Magic artist Kaja Foglio talks about her favorite MTG art pieces

Artist Kaja Foglio created artwork for Magic: The Gathering from 1993's Arabian Nights until 2004 with the Arena promo of the Unhinged card Granny's Payback .

When she began making artwork for the collectible card game, she was just out of school when she was approached by then-art director Jesper Myfors.

"I said: Jesper, have you seen my work?" she recalls.  "And he was: Oh, yeah, I've seen it at convention art shows.  You're wonderful.  Come and work on our game.  And I said alright, as long as you've seen it."

Foglio admits she didn't have a lot of confidence in her ability at that time.  But, still, she began making artwork for the game.  And that includes artwork for a card that only is her absolute favorite piece she's done for the game still today, but also one that Myfors was excited to receive. 

"My favorite, definitely, is Spirit Link.  That was a Legends card," she says.  "I heard from people who worked at the company that Jesper was running around when I turned that in going: Look at this!  Kaja painted this!"

Fogio's artwork for Spirit Link was so well received by Wizards of the Coast that it was not only featured as the box art for the 1997 MicroProse Magic: The Gathering computer game, it was also brought to life, so to phrase, by the way of a life-sized statue that not only was a decoration at the Wizard of the Coast retail stores that used to dot the U.S., but also as a smaller, desk-sized version that people could purchase.

"When the Wizards of the Coast stores closed -- we found out this was happening, and we actually managed to get them to sell [the statue] (and they did sell it to us, they didn't give me a sculpture), but I have this lovely full-sized statue and she stands in my attic workshop area," tells Foglio.


Another card that stands out to the artist predates Spirit Link.

It's the card Bird Maiden from Arabian Nights.  Alphabetically, it is her first published work for Magic: The Gathering.

It was so liked by WotC that one of the company employees actually dressed up as the character seen in the artwork.  In a way, she might have been one of the game's first cosplayers in a time when cosplay wasn't exactly a thing.

"[The employee] has just such joy in her face," says Foglio.  "She matches the card beautifully."

Other card arts of note that stand out to the artist include North Star, another card from Legends, as well as her work on the Alliances card Kjeldoran Pride.

"I got to draw a bear," she says about the latter.  "I like bears and I like to draw them."

Outside of Magic, Kaja and her husband (and fellow Magic artist), Phil, currently do the popular web comic Girl Genius, which is also a role-playing game published by Steve Jackson Games as well as a PC game that can be found on Steam.

And, for those whom would like to meet them, the pair will also be attending CommandFest San Francisco April 19-21 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.

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.