Pick up any Mythic Legions Package and you will see the amazing artwork of Nate Baertsch. When we decided to add an "Artist Spotlight" feature to the website, we knew we needed to start with Nate since he has been such an important part of helping to define the look of Mythic Legions through his stunning pieces.
To get started, please introduce yourself!
I'm Nate Baertsch, I'm a husband, father, toy enthusiast and aspiring toy maker. I also draw, color, and design anything from toys to packaging illustration and more.
I know you’ve told this story a number of times, but for those who may not have yet heard it, how did you first begin working with Four Horsemen Studios.
I began working with the Four Horsemen in 2007 on their FanEx figure, Ramathorr. They wanted to use fans in more meaningful ways and if possible throw a bone or two to some guys like me, so they asked me to do an illustration for the Ramathorr card back.
Ever since then it slowly but steadily grew from Ramathorr, to Queen Alluxandra, to an occasional design doodle for MotU Classics, and now Mythic Legions!
What have been your favorite Mythic Legions pieces to work on so far?
Favorite Mythic Legions pieces? There's still a lot of magic for me in that first card FRONT image, the one that sits behind the figures, with the dragon, the demons and such. It's so surreal, and it's the piece that really has set the tone for all Mythic Legions art after that. I'm VERY excited about the next piece I'm doing for the Horses. That one will likely rise up as a favorite once I'm done with it. The subject matter is very firey you might say. Makes sense when you think about who it's for.
What is your process for creating art? Do you use traditional pencils and paper or are you purely digital?
My process for the art is pretty straight forward. I like to take a few moments or days even and just think about what I want to see, what could make it feel new, but at the same time invoke awe in the world that we're trying to capture. I also take this time to look up references of similar themed paintings done by a variety of favorite artists. I work purely digital, so sadly there are no "pencil sketches" that exist in only one place. Not saying that will always be the case? It's just how I work right now.
Wait... That's not 100% true. I do have some thumbnail sketches I had done for the first figure card art, they're loose in a sketchbook somewhere. But it's just thumbnails. Once I have the dimensions of the art, I jump right into laying out the key characters and such, and loose ideas of what could be in the background. After those initial sketches, as I work in the final color and rendering out the characters, things move around a little, some compositional stuff changes here and there, a few rounds of revisions from the Horsemen and then after a couple weeks of the factory yelling at me to get it done, I let it go. On the Ogre packaging, Eric actually let me handle some of the more final layout pieces, the text boxes and logos and such that go onto the box, but often with all the paintings, Eric and I are constantly updating each other with the progress, geeking out all along the way. It's awesome.
Other than the amazing artwork you have contributed to the line, have you had the chance to work on any other aspects of Mythic Legions figures?
I've not designed any figures yet. That's all Eric. All of Mythic Legions just comes pouring out of his head and it's an incredible thing to just stand beside him and watch happen. Truly an artistic and creative genius of our day, to the likes of a modern day JRR Tolkien or George Lucas. I'm not just trying to schmooze him for the next Mythic Legions job, I mean every word of what I just said. It's an honor and privilege being able to call him friend. The one thing that I have sketches for that I did help design is just the club that the Forest Troll has. CB texted me one night and asked if I could throw a few sketches/ideas together for a club and they used a combo of two of the three sketches I submitted.
Besides Mythic Legions, what other kinds of projects have you worked on?
Outside of Mythic Legions, I've had the blessings of working with the Horsemen on a variety of lines. I can't name it all here, some have never seen the light of day, but what I can mention, most people know... Masters of the Universe Classics, Thundercats, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And then of course all their home brewed lines like Seventh Kingdom, Gothitropolis, OuterSpacemen and Power Lords.
What would fans of your work be surprised to learn?
Fans may or may not be surprised to learn that I can saddle a horse, ride it forever, load my own bullets and shoot just about any gun. I only shave with a straight razor just like our great, great, great grandfathers. I've rounded up buffalo on horseback, I used to do endurance racing as a youth, where you race horses over mountainous terrain for 50-60 miles a day. And with all that, I HATE country music and if you call me a cowboy, I might punch you. But Space Cowboy is just fine.
As for the toys themselves, what are you favorite Mythic Legions figures so far?
My favorite Mythic Legion figures right now are mostly found in the Noble Bear Clan. Loving these Ogres of course, but I've yet to put Freyja away. She's pretty special. That Barbarian Builder is still one of my top, most favorite things in the world. If my house caught fire, I'd probably just grab those two, Freyja and the Barbarian.
In closing, where can fans follow you and see more of your work?
If you're so inclined to still like me and my work after this interview, you'll see I post somewhat regularly on both Instagram and Facebook. For Instagram, my personal page is @natebaertsch and my art page is @natebaertschart. On Facebook, I have my personal page, as well as a design and art page at www.facebook.com/natebaertschdesign. You can also find a gallery of stuff on Deviantart, but I don't post with much regularity there.
So happy I get to do what I do, so happy for the amazing people in this particular fan community! The Horsemen are all some of the best human beings I know, and their fans are also, an amazing band of merry men and women to be amongst.
When asked his opinion of the quality of artwork that Nate does for Four Horsemen Studios, Cornboy stated “Nate arts real good…”
Want to see more of Nate's Mythic Legions art?
Check out the newly added “Art of Mythoss” page for some of Nate's incredible artwork!
Published on 11.26.19