We at Wizardry Foundry love seeing altered cards. Whether the alter is a simple extension, a full art extension, a foil peel, or a full art revamp, we enjoy it! We interviewed a prominent member of the MtG alters community who goes by the name Kevin Altered. Kevin is based out of Paris, France.
Foundry: Hi Kevin - thanks for joining us today. We love your work, especially your foil peel Commander alters! Can you tell us a little about how you started altering?
Kevin: I started altering MtG cards in 2008 when some friends asked me to alter their cards. Before then, I had never heard of MtG. Today I work a lot with my friend Kory from MAINPHASEMTG. I consider him my brother and agent based in Annapolis, Maryland in the US. I currently serve fans from the entire globe because my foil work is very popular and sought-after. However, like all alterists, I started with pop-out and frameless extensions on basic lands. Very early on, I tried new experiments - I have scratched, cut, burned, sunk, acetoned, lasered and tested on tons of cards (too many to count) in order to learn how foils are made. From my studies, I noticed 23 distinct types of foil layers.
Foundry: That’s amazing. Do you have any funny stories to share about your experiments?
Kevin: Actually, I remember my wife’s face when I put a foil into my microwave… it was just an experiment - we saw actual lightning bolts! Apparently, foils contain metal and now I know better. Nowadays, my wife doesn’t let me go to the market anymore because I tend to buy anything with any sort of foiling or glitter on the packaging. For example, if I see containers of yogurt or toothpaste that have wonderful foiling, I buy it.
Foundry: Kevin, can you tell us a little bit about the tournament legality of alters?
Kevin: This is a recurring question that I don’t think will ever get old. My process for foil and non-foil cards always create discussions about this topic. For all of my alters, I don’t print or create proxies. The base card, even when covered by a foil layer of another card is always the card you see. In this aspect, the card my clients get is the card they see the text for.
I’m a competitive EDH Commander player. Many EDH players want to use my alters at tournaments. I always tell them that I create while respecting the tournament legality rules - I do my best to try to make alters as close to tournament legal as possible. However, only the Head Judge can determine if an alter is allowed at a tournament!
Some of my clients sometimes ask me to do some painting work that is NSFW in nature. As you know, WoTC doesn’t accept sexual content at tournaments, so I have to create something new… That’s why I started to make altered Perfect Fit Sleeves - this way, I can cover up aspects of the alter underneath! My altered Perfect Fit Sleeves work very well, but are not as popular as my foil textless full art basic lands.
Foundry: What challenges do you face when taking on commissions for alters?
Kevin: Sometimes, players ask me technically impossible commissions. Perhaps they think I’m some sort of wizard and can create any type of alter - I’m simply inventive and love to try new styles. I take a lot of risks in order to revolutionize how alters are made.
At this point, my own original styles are copied by so many, so I am constantly finding new ways to create alters. For example, I created the “double varnish card” and the “works on Perfect Fit sleeves”. There’s only one style that has never been copied and I call it the KOFFE style. KOFFE stands for “Kevin’s Old Foil Frame Extension”. All of the different styles are categorized on my Facebook page.
One thing about me is that I dislike completely changing the base illustration of cards because I tend to like keeping the spirit of the original card. Because of this, I rarely do commissions in which I’m painting or pasting characters from other series onto the base cards (examples being Marvel or Star Wars characters). My philosophy adheres to tournament legality - any altered cards have to be instantly recognizable at first sight by judges and other players.
Foundry: Who are your influences? Do you have anything else you want to mention?
One last thing I want to mention is that I never sign the cards I alter - can you imagine painting over a Picasso then replacing his signature with your own?
Many new alterists ask me for tutorials or tips. I love helping the community so I do offer some tips here and there. Ultimately, since I have discovered my tricks over many years and countless failures (and destroyed cards), I can’t reveal them all.
Foundry: Thanks for your time Kevin!