Terese Nielsen

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Terese Nielsen
Born 1966 (age 47–48)
Education Art Center College of Design
Occupation Artist

Terese Nielsen (born in Aurora, Nebraska, 1966)[1] is a California-based freelance fantasy artist.

Early life and education[edit]

Terese Nielsen was raised in Nebraska, and after high school she went to Rexburg, Idaho to study art at Ricks College in the fall of 1984.[2] Upon completing her studies there, she made her way to California to accept a scholarship at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and graduated with "great distinction," the highest honor, in April 1991.[2]


Early in her career, Nielsen helped Landmark Entertainment create the look of their theme parks.[2] She illustrated several superhero trading cards for DC and Marvel.[2] She completed a couple of graphic novels for Marvel, including Ruins, and also painted several Xena comic covers for Topps, and Star Wars covers for Dark Horse.[2]

She began working for Wizards of the Coast in 1996.[2] She has also worked on numerous Magic: The Gathering card sets and several images for the Harry Potter trading card game released in 2001.[2] Nielsen has gained a fan following mainly because of her illustrations for the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.[3] Nielsen has produced art for both Magic and Wizards of the Coast's other products since 1996, in addition to her work as an illustrator of book covers & interiors and movie posters. She has served as a juror for the Spectrum Awards.[4]

Nielsen illustrated the graphic novella which was included as part of the 1993 video game Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. In a favorable review, Scott A. May wrote, "Nielsen's dark, disturbing visions carry over to many of the game's hand painted back-drops, drawn from a gloomy palette of deep red, blue, and black."[5] In the video game genre, her influence can be seen in Sierra's Gabriel Knight series, and in her work for 3DO's Meridian 59, and she worked with Mythic Entertainment creating the look for the advertising campaign promoting the interactive internet game Dark Age of Camelot.[2]

In reviewing her work "Savant" in the Wildstorm Gallery collection released in 1996, critic Joseph Szadkowski wrote, "Imagine British artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti tickled into a mood by a Sex Pistols album to fully appreciate the Nielsen style."[6] Szadkowski also praised Nielsen's work in the Marvel Comics Code of Honor series (1997).[7]

She has created the look for the Sembia series for the Forgotten Realms novels and Greg Keyes' Age of Unreason series published by Del Rey.[2] Endorsed by Lucas, she was involved in several Star Wars pieces for The New Jedi Order, also published by Del Rey.[2] Nielsen did the cover artwork for the Dungeons & Dragons setting Jakandor, Land of Legend and Jakandor, Isle of Destiny in 1998, illustrated the covers of three issues of Dragon, and several Forgotten Realms novel covers.

In 1999 the Alderac Entertainment Group published the Gamemasters' guide of the 7th Sea role-playing game, with all art covers since then (main guides and supplements) mainly painted by Nielsen. Also in 1999, she received a nomination for a Chesley Award, Best Gaming-Related Illustration, for her illustration of the card "Ertai, Wizard Adept".[8]

Angel Quest[edit]

In 2005 Terese was asked by Brian and Alex Tinsman, the founders of Angel Quest, to design, art direct and illustrate a set of 100 cards suggesting 100 random acts of kindness to perform. Some of the quests are as simple as smiling or giving someone a hug and some require more time such as picking up trash in your neighborhood or writing a letter to an individual that has made a difference in your life.

Angel Quest is the first project in which my talents, heart and soul completely converged in a profoundly fulfilling way.

Extreme alteration[edit]

One service provided by Terese to her Magic the Gathering fans is an "extreme alteration" where she will radically alter the card by painting over it. These works have been collected and 2 series of posters displaying the altered cards are currently selling on her website.

Education and family[edit]

Nielsen grew up in Nebraska[1] and graduated from the Art Center College of Design in April 1991. Her brother is another long-time Magic: The Gathering artist, Ron Spencer. Terese Nielsen is the ex-wife of Cliff Nielsen,[9] with whom she illustrated the Marvel comic book Ruins.


  1. ^ a b Felt, Kevin (17 November 2007). "Painter of "Magic" cards inspiring random acts of kindness". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Terese Nielsen". Archived from the original on Feb 24, 2009. 
  3. ^ Ednalino, Percy (September 4, 2000). "And tattoos, too: 'New school' artists versatile", The Denver Post, p. G1.
  4. ^ (May 2002). "9th Spectrum Art awards", Science Fiction Chronicle 23 (5): 6–7.
  5. ^ May, Scott A. (1994). "Entertainment choice—Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Compute! 16 (6): 88–9. 
  6. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (April 27, 1996). "Artistry at a low price: Masterfully drawn 90-card collection leads the pack", The Washington Times, p. B4.
  7. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (April 19, 1997). "Nazis, Daemonites and X-Men", The Washington Times, p. B4.
  8. ^ (April–May 1999). "Chesley Award nominations", Science Fiction Chronicle 20 (5): 5.
  9. ^ "Terese Nielsen Bio". Retrieved 2013-06-29. 

External links[edit]