Wayfarer's Bauble artwork
Image via WotC

WotC cut ties with MTG artist over ‘stolen’ Lost Caverns of Ixalan artwork

The artist has issued an apology.

Magic The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast has cut ties with an artist who worked on Lost Caverns of Ixalan after being accused of plagiarism.

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WotC has suspended artist David Sondered from working on MTG until further notice after he was accused of stealing work to use in the background of the card Wayfarer’s Bauble, which was released as part of Lost Caves of Ixalan. The MTG publisher said in a statement today that using artwork without permission breaches their artist guidelines.

Artist Lorenzo Lanfranconi originally flagged the similarities between the card’s artwork and one of their paintings on Nov. 18. Sondered soon responded to the accusations by taking responsibility and attempting to explain how the similarities happened.

In a statement from their now-deleted social media account, Sondered explained he often uses artwork as a reference when beginning to paint MTG art. In this case, the piece from Lanfranconi was used as a reference for the background in Wayfarer’s Bauble, however, the changes made were not enough to disguise it from being recognized. “In this case, I have unfortunately not done a good job of turning it into a uniquely mine painting. I could show how I have painted over things but in the end it does not matter,” Sondered said. “The matter of the fact is it looks too close to someone else’s original piece of art.”

This statement from Sondered led to heavy backlash from MTG fans, to the point that social media accounts for his studio have been closed down and legal action is being explored against individuals unwarrantedly harassing other members of their family. Of course, this isn’t the first time a situation like this has happened in the history of MTG, and similarly, the approach from WotC has again been to cut ties with the artist until further notice.


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