Friday, August 7, 2020

Eidolon Miniature

Today I have for you the closest thing that there will likely be a miniature of myself. I illustrated the Eidolon for Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. If you are unfamiliar with the origins of this particular creature, you must only look back to the original Player's Handbook to see a giant statue holding a brazier that it losing one of its jeweled eyes. At some point, that statue got fed up and decided to toss the brazier down and seek its revenge. That was where I cam in and my painting.
 
Eidolon
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

In the past, I have talked about my surprise that some of the monsters that I have designed and painted were turned into miniatures. This particular one seemed like it could eventually end up as a miniature, and I am happy to see that it did sooner rather than later. As I have mentioned many times here on the blog that I use myself for nearly all reference required for my monsters, this makes this particular mini the nearest I will come to be cast in plastic. Not that this is in any way a direct self-portrait, there are physical tells in the pose and posture that have carried over to the mini that I see as being me. It's the little things. Here are some images of the final production miniature of the Eidolon.

Eidolon Miniature
 
That's all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here next week. Until then...
 
For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Gen Con 2020 - Through the Looking Glass

This past weekend was Gen Con 2020, or Gen Con Online. As part of the involvement for vendors, artists, and authors, we were all part of Looking Glass. Looking Glass is a virtual exhibit floor that offers search features and a unique interactive interface.

The Looking Glass Galaxy.

As an exhibiting artist for Gen Con 2020, I was a part of the experience. There was a straightforward landing page we needed to populate that included an avatar or photo, samples of your work, searchable keywords, a bio, and projects worked on. There was also the option to link to live events or other related live activities you would be offering. With everything happening in the world and at home, I, unfortunately, could not do more than the bare minimum. Other artists I know hit the ground running and were able to generate sales and traffic, but I was not. It was wonderful that Gen Con did all this work and allowed us to still connect with the Gen Con community. At last count, there were in the neighborhood of twenty thousand attendees to Gen Con online. I know I am not alone in dealing with COVID fatigue, and I did as much as I could to get the most out of Looking Glass.

The Christopher Burdett solar system.

A huge thanks to everyone at Gen Con for making this happen and to everyone that still made Gen Con happen! Hopefully, this time next year, we will be returning home from Indianapolis and Gen Con 2021.

That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Friday, July 31, 2020

Kickstarter Roundup - Sideriadis

Today on the blog, I wanted to point out a current Kickstarter project that I think you all might be interested in. It features fantastic art and stories, and if you have not already checked them out, you should do so NOW!


Today I have for you Jon Sideriadis' Astromythos: Book One! I have known Jon for a couple years now and had the privilege to have a table next to his at Gen Con last year. I was already familiar with his work, but I got to talk at length about his stories, art, plans, and books. He is a creator of worlds, monsters, stories, and lore, and I can not wait to get a copy of his first book. The Kickstarter funded in about an hour and stretch goals are already getting ticked off. As an artist that created worlds and tells stories, I can not speak highly enough of Jon's work.  Now is the time to get in on what will indeed be a one of a kind book.

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Gen Con 2020

For those in the Gen Con art show, today would have been set up day. We had either arrived in the last day or two, or we are driving or flying into Indianapolis at various times throughout the day. We hit the ground running to get all of our stuff into the convention center and set up as quickly as possible, all the while stealing precious moments with faces we have not seen in months. A quick hug here, a high five there, some excited words and talk of where we all will be eating dinner or grabbing a drink later in the evening, soon we would be sweaty and tired having toiled in the sweltering convention center. It is the start of four or five exhaustive days of a special kind of family reunion.

My Gen Con set up in 2011, my first year in attendance.

There is a smell to Gen Con. Not the one often joked about when a throng of game enthusiasts, though that can be found if you search for it. I think it is the carpet, or the air handling system, or maybe even an odor that is pumped into the center. It is partially chemical and yet also clean. It brings a smile to my face when I smell it for the first time. I know that I am home. When you arrive on set up day, there are two clearly divided groups, the first has come to play and game for four or more days, and that is about to bust in anticipation for the first day of Gen Con to begin. The second is already working and likely has been working for at least a day to get everything perfect for the days to come. While I know very few at Gen Con that exhibits beyond the borders of the Art Show, there are familiar faces in the crowds. Venders that have repeatedly set up in the same location so that I pace them multiple times in a given day. I don't know them, I have never talked to them, but they are kinsmen of the con and seeing them somehow makes me feel comforted and that I am among my people.

My Gen Con set up in 2018.

This Gen Con would have been my tenth consecutive year in attendance. This Gen Con would have seen the release of my book, The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. This Gen Con I would have attended as one of three Featured Artists. None of this is happening. I resigned myself to this reality some months ago having taken a realistic view of our nation's lack of sets to address the existence of COVID19, let alone do anything to combat it. We have the virtual Gen Con that will be starting tomorrow, and there will be around 20,000 in attendance, which is inspiring in and of itself. It is significant that so many events have taken on the challenge of hosting a virtual event this year. However, I feel if something does not happen this year to address the pandemic, there will be no events next year as the convention can not financially afford not to have in-person events.

My Gen Con set up in 2019. I was liquidating the last of my client merch and older work in preparation for the arrival of my book and all the art and prints that would be associated with it.

As exhausting as these big conventions are and as much as I sometimes wish for a respite from the time and energy commitment, now that is has come to pass and it is not happening, I miss it. I miss the people that I share these crazy four days with, the friends in the art show, the friends in attendance, and the new friends we make each year. There is never enough time, and the convention is over in a blink, but those moments we have are special and keep me going for the rest of the year. Gen Con, in many ways, has been an artistic reset for me each year. An ending and a beginning. This year would have been the best of beginnings for me, but alas, that is not to be. We look to next year. We shall hope. We shall be patient. There has to be another Gen Con, and when that happens, I will be there as a Featured Artist, and I will have my books with me.

The crowd waiting to get into Gen Con 2019 and the reason you can't have Gen Con during a pandemic.

That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Monday, July 27, 2020

MORE Recent Artist Proof Drawings

Today I have for you a selection of recent artist proofs that I added drawings to their backs. I have seen a recent increase in interest in artist proofs, which is nice. If you are interested in getting any of these for yourself, just follow the links to my store. Enough promotion, here are some drawings!

Balls of eyes and teeth, Gremlins, and screaming lizards.
Most of these were shipped out awhile ago, but with deadlines, I am one sharing them now.

That's all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Friday, July 24, 2020

Kickstarter Roundup - Alba, Colin (Creature Curation), and Black

Today on the blog, I wanted to point out some current Kickstarter projects that I think you all might be interested in. All feature fantastic art and products by remarkable people, and if you have not already checked them out, you should do so NOW!


First up is Elisabeth Alba's The Everyday Witch Oracle Coloring Book! Elisabeth is a fantastic artist, and we are lucky enough to own a couple of her originals. We have known her for years, and her work a prized addition to our collection. Her new project is a coloring book of witches in everyday settings looks brilliant, and we can not wait to get our hands on it. The pages in the book are perforated to make coloring easy, and there is a tier to support the campaign that allows you to get two books, one to color and one to keep pristine... or two to color! You can also get original art as well.


Next up is Brian Colin's (Creature Curation) RPG Squeeze Series 2 – Squishy Dungeon Crawl Critters! Brian is a mighty monster maker, and I love his work immensely. In addition to drawings, paintings, and sculptures, Brain and Creature Curation produce RPG products, pins, and other monster related products, including adorably cute squeeze monsters. This current Kickstarter is for the second series of features Eyegors, Gelatinous Cubes, and Mimics. There are standard versions, rare variants, and exclusive versions available through the campaign. There is a wide range of tiers to support, and there are unlocked stretch goals and add-ons to take advantage of. I can not wait to get my hands on some squeezy monsters!



Lastly is Steven Russell Black's Curious Adornments Enamel Pins! If you are unfamiliar with Steven's work, you are missing out. I have supported Steven's campaigns in the past to get my hands on his art books, and they are treasured in my collection. As an artist that prefers to draw, I LOVE Steven's drawings and pencil work. This particular campaign is for enamel pins based on his work. If you know me, you know I love enamel pins and try to get my hands on them whenever possible. This campaign started out with three available pins, and already a fourth has been unlocked. I am really looking forward to the tiger pin, but all will be prized in my collection. 

All three campaigns are funded, and either has stretch goals unlocked or will soon start unlocking them. Now is the time to support artists and get yourself some incredible art and objects!

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Hellfire Engine - Dungeons & Dragons - Process

Today I have for you a monster that was released just over two years ago, the Hellfire Engine. This devilish construct was part of my work on Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Going into this particular assignment, I was a little concerned I would figure this monster out. It was an update of an existing monster, but the reference was a little sparse. This left me a lot of room to explore and figure things out, it also gave me a lot of room to potentially go in the wrong direction. In the end, it all worked out, and I had nothing to fear, but as I was working on the thumbnails, I couldn't tell if I was knocking it out of the park or striking out. Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is the final painting for the Hellfire Engine.

Hellfire Engine
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Since this was a crazy metal devil siege weapon, I jumped into thumbnails without a reference photoshoot. I had a supplied piece of reference, but it was small and heavily cropped. I decided the best course of action for this monster was to get into Photoshop and start playing around to see what works. Here are the three concepts/thumbnails that I ultimately submitted.

Hellfire Engine - Thumbnails
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

While there are things about 'B' and 'C' that I still like, I can definitely see why 'A' was selected. That said, production did have some notes that they wanted to see implemented before I moved on with this monster. They liked some of the things that the other designs had, like more open mouths with more fire, and they wanted fire and smoke coming from all of the horns. Makes perfect sense to me, and I was happy to oblige. Here was the updated thumbnail for the Hellfire Engine.

Hellfire Engine - Revised thumbnail
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Now that there was an approved thumbnail, it was time to flesh out a final drawing that would be the groundwork for my painting. Sometimes with my thumbnails, I am working more with volumes and shapes to get a feel for a design's silhouette, and I am a little less concerned with how something would work in reality. This was one of those times. I had this vaguely triangular composition with a lot of jutting points and curved panels, but the specifics of what was going on in there were a little vague. I didn't know how those clawed hands worked, how the wheels worked, and what was happening with the body behind the front blast plate. I had to figure all that out in the drawing. Thankfully, I find figuring out clarity in a squiggly mess to be a lot of fun, and it is how I draw most of the time. Especially when working on personal work, my thumbnails and sketches are scribbled chaos, and I make sense of them as I render. Here is the final drawing for the Hellfire Engine, with 100% more concrete forms and shapes.

Hellfire Engine
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
Original - SOLD
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The drawing was approved, and I was ready to paint. This was a reasonably straightforward painting, all things considered. I wanted to make sure that it felt like there was hard frontal lighting so that there would be hard shadows that helped establish the different layers in the overall form. The pallet was limited because this monster is mainly bronze and iron, but I threw in some greens to give it some contrast. Here is the Hellfire Engine taking shape.

Hellfire Engine - Process
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Last year I shared with you a custom miniature of the Hellfire Engine created by Miguel Zavala. I still think it turned out pretty cool, and as far as I know, there is still no official miniature for this monster.

Hellfire Engine Miniature by Miguel Zavala
Image courtesy of Miguel Zavala

While looking to see if there is an official miniature for the Hellfire Engine, I stumbled upon the model work of Noa Belfer. They were responsible for making a version of the Hellfire Engine for the Neverwinter game. I had no idea that my monsters were showing up in the game, and I think this is pretty amazing. Noa did a great job of translating my painting into a three-dimensional game character. It is fun to stumble over things like this when you never expected to find them. Of course, now I wonder how many of my D&D monster designs are out there in D&D games that I don't know about.

Neverwinter: Hellfire Engine Mount
Sculpture, modeling, texturing and skinning by Noa Belfer

Lastly, I will leave you once again with my final painting for the Hellfire Engine. Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes was a great project to work on, and I was able to make so many fun monsters.

Hellfire Engine
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com