 'extended art' alter, where the artwork has been carried down over the text box of the card, and finally a 'new art' alter where the artwork has been completely replaced. The final kind of alter that I am willing to undertake is changing the colour of the border, usually from white or silver (or yellow or brown yeuch!) to black. Many alters blur the line between these, so it is important that if you are commissioning me that we discuss what you are interested in me doing for you fully before we go ahead.
How much do you charge for an Alter?
I'm only interested in how long an alter will take me to do, if it's quicker I will (and have) charged less and if I think it would take longer I'll ask for more before you agree to the alter. I work full time, so if you want the alter completed in a very short timeframe I may ask for a premium. Whatever, we'll agree a price before I begin work and that won't go up, only down if the job is unexpectedly quick.
All of the following are guide prices-
What materials do you use?
Simple answer: water based acrylic, paint brushes , fine fiber tipped pens and sometimes an airbrush. More specifically, Daler and Rowney paints among others, Rosemary and Co. mink sable brushes (they are really awesome, do check them out), Kuretake fine fiber tipped pens, my favourite is the black 005 size. Beyond this I use toothpicks, cotton buds (cue tips to you Americans), surgical scalpels, dentist tools and even floor polish and engine coolant (which make great mediums in which to mix the paint, but taste bad!).
How can I learn to alter?
Have a look at some of the tutorials online (why not try mine on MTGUK?) and speak to other alterists for advice. Alternatively have me teach you, I charge £30 per hour, less if you block book me for 6 or more hours.
I am available for one-to-one or group tuition, delivered either online over Skype or face-to-face. Contact me with your requirements (preferably where, when and the number of hours for which I will be required) and I will issue a quote. I am a qualified teacher with an outstanding track record of success that I would be pleased to discuss with you if you should wish to know more.
Will you attend the event I am running?
It would be my pleasure. You will cover my modest expenses (travel, accommodation) And I will come with a full display stand, ready to paint from sunrise to sundown; I have stamina! I will be happy to run group or individual tutorials or demonstrations as well if required, just let me know what you want.
Are alters tournament legal?
The following is an extract from the DCI rules for using alters in officially sanctioned tournament play under section 3.3 (authorised cards):
Artistic modifications are acceptable, provided that the modifications do not make the card unrecognizable or contain substantial strategic advice. The Head Judge is the final authority on acceptable cards for a tournament.
I think that is pretty clear. You are welcome to use alters in tournament play, and I have done so many a time. It shouldn't help you win (i.e. you shouldn't have 'watch out for discard spells on the turn you play me' written on a Stoneforge Mystic) and it shouldn't obscure the title of the card or the mana cost etc. more recently there has been a ruling that the artwork should be recognisable as well. The bottom line is always check with the head judge. I have not yet had one of my alters questioned or rejected by any judge at any event. Beyond this there is a need for the card not to be thicker than others in the deck. I have spent a significant amount of time getting very good at keeping my paintwork flat to the card and no one has ever been able to cut to one of my cards in a sleeved deck. Some alterists also get paint on the back of the card, but I'm better than that now, you can be sure that the back of your card will be returned to you in the same condition that it reached me with.
How do you take payment?
I take payment in cash or trade, and I'm ok with most forms of payment, including transfer, PayPal, cheque, cash or mtg cards at Magiccardmarket prices. For magic card work I take payment up front for my time and I will happily work with you to make edits to my work so that you are fully satisfied. For illustration work I take payment on completion. Contact me through this website and we'll get it organised.
Would you paint naked anime babes on full art Zendikar lands for me?
Would you paint semi-clothed anime babes on...
No. Where do they make you?
How about if I paid you lots of money to paint naked anime babes?
No! Go away! This is not something I will ever do.
How much guidance do I need to give you if I want to commission you?
As much or as little as you like. I am happy to take quite specific instruction, and I'll tell you if I'm not happy that I will be able to reproduce it as you wish. You can send pictures or drawings or just describe it I don't mind. Likewise if you are happy for me to just do my thing then you only have to say so; I've had people send me power before with a note that just says 'Go nuts'! Which is awesome by the way.