Titus Lunter is an illustrator and concept artist who has worked on Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: the Gathering and for companies like Riot and Valve. Anna Steinbauer is an illustrator who has also worked on Magic: the Gathering. Magali Villeneuve is an artist and fantasy author who’s worked on (no prizes for guessing) Magic: the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, A Game of Thrones and with companies like Valve.
Magali Villeneuve illustrated the cover of the next DnD 5e campaign setting and shared the image on her blog in July.
On August 25th all three of them flew to Sea-Tac airport in Seattle, America, for what Lunter describes as “an upcoming Dungeons and Dragons concept push”, from Europe. They had ESTA Visa Waivers which allowed all of them to travel to the United States for business or pleasure.
The details are still coming out, and Wizards of the Coast are yet to comment – and probably won’t make a public statement – but something went wrong.
The three artists were taken aside by immigration offers, went through six hours of interviews and waiting before being cuffed and taken to an ICE dentation centre. They spent 11 hours in the centre before being flown back to Europe.
The account of the ordeal comes from Titus Lunter who describes the American agents as courteous and notes they were allowed to make one or two phonecalls. On the other hand, they were not given beds and had to surrender their passports.
All three are now banned from the ESTA Visa Waiver scheme and will have to make individual applications should they try to enter the United States again.
There is nothing to say that the American customs agents were incorrect. It is possible that one or more of the group had travelled on the Waiver scheme too often, as I’m no lawyer, but I believe there is a maximum number of days and trips associated with it.
I’ve noticed that Anna Steinbauer, at least, has an InPrint store well worth checking out for reasonably priced and amazingly drawn illustrations.