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Adventures in Imagination

October 30, 2022 - January 22, 2023

Huntsville Museum of Art

I am honored to announce the opening of a large exhibition of my work this coming month at the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama - Adventures in Imagination, running October 30 - January 22.

The exhibition will include examples from early drawings at the age of seven to the most recent epic canvas from Middle-earth, The Beacons of Gondor, still in progress at the studio this week! Over eighty works will touch upon the techniques developed as a commercial illustrator and oil painter. Rough sketches, finished preliminaries, and photographic references will be shown in context with the finished oil paintings to illuminate the creative processes.

A special section is dedicated to my work for Magic:The Gathering, including my first card illustrations for the game as well as recent favorites.

Opening reception is Tuesday November 1st, 6-8pm. I will be in attendance for the opening and hosting an intensive one-day External link opens in new tab or windowworkshop the next day, Wednesday the 2nd, diving into drawing as narrative storytelling.

My thanks to Christopher Madkour, director of the Museum, for reaching out for another chance to share my work with a growing community.

Details for the museum and workshop may be found at:

Huntsville Museum of Art

300 Church Street S

Huntsville, AL  35801

External link opens in new tab or windowI am happy to announce that I will be returning to my first Magic: The Gathering event in over two years for the CommandFest in Philadelphia, put on by Nick Coss and CardTitan!

External link opens in new tab or windowPennsylvania Convention Center

1101 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107

11th & Arch St Entrance - Across from Reading Terminal Market

SEPTA: Jefferson Station

A few of my good artist friends will be there - Mark Poole, Mark Nelson - and including the buddy who got me into Magic - Bryon Wackwitz!

Details and registration information in the links above.

I will have Original Art, Artist Proofs, Micro-Paintings, Prints, and new Canvas Giclee's available at the table.

Looking forward to hanging out and signing with fans, friends, and pros alike!


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AUCTION closed Sunday July 11th, 2021 11:30pm EST

External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/mtgartmarket/posts/3081494005414131/

Mordenkainen the Wizard
34” x 25” Oil on Panel, framed
Art Director: Zack Stella

I am honored to present the portrait of Planeswalker Mordenkainen from the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms D&D expansion from Magic:The Gathering.

This painting is my most detailed and masterfully executed Magic: The Gathering cards as well as one of the finest portraits to grace my portfolio.

This portrait of Mordenkainen envelopes so much of what I love about my career as an artist - from portraiture, to narrative storytelling, rendering of reflective surfaces, dramatic lighting effects, and most importantly conveying a sense of wonder and mystery. We may never know what the wizard was working upon as we interrupted his contemplative thoughts in his study, but we can be certain we will feel the wrath of his ire!
Ever since discovering Dungeons and Dragons in my youth, I have enjoyed the complexities, challenges, and excitement of role-playing the character class of wizards. This portrait represents the deep passion I have for gaming and the art creation infused within my youth around roleplaying. It was this wellspring I returned to again and again as this work evolved.

Reaching back deep into those wizardry gaming roots are a set of bookends I created during my hard-core D&D days, with one side a diorama composed with the elements from Grenadier’s ‘Wizard’s Room’ lead figurine miniature set. I loved to paint these miniatures, owning handfuls of the diverse sets produced, and enjoyed endless hours of enjoyment in use in our campaigns.
Due to the lack of access to proper art supplies as a young artist, all small details on these figurines were rendered and applied with sharpened toothpicks. I am happy to state those logistical hurdles are no longer a hinderance in my art creation now! I have long ago learned that proper tools are part of the pathway to creating masterful, professional works of art.

To those ends, as this painting came closer to finish, a proper frame was needed to house this image and complement its craftsmanship. Masterworks Frames in Utah was commissioned to create a customized silver frame with a slight accent of dark blue in the broad field of the frame.
I am proud to now publicly share this major work with you and the Magic community!

Ps. The final image sent to wizards has a digitally added 'Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound'. I felt that the inclusion of the hound in the oil painting would weaken the ambiguous nature to Mordenkainen’s spell work and take focus away from him as a portrait of a powerful wizard.

Auction ends Sunday July 11th 11:30pm EST with any bids in the final 5 minutes extending closing time by an additional 5 minutes.

Buy It Now: $150,000 active starting Wednesday July 7th at 11:00pm EST, ending at Sunday July 11th 11:30pm EST (will NOT be active if auction goes into overtime). Any party interested in the BIN before the start time on July 7th may contact me directly. If there are two or more interested parties, a private auction will then proceed.

BIN price will include ALL the preliminaries for this work - abstract, rough red-toned concept, final grey-toned preliminary, blue-toned Hound, and acrylic color study (Wizard’s Room diorama NOT included).

Shipping fee $125 here in the United States via FedEx Ground. Overseas upon request.

Minimum Bid increases at $1000. Wire/Bank Transfer preferred for final payment, but other options possible. Bids may be made here in Comments, Private Message, or email at: arts@donatoarts.com



I will be participating in a few online programs for the 2021 Boskone Convention this weekend, February 12-14th:

External link opens in new tab or windowHosting an open online discussion (a Kaffeeklatsch) Saturday 11:30 am- 12:30pm

 Panel discussion, External link opens in new tab or windowThe Illustrated Book

 Saturday 5:30-6:30pm

 Panel discussion, External link opens in new tab or windowThe Magic of Art

Sunday 2:30-3:30pm

 Details in the links above.

You must register and be a member of the convention to join in. $25 membership gives you access to scores of panels and professionals across the scope of the genre.

 Come join in!




External link opens in new tab or windowIX Arts Online is now LIVE!

Beginning October 22, 2020 and running through Winter 2021.

The annual gathering of traditional media artists for the IlluxCon convention has gone online for 2020.  The scores of high caliber artists may still be found there, displaying the best of their work from the past year in he Main Show and Showcase, with lectures and presentations sprinkled in the mix.

Donato's lastest additions to his External link opens in new tab or windowEmpathetic Robot series may be found in the External link opens in new tab or windowgallery as well as original graphite paintings executed for the newly released Stranger in a Strange Land limited edition illustrated novel from The Folio Society.

Exhibiting artists include Greg Hildebrant, Omar Rayyan, Julie Bell, David Wenzel, Iris Compiet, Jeff Easley, Allen Williams, Anthony Kosar, Tom Kidd, Annie Stegg Gerard, Dave Seeley, Mark Poole, Tom Kuebler, Eric Wilkerson, Allen Douglas, Justin Gerard, Boris Vallejo, Kelley Hensing, Mark Zug, Vanessa Lemen, and Kristine and Colin Poole among scores of others!



External link opens in new tab or windowMicrodose: a small works salon

Big artists in a manageable dosage. Drawings, paintings, and sculptures all under 14" in size.

December 13, 2019 - January 18, 2020

Opening reception Friday December 13th from 6-9PM

This event is open to the public and free to attend.

(unfortunately Donato will not be in attendance due to his CommandFest appearance)

Artists Include:

Ben Ashton (artwork shown above), Ronit Baranga, Dave Benz, Zofia Bogusz, Rachael Bridge, Zachary Brown, Nannette Cherry, Nomi Chi, Colin Chillag, Dan Cimmermann, Alex Eckman, Lawn, Donato Giancola, Gosia, Paige Greeley, Baptiste Hersoc, Yun Sung Jang, Kikyz1313, Michelle Konczyk, Boy Kong, Chris Leib, Musidora Levamp, Chris Liberti , Joseph Loughborough, Caitlin McCormack, Emil Melmoth, Alex Merritt, CT Nelson, Daniel Ochoa, Michelle Perez,, Reisha Perlmutter, Horacio Quiroz, Rebecca Reeves, Julio Reyes, Madeleine Rhondeau, Scott, Schiedly, Ian Stone, Mark Tennant, Sid Watters, and John Weldon Wood.

Booth Gallery
325 W 38th Street
New York, NY 10018
(212) 560-0666
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm


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External link opens in new tab or windowMagic:The Gathering CommandFest Washington DC

December 13-15, 2019

Dulles Expo Center

4320 Chantilly Shopping Center

Chantilly, Virginia 20151

Donato will be returning this December to another Star City Games Magic gathering and will be present on the floor of the event hall for the entire three days.  In addition to signing he will have a host of Magic proofs, prints, original art, and a selection of his recent foray into Proof Micro Paintings for sale.  The recently published 200 page, over-sized monograph on Donato's External link opens in new tab or windowMiddle-earth works from Dark Horse Comics will also be found at his table.

A full listing of the cards and art Donato has illustrated for Magic:The Gathering may be found at:



Hall Hours

Friday, Dec 13 10am - 9pm

Saturday, Dec 14 9am - 8pm

Sunday, Dec 15 9am - 7pm


IX Arts - 2019

October 23-27, 2019

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
201 Washington Street
Reading, PA

IX 12 (IlluxCon) will be opening its twelveth year at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. One of the most prestigious exhibitions of contemporary fantastic art in the world, IX Arts is a comprehensive exhibition of fantastic art gathering together some of the brightest stars in traditional media for four and a half days of non-stop presentations, lectures, demonstrations, and inspiration.

Incredible names, new and old, within the science fiction and fantasy genre will be exhibiting the very best and most recent works from their studios, guaranteeing that this will again be a show to inspire and remember. Scott Gustafson, Ruth Sanderson, David Wenzel, Tom Kidd, Tran Nguyen, Tom Kuebler, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Omar Rayyan, Dave Seeley, Vanessa Lemen, Steve Hickman, Mark Harrison, Colin and Kristine Poole - the list goes on and on and on.

Donato will be featuring many new works, including numerous interior drawings and the cover wrap around oil painting from the recent Limited Edition novel illustrations for Jacqueline Carey's Elegy for Darkness, the revised astronaut epic - LifeSeeker, a new Empathetic Robot painting, and handfuls of new fantasy and science fiction oil paintings, drawings and prints - From  Middle-earth to Dungeons&Dragons - the full range of Donato's interests will be on display.

For more information about IX Arts, visit External link opens in new tab or windowhttp://illuxcon.com/.


External link opens in new tab or windowTRANSFORMATIONS: The Art of Donato Giancola

September 6-27, 2019

Opening Thursday September 5th, 6-9 pm
Open to the public

A new retrospective exhibition featuring 40 works spanning my entire artistic career, fan and pro alike.

Selections include studies, drawings, sketches, and major career milestone oil paintings will be on exhibition and presented by Laguna College of Art and Design's (LCAD) BFA program in Illustration at the LCAD Gallery. 

Works exhibited range from early childhood drawings to my first and latest interpretations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, from beginnings as a book cover artist in New York City to commissions for Magic: The Gathering, and from calendar art for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) to the recent series, Empathetic Robots.

External link opens in new tab or windowLCAD Gallery

External link opens in new tab or window374 Ocean Avenue

External link opens in new tab or windowLaguna Beach, CA 92651

Admission is always free and open to the public


11AM – 4PM, Wednesday through Sunday

External link opens in new tab or windowClosed Monday and Tuesday


This September will see the launch of a new convention centered around the art and creators within the fields of Concept Art, Illustration, Animation, and Gaming.  Begun by Bobby Chiu, a character designer and founder of Schoolism, and Jim Demonakos, founder of Emerald City Comic Con, for although there are quite a few conventions which draw in the talent from the afore mentioned fields (from San Diego Comic-Con to Spectrum Live to E3), there had yet to be a convention held in the backyard of Los Angeles.  The proximity to Hollywood and Southern California’s dense animation and gaming business is guaranteeing the floor at the Pasadena Convention Center will be packed and rocking with an incredible wealth of creative individuals over these three days.

This is one of the main reasons why I love to attend gatherings such as Lightbox Expo, for the chance for something unexpected to happen with my art and career.  I love the thrill of meeting new professionals, fans, and future accomplices in an ever evolving career in the arts – new lights beckon through cracks and keyholes.

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From the LightBox website:

Renowned character designer and illustrator Bobby Chiu, the team at Schoolism, and Emerald City Comic Con founder Jim Demonakos have teamed up to launch LightBox Expo, a three day celebration of the visual arts in Pasadena, California.

LightBox Expo (LBX) was conceived as a way to bring together the best artists in animation, illustration, live action and gaming industries under one roof. Why? To hang out with fellow creators, share our art with the public, meet other artists, further our skills and educate those coming up in our respective industries.

External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://www.lightboxexpo.com/

300 E Green St
Pasadena, CA 91101

September 6-8, 2019

Donato Arts

Booth 916

Friday – 12pm-6pm
Saturday – 10am-6pm
Sunday – 10am-5pm


I will be hosting a lecture:

Painting Between the Lines

Friday, September 6th, 2:30 pm Room 212

on the theme of creativity

Check out the amazing programming planned for LightBox Expo:


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External link opens in new tab or windowSmArt School 2019 Fall Online Mentorship with Donato

14 Sessions of Comprehensive Critiques and Lectures on Art, Aesthetics and Business

September 11, 2019 - January 8, 2020
Wednesdays 4:30pm-7:30pm EST

For information on enrollment:
External link opens in new tab or windowThe SmArt School
External link opens in new tab or windowsmarterartschool@gmail.com

With twenty-three Chesley Awards, nine medals from Spectrum, three Hugo Awards, and over twenty-four years of teaching experience, Donato Giancola offers nearly unparalleled insight to professional practices and techniques within the freelance artist's marketplace. This mentorship runs online thirteen sessions meeting once a week for three hours in a Fall-Spring semester schedule. Extensive critiques, workovers, lectures, and presentations on painting and narrative image creation will be covered in intensive work sessions as well as discussions on business experiences - from contracts to self promotion to client negotiations.

Artists wishing to develop their pictorial image making skills do so under Donato's direct tutelage. Group and individual critiques are emphasized and cooperative development is fostered as a means toward resolving visual solutions. Traditional and Digital media are equally welcome.

This is a 13 class semester with a built in 14th class for unexpected student absences.

One class session will be dedicated to the exceptional professional guest, Irene Gallo, publisher of Tor.com near the end of the term in December.

One of the great strengths of the SmArt School program is that mentorees can live anywhere in the world and take part in classes provided they have access to moderate to high speed internet connections. Sessions are run using group meeting software compatable with Macs, PCs, iPads, and even iPhones.

Illuminating examples from art history, samples from Donatos portfolio, and works of contemporary artists will be utilized to provide clarity in the discussions. Lectures and critiques transpire via desktop sharing and digital draw overs of mentorees work in Photoshop. Class size will be limited to no more than ten students in order to offer the greatest interaction on individual critiques as well as inspire rich dialog based upon frequent, formal lectures on topics relevant to the production of high-calibre, polished professional art and illustration.

Topics of discussion slated to be covered include:

Painting Between the Lines - Developing Complex Narrative and Emotional Content
Abstract Thumbnailing and Preliminary Drawings
Compositional Aesthetics - Balance, Pattern, and the Modern Eye
Marketing and Self Promotion
Photographic References - Manipulation and Sampling

Creativity Consciousness

Mastering Metal, Textures and Complex Visual Effects

Controlling Color - Theory and Implementation
Composing with Multiple Figures
Challenges - Advancing your Artistic Career
Business Negotiations - Communication, Correspondence, and Collaboration

Visit External link opens in new tab or windowsmarterartschool.com for information about this class with Donato and classes with seven other professional artists.


External link opens in new tab or windowWhat Dreams Are Made Of

Exhibition Featuring works from Michael Whelan, Donato Giancola, Michael Alfano and Robert Remsen Vickrey

August 3 -16, 2019

Opening reception August 3rd from 5-7PM

In a first time showing at the gallery, Donato will be sharing new works related to his astronomical series and fascination with the merging of nature and humanity.  Donato will be in attendance for the opening, and willing to sign items related to his published book and game artwork, from Middle-earth to Magic:The Gathering.  Come join us for an exceptional exhibit!

Free and open to the public.

Below are a few of the images to be on display.


Middle-earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend

Published by Dark Horse, April 2019

After three years of working with editor Scott Allie, I am very happy to announce that the revised edition of my book on Middle-earth art will be avialable coming this April from Dark Horse Publishing. It has been a real pleasure putting this together and the talents of Chris Horn and Patrick Satterfield have insured its absolutely gorgeous production quality.

The new edition will be massive at 14" tall by 10 wide, offering great panoramic views of double page spreads for all the large scale paintings depicting landscapes inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as viewing many drawings at 100% scale. The tome is now 200 pages, adding over 100 new works of art to this collection beyond the first edition!

As a peek into working methods in the studio, included is a five page process section on the epic canvas, Beren and Luthien in the Court of Thingol and Melian

200 pages, large format

14" x 10" full color hard cover
April 2019 publication date

To pre-order the book visit:

External link opens in new tab or windowbarnesandnoble.com

For those who wish for a little more special edition, Shawn Speakman of the SignedPage.com

and I are offering signed and embossed books. The emboss is that of the sigil of the Kings of Gondor!

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External link opens in new tab or windowIMC 2019

June 10-16, 2019

Amherst College
Amherst, Massachusetts

This June will find Donato once again at the twelfth annual gathering of the Illustration Master Class.  Begun by Rebecca Guay to bring together some of the most talented teachers and students in science fiction and fantasy illustration, this week long, mind numbing, action packed and sleepless night filled experience has no rival in other workshops.  In addition to the usual faculty of Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Irene Gallo, Greg Manchess, Rebecca Guay, Dan Dos Santos,  Scott Fischer, and myself, The IMC welcomes back the incredibly talented and respected Iain McCaig, Mike Mignola, Lauren Panepinto, Marc Scheff, and new comer Karla Ortiz as its guest additions for the week.  A handful of visiting artists and professionals, will also fill out the engagements throughout the week.

Visit External link opens in new tab or windowartimc.org for information about this years housing and registration. Spaces still available!


Spectrum Live! & Planet Comicon Kansas City

March 29-31, 2019

Kansas City Convention Center
Bartle Hall
301 W. 13th St
Kansas City, MO

External link opens in new tab or windowplanetcomicon.com

Planet Comicon Kansas City this year will be co-hosting the gathering and exhibit Spectrum Live as a sub-convention within their event. One of the largest gatherings of science fiction and fantasy artists, Spectrum Live offers a chance to connect with other professionals within the industry while reaching out to interact with the thousands of fans attending the Comicon.

Respected talent within the science fiction and fantasy genre will be presenting and lecturing at Planet Comicon - Ian McCaig, Miranda Meeks, Chris Claremont, Amanda Conner, J.A.W. Cooper, Bill Carmen, Tran Nguyen - as well as scores of other exhibiting artists.

Donato will be featuring many new works, including the newly expected revised edition of art on J.R.R. Tolkien's world - Middle-earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend published by Dark Horse and due in the states the same week as the convention! The Donato Arts booth will also including nearly 30 interior drawings from the recent Limited Edition novel illustrations for Naomi Novik's Uprooted, interior illustrations for Warrior by Terry Brooks, a new Empathetic Robot painting, and new fantasy and science fiction oil paintings, drawings and prints - From Middle-earth to Game of Thrones - the full range of Donato's interests will be on display.

For more information about Planet Comicon and SpectrumLive, visit:

External link opens in new tab or windowplanetcomicon.com
External link opens in new tab or windowspectrumfantasticartlive.com