Hi all! I'm Federico Musetti and I am an illustrator of mostly fantasy art.
I have had a passion for drawing since childhood, when I used to create my own comics with monsters and aliens and then sell them to my schoolmates. Italian and American comics have always been my passion, but for a long time I thought to keep drawing only as a hobby to distract myself in my free time.
I did many other jobs, including as a graphic designer and photographer. When I started working with Photoshop and an old graphics tablet, I decided to try to turn my passion for illustration into my profession. I showed my first personal works at the various fairs here in Italy, where I found my first customers- it is always emotional to think back to that!
I am an active and curious person, and now that I work as a full-time illustrator, I can spend my free time on my other hobbies: sports, the mountains, the sea... just being outdoors and in good company!
Alex: Thank you for agreeing to this interview with me! I'm so excited to be talking with you about the incredible art you've contributed to this game, and your journey as an artist. Reading your intro, it was actually really resonant with me, because I was that kid in school drawing my own comic books!
Who and what are your artistic influences?
Federico: A book, an encounter, a sunset, a journey, but also a common day... every experience can be translated into artistic inspiration.
I study and take inspiration from artists of the past and the present, which is fundamental for me to grow and evolve!
I love photography, especially of landscapes. Studying the great photographers has taught me a lot about light and composition.
As for painting, I have always loved the Impressionists for their technique of using bold brush strokes, their studies on color and lighting, and their pursuit of synthesis.
I love concept art and mixing techniques, such as photo bashing and 3D, and I am always looking to discover new artists to take inspiration from!
Alex: Are you a gamer?
Federico: I used to play video games when I was younger, or D&D sometimes, or MTG as well, mainly with friends just having fun!
Now that I stay in front of my computer at drawing all day long, I prefer (or better put, I simply need!) to fill my free time doing sports, traveling, or simply drinking a beer in good company!
Alex: How did you get connected with Legend Story Studios?
Federico: While wandering around the web, I found a game which I’d never heard of before. I found it fascinating! And I thought, “I want to be part of that game!” So I quickly sent my portfolio to LSS (I am always ready in cases like this!), and when Robbie replied, the journey began!
Alex: Your first piece for Flesh and Blood was Mangle, correct?
Federico: Yes, it was! I could not have wished for a better piece to enter the game with!
Alex: That card art made quite an impression on the community! Did you know the Mangle Guardian was colloquially known as Doot for a while? And that he was rumored to be an upcoming Hero? And most recently, speculation has been that he may be a Shadow Guardian!
Federico: I've heard that the Mangle card was really liked by the community and I was so happy about that! I loved the description provided to me by LSS of the character and the situation. Probably the passion I put into drawing that dude was noticed!
I'm also proud about the Mangle character's "career” in the game, and that he's been growing up!
Alex: So let's talk about the Great Library of Solana. This is probably my personal favorite artwork in FaB so far. The sense of scale and the endless detail is absolutely enthralling. Tell us about what went into bringing this concept to life.
Federico: Ah thank you! The Library is for sure the most complicated piece I’ve done so far!
I tend to be happy about almost every commission, but with Solana it was just so exciting: the description provided by LSS was extremely interesting, and I couldn’t wait to start working on it! Some of the keywords which captured my attention were: a grandiose spectacle, knowledge, magic, opulent, illumination, magical and scholarly.
Given these guidelines, my idea was to create a mix between a library and a cathedral, with exaggerated proportions to give a sense of majesty! The columns became structures themselves full of shelves with books and scrolls, separating the naves which bring the eyes directly to the statues of the Grand Magisters.
The LSS team immediately liked the idea. The rest was hours and hours spent in front of my computer drawing the whole illustration! The Great Library of Solana was one of the illustrations you get absorbed into, like a captivating book, or your favorite movie: you just don’t want it to end too quickly!
Alex: This art was put on a Fabled card- meaning no one even knew about it until photos started circulating from prerelease events! How does it feel having a piece of art you created on a capstone card like that?
Federico: Knowing that the Great Library of Solana has been so much appreciated, makes me very proud- especially given the high artistic level of all the art in FAB! I received a lot of messages asking if I was that Federico Musetti who did the card... this made me very happy!
Alex: What kind of guidance did you have from LSS on the actual look and design of the Great Library? Did they dictate colors, lighting, architectural styles, angles, etc?
Federico: LSS always gives me an accurate description of the general concept and the final result it would like to reach, but leaves me free to experiment on details, composition, light etc.- and that’s the way I like to work!
Alex: You also carried over your work in the Library to the mentor card, the Librarian. Can you tell us about that art? What was your inspiration for his aesthetic?
Federico: Another card I loved to do!
Each Magister has a unique style, and in this case he had to be represented in the Great Library. I thought of putting him inside one of the huge columns, between the shelves full of books. As for his “armour”, I was inspired by baroque decorations full of intricate details- super fun to paint!
The young Prism, standing next to the Librarian with her surprised expression, was the touch which made the card rich with storytelling and I loved it!
Alex: Speaking of character design, where did you start on Chane? Did LSS come to you with a rough concept, a written description, existing character sketches?
Federico: As always, LSS gave me a description and some references to help me with the concept of the illustration. I then quickly started working on it and prepared some character exploration sketches. At this stage it’s not necessary to jump into the details, but just to show the high-level concept I would like to develop.
I progressed collaborating with the LSS team and step by step we ended up with the Chane who you now can see in all his glory!
Once the character was ready, it was the time to prepare the sketches of Chane in different poses and situations. At the end, LSS chose the one with a frontal Chane walking out of the Gateway (my favourite as well!) and I had the green light to move to the final illustration!
Alex: How did you settle on his look- both young and present?
Federico: We wanted something dark and corrupted for this adult Chane, so black leather was perfect for his attire in opposition to his light skin. I thought about him wearing a light armour that allows him to twirl his sword freely, but leaving the chest visible with its sigils and scars! I tried different hair styles, but in the end we chose simple, smooth, long black hair.
The young version was simpler to figure out, since I had to represent Chane in a classic preacher dress and I only made it darker and more gloomy.
Alex: Ursur is an incredibly imaginative design for an otherworldly monster. Tell us a bit about developing that character.
Federico: This was another fun card! The brief was intriguing, with keywords like fallen angel (beautiful but twisted), otherworldly, apathetic...
As usual, I tried several character explorations: without face or legs, with more arms, and with a torn chest, inside which there were planets and stars!
We ended up with replacing the face with a sort of "black hole", leaving the lower part of the skull as a metal mask.
I'm working on other cards for FAB, but this one remains one of my favorites!
Alex: In only a couple pieces, you've already shown a huge range in your subjects and styles, from the grim violence of Mangle to the otherworldly setting of Ursur to the transcendent architecture of the Great Library. Was your portfolio always this diverse? Or did you push your limits doing some of these?
Federico: I’ve always loved drawing, it has been a constant in my life. As a curious person, I am always looking for new incentives, and it is the same with my illustrations.
Maybe what I prefer to represent the most are landscapes and environments, but I enjoy very much experimenting with different subjects and styles, and I am always happy when I am given that opportunity. LSS is great in doing so!
Alex: You've helped develop the Demonastary and Solana so far. Which region would you like to put your mark on next?
Federico: I hope to have the opportunity to draw illustrations for every region! But if I need to pick some.. I’d really like to work on Pits and Volkor!
Alex: Will you be producing prints of any of your Flesh and Blood artwork? I bet there'd be an audience for that!
Federico: I already have! I have a series of signed and numbered prints on fine art paper or canvas, which I must say look great! You can find out more on my Facebook page.
Alex Truell is the editor for the Rathe Times. Alex is a casually competitive player overseeing the growth of a Flesh and Blood scene in Ripon, WI. Alex is a player who cares about the competitive environment, but doesn't have to live in it; an optimist who loves the game, but can take a step back to critique it; and a deckbuilder who revels in novelty.
Really interesting to get a behind the scene glimpse into the process of creating beautiful art for this game. It really helps drawn me into the story behind the game.
I think the mangle guardian would be a sweet hero. He looks like he could swing for a ton!
Wow, many of these artworks I've never seem blown up in high resolution. Really shows the detail you miss on the small-by-comparison cards. Love the lighting effects on Library.
Honestly, one of the biggest things that got me into FNB was the art. It just feels better than magic. MTG has cool art, but it feels like it has no feeling,
As an aspiring fantasy artist this was a really great read. I've already started doing some FaB fan art's but it's always good to see what it takes to get into the big leagues.
Fascinating to see how chane came to be, plus Frederico's talent is amazing, looking forward to seeing what he has for us in the future!
It's incredible the amount of work he put into the preliminary sketches for the Library. And his other work looks awesome, but he really excels at the landscape pieces IMO. The Library is simply incredible! Also I didn't know the mangle guardian was know as Doot lol.
It is nice to have the art on the cards, but articles like this really help show the detail and effort put into the cards. I love the brutal art.
Wow! The progression of the adult Chane art is really crazy, I guess LSS really liked the exposed chest hahaha. I kinda wish they went with a mix of version 4 and 6.
I was fixated on the Library art for a long time.... i stopped and just got immersed in it... i even counted the people in there then i realized i was probably counting pillars as people. but here are guards in that library. I was hooked. great article and great artist. Mangle tho... wow!
I love the Chane artwork and it was so cool to read about how it was made.
Great Library of Solana artwork is gorgeous! I am glad LSS team doesn't put artists into strict boundaries allowing them to create such magnificent pieces of artwork.
WOW, so many research & concept.. no wonder Library of Solana be the most beautiful card in FaB until now.. Great job Federico. =)
What a talent. Few artists are as good at architecture illustration as they are character art or vice versa. Absolutely love the art direction in this game.
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