Wylie Beckert


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Wicked Kingdom Playing Cards on Kickstarter Posted on 14 Jun 2016

The Wicked Kingdom Deck on Kickstarter

The Wicked Kingdom Deck is now available for purchase on Kickstarter!

It's been ages... but hopefully this news will be worth the wait. The Wicked Kingdom Deck is now live on Kickstarter! If you've been waiting a year and a half (!) for the chance to get your hands on one of these poker decks... the time is now!

The Wicked Kingdom Deck on Kickstarter


New Work: Quanta Magazine and some Wicked Jacks Posted on 31 Jan 2016

Wylie Beckert for Quanta Magazine

Mochizuki's last stand...

With my last post being back in November, I don't suppose I'll ever get caught up on my blogging, will I? Here's a consolation prize: a piece I did a while back for Quanta Magazine. The illustration pertains to the work of mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki, whose cryptic mathematical proofs have confounded his academic colleagues. It was an interesting concept to get down on paper: the misunderstood Mochizuki atop a mountain of his writings; his bewildered fellow mathematicians forced to wade through them and make of them what they will.

Also, because my playing card deck (Wicked Kingdom!) is still alive and well, here's the latest pair of card illustrations:

Jack of Hearts playing card by Wylie Beckert for the Wicked Kingdom Deck

Jack of Hearts, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper. Original available.

THE JACK OF HEARTS: One of the many industrious souls who ply their trade in the mecca of vice the kingdom's capitol has become.

The orphaned son of a vanished handmaiden, his place in the palace was lost during the upheaval caused by the old king's death. His early life on the streets was marked by hardship, struggle, and desperate acts; but a boy so very much like the old king in face and bearing proved a novelty to delight even the jaded tastes of the capitol; through wit and industry, he has managed to rise from his humble beginnings to become a courtesan of the highest order.

It would seem he could want for little now - having earned his place as a sought-after tradesman in the finest courtly houses of the kingdom and even, it is rumored, the king's own palace. But ambition, unlike lust, is not easily sated...

Jack of Clubs playing card by Wylie Beckert for the Wicked Kingdom Deck

Jack of Clubs, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper. Original available.

THE JACK OF CLUBS: a deserter who, having lost his taste for war, finds himself exiled and disgraced - condemned to live as a recluse and poach the dark forests of the borderlands for whatever prey he might find there.

There are few enough left now who remember his time at the right hand of the king who fostered and trained him; but for his own part, he still he dreams of blood, and smoke, and his lost place in the walled kingdom - a position to which he has not entirely abandoned hope of restoring himself. His final chance at redemption: a treasured and elusive prey, the hunting of which will require all the skills at his disposal...

In other news, I made it to Seattle and am finally getting settled in - I've met a ton of awesome artists already, and the weather is a far sight better than I was accustomed to in Maine. A net gain overall! As for any other art that may or may have been accomplished in the past few months, I fear it is doomed to obscurity because each passing day makes it less likely that I'll get around to sifting through the wreckage of moving boxes to retrieve and document it. There are always exciting things just over the horizon, though. Onwards and upwards...


Illuxcon, a Long Drive, Two Queens, and a Jack Posted on 02 Nov 2015

This blog seems to exist mainly as a forum for me to post my regrets about not blogging more. I can't be too sorry, though; I've been squaring away a few commissions, getting in some work done on my card deck, and attending Illuxcon!

Illuxcon 2015 Weekend Salon

My booth setup in the 2015 Weekend Salon at Illuxcon

Illuxcon is a bit special to me because it's where I got my first in-person introduction to the fantasy illustration community; I've been attending since 2013, but this was my first year exhibiting in the juried show. I'd previously exhibited in the showcase (the first-come-first-serve melee that occurs late Friday and Saturday nights) - while the Salon was slower paced, I definitely preferred the schedule (10am-5pm, leaving the night free for bar crawls, catching up with other artists, and sweet sweet sleep). Another bonus of the Salon over the showcase: assigned seating with display walls and hanging hardware provided - in the showcase, the best spots always go the strongest, swiftest, and most cunning (I tend to end up in the back corner behind a pillar at these sort of things).

If the whispers of artists are to be believed, this was a pretty dismal year for sales all around (apparently a massive art auction took place shortly before the show, siphoning away a lot of the art dollars collectors tend to spend at IX).

For my part, I sold a few pencil drawings and small items, and a good number of prints - definitely enough to cover the cost of attending, but not as much as I might have expected given Illuxcon's track record over the past few years. I'm morbidly curious to see the numbers on how this year's show compare to previous years - but it seems that sales totals weren't tallied this time around (unless I just missed the call for numbers).

I don't think it will deter me from exhibiting in future years, though - as always, it was great getting to meet some new artists and hang out with my crew from the back corner of IMC again; the continued interest in the Wicked Kingdom series was hugely encouraging, and I'm glad to have had the chance to get the word out to even more people about the project. Also, Illuxcon is switching venues next year - moving from Allentown (which has never seemed especially excited to have its streets overrun by drunken illustrators for a week) to a larger space in Reading, PA. I got a chance to talk with show founder Pat Wilshire about the move, and it sounds like it's going to be an exciting change.

I wasn't allowed to buy anything this year (I've had to burn enough of my own art to make room for my upcoming move), but I was tempted. I did leave with some richly undeserved but nonetheless coveted original art - a sketch of myself as an orc by Micah Epstein, and an ink drawing of my dog Tiki reimagined as a dive helmet by Dan Chudzinski!

sketch by Micah Epstein

A portrait by Micah Epstein. (I'M SO BEAUTIFUL AS AN ORC, YOU GUYS!)

ink drawing by Dan Chudzinski

A tiny dive helmet for Tiki by Dan Chudzinski - Awwwwww.

As with most conventions, I spent the duration bleary with sleep deprivation, misremembering names and forgetting faces. Nonetheless, I got to see some amazing art and talk to some amazing people (although, naturally, I missed quite a few who I meant to track down - it's hard to see the whole show and man a booth at the same time). Some of it must have stuck, though - after the usual day or two of twilight sleep that follows convention attendance, I awoke refreshed, inspired, and ready to start painting! Just in time to realize that I had less than a week to pack for a cross country move.

Which brings me to the other major news: I'm moving! After about six years in Maine (which were thoroughly unenjoyable, but probably important to the larger Wylie Beckert character arc) I'm headed back to the west coast; this time, the destination is Seattle. "But it's cloudy!", you'll no doubt protest; to such objections, I reply with the traditional Maine greeting "Go die in a blizzard."

Since I'll be driving (and taking the scenic route) new art and blog posting will most likely be non-existant over the next month or two until I'm settled in the new location; with any luck, though, I'll be doing some sketching on the road. Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see clumsy plen-air watercolors of the World's Largest Ball of Twine and other holy relics of middle america.

A photo posted by Wylie Beckert (@wyliebeckert) on

Link to my Instagram above. Follow!

Between commissions, moving stress, and Illuxcon prep (which takes an inordinate amount of time for what really amounts to "wrap a bunch of my paintings in bubble wrap; shake spiders out of my only jacket") I've managed to make some small progress on my Wicked Kingdom playing card series, with the Queens of Clubs and Diamonds and the Jack of Spades (I feel like the Spades have the deepest and darkest backstory of any of the suits; they're definitely my favorites at the moment, and the Jack was a lot of fun to work on). The Wicked Kingdom series will be taking a big productivity hit from the move, but I'm looking to start up again in late November, and with any luck will be ready to launch the Kickstarter in February/March next year.

Wylie Beckert: Queen of Clubs playing card illustration for the Wicked Kingdom deck

Queen of Clubs, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper

THE QUEEN OF CLUBS, or so she might have one day become - destined to cover her face and sit by the fire among her aunts, or die in childbirth like her mother - had she not forged her own war-club and followed the tracks of a foundling she-bear into the forest beyond her father's high walls.

None can say for certain what became of her, although there are hunters from the borderlands who claim to have seen her among the trees: a warrior maiden clad in iron and ragged pelts, more animal than human, with lichen on her armor and wildfire in her eyes. Legend names her the Bear Queen, and only the very brave or very foolish would venture to set a snare in her woods.

Wylie Beckert: Queen of Diamonds playing card illustration for the Wicked Kingdom deck

Queen of Diamonds, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper. Original available.

THE QUEEN OF DIAMONDS: a title held by the eldest of the chosen girls, blinded by oleander, who trade the deceptions of their earthly eyes for inviolable vision of smoke and stone. In the temple beneath the mountains, they are taught to read the language of the true-sighted; the histories and philosophies lost to the rest of the four kingdoms are revealed to them in the darkness.

Upon the death of the Queen - often an early one, as the work of a vessel is not without its costs - a new girl assumes the title; by her vows she will be silent until such time as the stone speaks through her in a voice as old as the world - a voice that whispers the fates of men and foretells the rise and fall of kingdoms.

Her counsel is sought by kings, heroes, and other wanderers in the dark.

Wylie Beckert: Jack of Spades playing card illustration for the Wicked Kingdom deck
THE JACK OF SPADES: once the hope of his kingdom, heir to the prosperity of endless river valleys; now a gibbet of sunbleached bones overlooking scorched earth and blackened fields.

The legend outlives the man: a flaxen-haired prince who left his palace to work the fields with the common folk, and took up arms to fight alongside them. With his death, the royal lineage of the House of Spades was extinguished, and the King issued a final decree: that his son's body would keep its lonely vigil over the battlefield where he died until it saw the four kingdoms starve for their transgressions.

Each year, on the eve of his death, every field in the kingdom is burned to ensure a late planting and a scanty harvest - lest some unscrupulous peasant risk feeding the enemy in exchange for a few coins. Only two plots of land escape the ritual that has become known as the Prince's Harvest: the king's own gardens, lusher by the year, and the ravaged fields beneath the prince's eternal gaze; there, whatever weeds may grow from the hallowed ground are permitted to flourish.


Betta Magick Posted on 15 Aug 2015

Wylie Beckert: Betta Magick oil painting

Betta Magick, 5x7" oil, ink, and pencil on paper

Here's the latest piece for Every Day Original! The painting goes up for sale at 10am EST tomorrow (Sunday the 16th). If you've been looking to get your hands on one of my tiny paintings, now is a good time, since I'll be taking a sabbatical from my EDO posting for a few months in order to wrangle some looming deadlines.

For my last piece (until such time as I can return - hopefully soon!) I wanted to give myself a good send-off with a really cool image AND try something a little different process-wise. I've often said that I don't care what color my paintings are, and I really do mean it - I usually feel like most of my pieces are "finished" once the drawing is complete; while the additional layers of color make things pretty to look at, I can tweak the Color Balance sliders for any of my paintings, and get half a dozen new color schemes that I would be equally happy with.

Lately, I've been indulging my love of less saturated colors with my playing card series; I'll admit I was a little insecure setting up my beige-ish display at Spectrum Live amidst all the candy-colored fantasy art, but to my surprise, I got a ton of compliments on my subdued color palette.

With this painting, I wanted to experiment with a painted final that was truer to the initial pencil drawing. To avoid obscuring the graphite & white charcoal, I skipped my usual intermediate watercolor stage, and instead worked directly over the sealed pencil drawing in oils, keeping things as minimal as possible - just a couple of layers of sepia-toned glazing with a few bright highlights painted in.

I really like the end result - no colors to distract from the flow of the line art. I'm dying to try something like this on a larger scale.

Wylie Beckert: Betta Magick oil painting


A shop, two queens, and some process videos Posted on 01 Aug 2015

Good (and only slightly belated) news - I've finally set up an online shop!At the moment, most of the available prints & originals are from my current playing card series; but I'm slowly adding more standalone pieces from the past few years of work (especially pencil drawings, which I have TONS of in the archives). Keep an eye out for more additions in the coming weeks; and of course, if you've seen something you like that isn't in the shop yet, shoot me an email.

the Wicked Kingdom shop

To be found among the offerings: the latest card illustrations for Wicked Kingdom, the Queens of Spades and Hearts. BEHOLD:

Wicked Kingdom Queen of Spades playing card illustration by artist Wylie Beckert

Queen of Spades, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper. Original available.

THE QUEEN OF SPADES, an herbalist and wood-witch with a knowledge of poisons and cures. She alone knows the secret names of every root and leaf in the four kingdoms; from a meaningless tumble of bracken, hers is the only hand that can pluck one shoot to sicken, one to restore, and one to grant uncommon visions.

It is said that death itself is the only ailment for which her gardens do not hold a cure; a reliable remedy for madness, though, is apparently beyond the powers of her tinctures and poultices, for her ministrations to the king have served only to hasten his decline.

Wicked Kingdom Queen of Hearts playing card illustration by artist Wylie Beckert

Queen of Hearts, 11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper. Original available.

THE QUEEN OF HEARTS: still as lovely as she was on that long-ago day when the old king brought her home from his conquests in foreign lands - a painted treasure with infant son in arms and a multitude of peculiar customs in tow. Since her widowhood, many suitors have sought her favor - drawn to her beauty, or her crown, or both - but to a man, have been met only with rejection.

She is said to prefer a life of ritual and solitude; outside of the increasingly rare occasions on which she holds court for her supplicants, she spends her days alone at her mirror, letting her son squander the kingdom's dwindling wealth with impunity. The curiously frequent disappearances of her handmaidens are seldom remarked upon in noble company; after all, the four kingdoms are known to be full of perils for the innocent.

The Wicked Kingdom (a href="http://www.patreon.com/wyliebeckert" target="_blank">Patreon has been picking up speed lately, making the decision to divert some time from "real" work (ie, that which pays) to my personal projects this year actually start to feel less like a wild gamble and more like the beginnings of something larger and more awesome. To celebrate, I subjected myself to the drudgery of filming my painting process for the Queen of Hearts. The complete video series is linked below - enjoy!

If you're tuning in late and wondering what the hell all of this is, you can find more info on my playing card project at www.wickedkingdomdeck.com.


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Wicked Kingdom Playing Cards on Kickstarter

14 Jun 2016
New Work: Quanta Magazine and some Wicked Jacks

31 Jan 2016
Illuxcon, a Long Drive, Two Queens, and a Jack

02 Nov 2015
Betta Magick

15 Aug 2015
A shop, two queens, and some process videos

01 Aug 2015
Newsdump, Summer 2015

16 Jul 2015
New Work: Thousandfurs

08 Jun 2015
Wicked Kingdom: The King of Diamonds

03 Jun 2015
Wicked Kingdom: The King of Clubs

17 May 2015
Wicked Kingdom: The King of Hearts

03 May 2015
Wicked Kingdom

15 Apr 2015
New Work: Fairy Brew

06 Mar 2015
Month of Love: Forbidden Fruit

01 Mar 2015
Month of Love: Love is All Around

19 Feb 2015
Month of Love: Diamonds

09 Feb 2015
Every Day Original: Sunset Ride

16 Jan 2015
Art Book: Inspired

15 Jan 2015
One Fantastic Week

14 Jan 2015
Every Day Original

15 Dec 2014
New Work: Sword of Purpose

10 Dec 2014
New Work: The Nutcracker

18 Nov 2014
New Work: The Journey

05 Nov 2014
The ArtOrder Artists Series launch

20 Oct 2014
Month of Fear - Demons Within

16 Oct 2014
Month of Fear - Banshee

02 Oct 2014