The Lost Realm is finally on the boat and soon enough will be in our homes and on our tables. While trying to decide what artist to cover next, I came across a card that has been gaining a bit of attention given the Dunedain cards we are expected to see. The card in particular is the Son of Arnor, a leadership ally from the Core Set.
During the days of the War of the Ring, and the days before that, the Dunedain were rangers of the north residing in the realm of Arnor. There they stayed ever vigilant, protecting the realm from various ancient evils, even if the people they protected were unawares. This is well represented not only in the Son of Arnor’s card ability but in the card art as well. Here we see a Dunedain, wandering the wilds, living out his duty. Amidst the fog his head hangs low, weary from his journey and yet he presses on, ready at a moment’s notice to keep the enemies of the free peoples at bay. Ryan Barger does an excellent job of expressing so much with so little. The lighting is subtle. The fog is subtle. Even the colors are muted. And yet this illustration says a lot if you take a moment to look.
Mr. Barger isn’t all about subtlety however, and his illustration in the Core Set staple A Test of Will is an example. Though the art in the card isn’t exactly flashy, the sunset that shines behind the foreground is a harsh red that forewarns the evil the figure in the piece is seeing before him. The frame is at a slant, similar to what filmmakers call a dutch angle, and it often represents a lack of balance.
Moving into something a little darker, The Power of Mordor from the Heirs of Numenor shows Ryan Barger’s sinister side. Here we see The Black Gates of Mordor, mostly covered in shadow and leaving much to the imagination (which is always a useful tool). What we can see are the sharp and jagged lines that make up for the Gates’ overall aesthetic. Towards the back of the Gates we can see a strong red glow along the walls coming from the little bit of Mount Doom we can see in the back. Through the gates are several tiny figures, a foreboding image that hints at the malice coming out of the Black Lands. It’s a very dark card and rightfully so.
Mr. Barger hasn’t done too much for the LOTR: LCG since the Heirs of Numenor and The Black Riders but I hope we get to see some more from him in this game soon. Thankfully, like many talented artists, he is keeping himself quite busy with various other card games, mainly Magic: The Gathering. Looking at some of his contributions to M:TG I would really like to hope we see Ryan Barger return to LOTR: LCG. His Magic Card illustrations and their use of color and lighting remind me quite a bit of the very popular work of Magali Villeneuve.
Ryan Barger is thankfully very active on the internet. His art page which can be found here has examples of his various contributions to tabletop games as well as a place to order prints (sadly no LOTR prints). He also has a facebook page but it hasn’t been updated for a couple of months.
Mr. Barger is a very talented artist, as are all who provide these illustrations to all the collectible card games we love to play. He has a wide range with an ability to be either subtle or otherwise and I can’t wait to see what else he brings to the table, no matter what game it is.
– The Secondhand Took
For more LOTR: LCG Art (and artists’ contributions to other games) check out my Art Page.