Beginners guide to alter MTG cards

In this guide, i’ll be recommending supplies, teach my process and some guides that i’ve learned through out experimenting over the years as an illustrator. Surely it will help you create your own pieces of art.

What you need


Here you have many options, they range from Golden Fluid Acrylics, Model Air from Vallejo, Citadel paints to Liquitex Professional Acrylic Paints.
These have high pigment colors and you can’t go wrong with neither of them.

Top recommendations

Golden Fluid and Model Air, can be used straight out of the box with their thin density, you can easily mix and apply to the card.

Least recommended

Liquitex paints are very liquid and are fairly hard to apply, in contrast, Citadel inks are too thick and need to be diluted with water, both make you waste too much ink in the process.

Citadel paints come in different types, focus on base and layer, both have rich colors, but dry extremely fast so use water frequently.

Both have their pros and cons, you’ll find that high opacity inks are awful for wet blending, but work well with progressive layer blending.

Check similar colors:

Must have Hues

Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Black, Ultramarine, Deep Violet, Cadmium Red Medium.


White scar, Abbadon black, Caledor Sky, Evil Sunz Scarlet, Moot Green, Sybarite Green, Caliban Green, Doombull Brown, Steel Legion Drab, Rhinox Hide, Xerbus Purple, Averland sunset

Optional Hues

Cadmium Yellow Medium, Yellow Green/ Cobalt Green, King’s Blue, Cadmium Orange.

For brushes you can use anything that would like, the type of brush is up to your taste, as there is no specification on it.

My brushes:

Common sizes 6 (flat), 4 , 2, 3/0 (000)

Size 6, 4: Used for priming and mixing colors
Size 2: Color blocking and shape design
Size 3/0 (000): fine lining and detailing

Symbiose Raphael – expensive good

Kolibri –  cheap good

Van gogh – cheap and good

PAPER For cleaning your brushes so you can mix other colors and to keep them dry after cleaning.

JARS They allow you to hold the water so you can clean your brushes.

WET PALETTE Not necessary but works better than a normal palette as it doesn’t let paint dry so fast.

You can make your own using a Tupperware, some kitchen paper and some non-waxed parchment paper.

Toothpicks are a great tool in altering, for correcting any mistake you might make you can just scrape off paint and excess paint, as well as masking tape to limit your working area.


First, use a soft eraser and clean the surface varnish on your card, not only this will allow the acrylic paint stick better but will limit your work space.

  1. Fix your card to a movable surface with tape.
  2. Prime the card with multiple layers of neutral grey color, just like a canvas.
  3. Use a 2B pencil or waterproof marker to add your sketch.
  4. Slowly apply paint and do thin layers one at the time, this is so you get a smooth finish. I advise to wait for each layer to dry before the applying the next layer.
  5. Think about the illustration you want, sketch and once you are ready grab a liner waterproof pen and make outlines.
  6. Start from the background, as it sets the mood and value range, make sure to build your painting from darkest to lightest and keep in mind to let the colors to dry. Patience is a must.
  7. Make sure to blend all the colors yourself so that the hues look more natural and be sure to clean your card in the end, if you made a mess you can use water to remove paint
  8. In the end apply a few layers of matte varnish and you’re done!

Spread the art


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