Ok, on to the tutorial. You'll need a few things to get started. These are as follows:
Although you can use a mouse to paint, I decided to buy a Wacom graphics tablet. The precision of the tablet is crucial to making your image look good. The techniques I discuss will involve using the tablet. I bought a midrange model that cost me about $250 (with a student discount) from a school supply internet store; here is the same model at Amazon.
Finally you'll need some artwork. Always remember that artwork belongs to the artists and is their means of income. If an artist states the artwork is not to be used without permission, it is best not to use it. I try to support the artists whenever I can; I have bought several art books or calenders from Brom, Parkinson, Maitz, Hildebrandt, etc.
Determining whether or not a card is too powerful depends on the context. For instance, a couple of people complained that Destroying Angel was too powerful. After reading their arguement I agreed and changed the text. A whole shield of Destroying Angels couldn't be beat. Wraith Lord, on the other hand, was changed slightly after some complaints but was still very powerful. My reason for doing this was simple: every set includes at least one creature capable of taking down a Guardian. I wanted my set to do the same, so Wraith Lord was unchanged. But Wraith Lord is really the ONLY card in the set powerful enough to defeat a Guardian, so in the context of the entire set I felt the ability was fine. I also felt a Wraith Lord should have been more powerful than a Wraith. So that's what I mean by context.
A helpful guideline for card design was provided by Luke Peterschimdt, on Phil's site. He said the following:
"The basic "formula" for the average card is this.... Vitality = X, Off-Color Bonus = 1/2X, one Bribery icon, no channeling, red CMP bar, no ability. So if you create a card with Vitality 12 and only give it an off color bonus of 2, it should have a good ability."
I've run up against a time limit and I'll have to continue in the next post. I'm sorry I didn't get into the actual Photoshop design but that will be next. Until then, get your materials and designs ready to go!