Junji Ito Talks Magic: The Gathering and the Fear of AI Art

Junji Ito Magic the gathering cards ai art
Image via Wizards of the Coast

In a recent interview with 4Gamer, popular horror manga artist Junji Ito talked about his experience working with Wizards of the Coast designing illustration for Magic: The Gathering cards, and the fear of art created through AI technology. Wizards of the Coast directly contacted Junji Ito, and the artist didn’t know about MTG prior. [Thanks, 4Gamer!]

Junji Ito said that after researching Magic: The Gathering, he was impressed by the fantasy worlds and beautiful illustrations used for the cards, and felt that he wanted to work with Wizards of the Coast.

Drawing the final illustration for Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines took Ito about three days of work. In addition to that, there was a previous period of trial and error creating rough sketches that the artist and Wizards of the Coast went through until a final design was decided. Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines had three different initial sketches before the final one was chosen.

Ito said that the only rejection to a first draft was for the Carrion Feeder card, which initially depicted a gravestone in the form of a cross with an English name. In the final card, the gravestone is a normal slab, and the name is blurred. In addition, Ito said that if he were to receive another offer to work on Magic: The Gathering he would love to do it again. He also said that designing individual illustrations is a very rewarding job, as the deadlines and load of work for creating manga are tighter.

Junji Ito also talked against the use of AI-created art. The artist said that he feels threatened by it as a professional, and worries that manga will eventually be drawn using AI technology. He also said that he would like to continue to create stories where the unexpected becomes terrifying, before AI can learn to imitate that.

Daniel Bueno
About The Author
Daniel is a staff writer and translator from the Spaghetti Western land of Andalusia, Spain. He is relatively new to the industry, and started writing in February 2022. He also has bylines in Xbox Outsider. His favorite genres are RPGs, survival horrors, and immersive sims. In truth, he is a Dragon Quest slime in a human suit.