Friday, June 24, 2016

Squatlin Orator - Facebook Live Stream Recap

This week I did another live drawing session over on Facebook. It went for about an hour and a half and I finished a drawing. I set out with a game plan this time around and had a goal in mind. At the end of the session I had created the Squatlin Orator, here is how it turned out...

Squatlin Orator
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
Real time drawing video
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

Overall the session went very well. I received some really great questions and had a lot of fun drawing. For whatever reason, Facebook is not allowing me the option to embed the video over here on blogger, so I have included links below so that you can go back and watch the video at your leisure...

https://www.facebook.com/christopherburdett/videos/10154270579065948/?pnref=story

I look forward to doing more of these as time allows and interest continues. A big thanks to everyone that came out to watch me drawing and to ask me questions. Hope you got a lot out of the experience! Hopefully whatever issue with embedding the videos on other sites will be addressed so that I can share them all here as well.

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, June 22, 2016

Emberhorn Minotaur - Princes of the Apocalypse Process

I have another VERY overdue process post for you. Today I am sharing the process and steps that went into the Emberhorn Minotaur piece that I did for the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragon's release of Princes of the Apocalypse. I first shared this piece with you back in April of 2015 which means I painted it in 2014... so, yeah, this is a little overdue. So many other things going on. Anyway, here is how the final piece turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur
Dungeons & Dragons - Princes of the Apocalypse
12 x 9 - Acrylic, pencil, and gouache on board 

Because this was one of my first traditional paintings for a client it was a rather stressful piece to work on. I talked about this a bit when I shared the process of the campaign piece to this one, Scrag Attack. The Scrag piece had a bit more going for it while I worked on it that this one lacked. In the end this piece was a LOT harder to get across the finish line. The lighting, the figure, and all the items in the scene that I needed to include were just a few of the things I struggled with. Not to mention the composition ended up being a little different then I had planned.

As with each and every other piece I create there were thumbnails. I shot photo reference of me as the Minotaur and as the warrior. I wanted to do a piece that was up close to the action right before the Minotaur, who is breathing fire, slams its axe against the warrior's shield. Here are how those thumbnails turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Thumbnails

While 'B' was the winner, production wanted me to pull the camera back a bit and include the entire weapons for both figures. I REALLY liked the cropped weapons, I felt that it drew more attention to the figures looking at each other and the fire... but I made the change. Also, there Minotaur needed to be a little taller. I was fine with that. Here is how the updated thumbnail turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Updated thumbnail

Now that I had an approved thumbnail it was time to get to work on the drawing. This went quicklu and without issue. Here is how the final drawing turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper
Original - SOLD

There was some concern from production that the fire didn't appear to be going in the right direction. To make sure it looked right I added some more volume to the fire ball and made sure that it was coming forward and did not appear to be blowing to the left. I made this edit digitally since it would have meant erasing a lot of line work on the drawing and would have, in my opinion, made for a less visually appealing drawing. Here is a the edited drawing...

Emberhorn Minotaur - edited drawing
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper with digital edit

With an approved drawing it was time to get started on the painting... and the stressing out and panicking. Here is the painting coming together is 15 stress free steps...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Process progression

The Minotaur was never the problem. The Minotaur was fun and  came together easily. It was the interior, the warrior, and the braiser of coals in the background that caused me nothing but hardship. I fought with this piece for way too long and it nearly won every battle. In house the cavity in the wall above the braiser was an issue and I was told it was not reading at all. Eventually it was removed. This was a learning experience since there was paint over paint over paint by the time I removed it, so that meant even more paint on top that needed to match everything else. Once I got the piece to a point I did not completely hate it I showed it to an outside advisor who told me it was totally not done. The entire environment needed more work as well as a lot of work to the warrior. This in no way totally and completely made me question what I was doing trying to attempt this piece traditionally. ... So I got to work adding more more more to everything. Added a lot more to the environment and reworked the warrior by making him more narrow overall which makes him appear taller. EVENTUALLY, I got to a stopping point and I turned the piece into the client. Here is an animated progression of the painting to better show how the piece evolved...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Animated process progression

I turned the piece in and it was approved, save for one thing that was completely out of my control. Here again is the final painting for the Emberhorn Minotaur...

 
Emberhorn Minotaur 
Dungeons & Dragons - Princes of the Apocalypse 
12 x 9 - Acrylic, pencil, and gouache on board  

While I was given approved reference and style guide images of the Minotaur, at some point it was decided that the new Minotaur hooves were not wanted and more traditional hooves were requested. I made this hoof edit digitally. By the time the edit request came back from production I did not want to have anything to do with this piece anymore and I could do it much quicker and easier digitally. Also, in the long run, the change in the hooves would probably never be an issue or a deal breaker for anyone interested in this piece. I liked the ones I did originally and kept them. Here is the final print version of the Emberhorn Minotaur turned out...


 
Emberhorn Minotaur - Print final 
12 x 9 - Acrylic, pencil, and gouache on board with digital finish 

Learned a lot while working on this piece and hope to never find myself in that situation again anytime soon. I felt like I was dangerously in over my head and that is just not a good place to be while trying to make art, at least for me.

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, June 20, 2016

Eau-de-nil Elder - Monsters on Toned Paper - Final Drawing and Render Time Lapse

Today I have for you the finished Eau-de-nil Elder. I previously shared the line work and time lapse for this piece here on the blog. There has been a couple month gap during the creation of this piece, but I am happy to say that it is now finished. As with the line work, I recorded myself doing all of the rendering and made a time lapse of it. Before I get ahead of myself, here is the completed Eau-de-nil Elder...

Eau-de-nil Elder
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

It took me 3.5 hours spread over three separate sessions to complete the rendering of this piece. I condensed that time down to 25 minutes for the time lapse. I know that is a bit to watch, but if it were any faster you wouldn't be able to see what I was doing. If you are interested in how I work and how I draw, this is a really good opportunity to see just that.


Eau-de-nil Elder render time lapse
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

If you are doing the math, that was 3.5 hours to render, it was about an hour to do the line work, to do the original digital sketch it was about an hour, and the photo reference shoot took about 15 minutes. Sometimes these pieces go quicker, sometimes they take longer. It all really depends on the drawing, the amount of distractions, and the amount of time I can spend on the piece uninterrupted.

This is the eighth piece in this series that includes the Aberrant Stilter, Belled Kreep, Corrupted Knight, Dight-Kin, Gray Wanderer, Smokestack, and Thrice.

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, June 17, 2016

Prepping for my Next Live Facebook Session

Last week I tested the waters of live casting myself drawing over on Facebook. Currently, I am getting ready for my next live drawing session. The test was very much a seat of my pants event. Any thought of having a plan immediately went out the window once I went live. This next time I hope to be a little more focused on working on a specific drawing. I want to better show off my process and how I build up a drawing from a sketch. To that end I have worked up a pair of sketches that I hope to use in future live casts on Facebook...

Pending Live Session Monster #1
8.5 x 11 - Digital sketch

© 2016 Christopher Burdett

Pending Live Session Monster #2
8.5 x 11 - Digital sketch

© 2016 Christopher Burdett

Not exactly sure when I will be doing the next live session, but hopefully it will happen sometime in the coming two weeks. Still need to get a feel for how often people will want to see this type of thing from me and if I can stay fresh and interesting. Also not sure how much I will be able to complete in a single sitting while answering questions and talking. It will be a learning experience for everyone! Keep an eye out on my Facebook or Twitter feed, I will be posting that I am going live shortly before I do so. Hope to see you there!

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, June 15, 2016

Experimenting with Tilt Brush

Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to experiment and play around with Tilt Brush at the office. Tilt Brush is a VR painting program put out by Google for use on a HTC Vive. The office had invested in the Vive set up as we explore options using VR and what the near future will hold for this technology. I have invested about two hours of time with the Vive and Tilt Brush and found it all very interesting. Here are some thoughts and what I have created in those two hours, which were spread across three different sessions...

Fire Giant head
45 minutes working time

The Good - I found Tilt Brush, and the Vive for that matter very intuitive. I put it on and it all made sense and I was working immediately. I felt really no learning curve and everything felt more or less natural. Tilt Brush is a good proof of concept application. It has enough to get you going and just enough to keep it interesting for an extended amount of time. It is still very much a toy version of a painting / art interface but it is robust enough to have fun with and to get a taste of what could be just around the corner as far as VR technology for artists is involved. I was able to quickly and easily (after looking it up on... Google) export stills and gifs from what I was working on. There are two options for exported gifs, a five second free form capture and a auto generated rocking motion. There is also the option to export the file as a 3D model of some sort, but I have not looked into this.

The Bad - The more I experimented with Tilt Brush the more I realized how much was lacking and how little control you have over your environment. Once you start working you can not move your creation in space. You can move where you are standing in comparison, but you have no control over movement on the y axis. Likewise, you can not manipulate, sculpt, or warp your creation. If the eyes are too close together... they are just too close together, unless you want to erase them and start over. I would also like to see 3D brushes. There is no way to create any real volumes currently. I mostly used the oil brush and it was GREAT, but you, for a better analogy, are dragging paint over the surface of an invisible surface when working. There is also no way to move the light source. BUT, this is a test of concept application and it is a really slick piece of programming. There are just a bunch of features I have grown accustomed to in this type of application and I am sure they will be added in time.

The Ugly - This might have to do more with our current set up and the limited area we can currently devote to the Vive, but there were one or two dead spots and warp spot in the room that made working with Tilt Brush rather challenging. If I stood in just the wrong spot my view would dance around and my control would appear to fly away from me. Like I said, this is most likely more of a setup / Vive issue, but it was a hiccup during usage. The interface tools were sometimes not the easiest to read. I sometimes did not realize I had the mirror tool on or off until it was a little too late. Another pass on UI design will most likely smooth out any issues.

Overall I am really impressed with the Vive and Tilt Brush, but I am just not sure what to do with it yet. It just still feels like a really expensive toy. Many things we use everyday start this way, so it will be interesting to see where the new wave of VR technology takes us.

Monster #1 - 15 minutes

We had to sign up for blocks of 15 minutes when the Vive was first set up so that everybody had a chance to use it. For my first 15 minutes I got situated using the equipment and quickly knocked out a large nose horn dragon thing...

Dragon thing head
15 minutes working time

When I started working I was very much relying on lines. I more or less drew a dark lined wire frame in space and then filled it in with some color. It was quick and dirty and I got a feel for the equipment and program. Afterwards I thought a lot about how best to approach the program on a second attempt.

Dragon thing head
15 minutes working time

Monster #2 - 45 minutes

On my second time with Tilt Brush I did not have any real time restraints and I had something in mind going in. I wanted to paint a large giant face and to try to create better forms and stay away from lines. This time around I also experiments more with all the different brush options. Many of the brushes are just a little to gimmicky to be practical or are very specialized particle effects, but there are plenty of brush options that are good to work with.

Fire Giant head
45 minutes working time

I may not have created with one with as much dimensionality as I had hoped, but the final piece did feel more painted or sculpted and less like a bunch of lines in space. The fact that I can not raise or lower the piece in space along the y axis is evident here. I was reaching up as far as I could to paint the brow and I was on my knees to paint in the mouth. This is over 7 feet tall in VR / Real space.

Fire Giant head
45 minutes working time

Monster #3 - 60 minutes

Going into my most recent session with Tilt Brush I wanted to reprise my first creation and approach it fresh and with more time. With what I learned on the Fire Giant I figured I could pull off a better dragon this time around...

Blue Dragon head
60 minutes working time

With the exception of the top of the nose horn I am happy with how this turned out. I had a lot of fun with the particle and effects brushes to make the fire and it seemed actually relevant to use them in this situation. I used the wire brush on this piece which seems to be the closest thing to a 3D brush as you can get currently in Tilt Brush. It does not get very large but you can made a mark that had some volume to it.

Blue Dragon head
60 minutes working time

As expected, the more I worked with Tilt Brush the I felt I was getting out of the program what I wanted to. I found ways to add in the details and visual clutter that I like and was able to make a more complex objects. This was the most robust use of VR that I have had the chance to use and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to get my hands on it. I will definitely need to spend more time with it. I look forward to see what Tilt Brush and Vive have to offer!

That is 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, June 13, 2016

Name the Monster Contest Winner!

With the help of Jason Callahan I present to you the newly named Gorplesnatch. I want to thank EVERYBODY who took the time to submit entries. Many of you went above and beyond and gave me lots of additional details about this creature. You all are awesome and it was fun to read them all! If you have not taken the time to do so you should go read the various entries on last week's blog posts or this monster's photo over on my Facebook page. Here once again is the Gorplesnatch...

Gorplesnatch
(Winning name by Jason Callahan)
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper

© 2016 Christopher Burdett

Again, thanks to everyone who participated in the contest! Jason Callahan, I hope you enjoy the drawing! This was sure a lot of fun, I may have to do this again! One last bit of info, it is neither here nor there, I always have names for my monsters, even this one. I personally named this one the Plated Haphtrack. But officially it is now the Gorplesnatch.

That is 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, June 10, 2016

Name the Monster Contest Ends Today! Tilt Brush Preview! Looking ahead to "D" Monsters!

Got a lot of different things for you today. A contest reminder, a peek at things to come next week, and look at the long terms as it pertains to the next waive of monster drawings. Let's start off with the Name the Monster Contest...

Who or what am I?
Leave your answer in the comments below to possibly win this drawing!
9 x 12
- Pencil on paper
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

Here again are some rules, or head over to Monday for the whole story...


  • Tell me who or what this monster is.
  • Submit your entries in the comment section of this blog post or in the comment section of this image when I post it on Facebook on either my account or fan page.
  • Everybody gets 3 chance to tell me who or what this is. Please number them so they are clearly separated.
  • You do not have to submit all your entries at the same time, just make sure you number them.
  • You can submit your entries through Midnight (EST) of Friday June 10th.
  • I will announce the winner and winning name on the blog on Monday June 13th. 
  • If you choose to incorporate the word "RAWR" into your submission it better be AMAZING because I am not looking for hundred variations of cramming "RAWR" into a name.

The office got in a VR set up and I have been playing around with Tilt Brush. Tilt Brush is a VR painting program from Google. I will be doing a full review next week on the blog with lots of images and gifs of what I have been doing. So far I have spent about 2 hours in the program and have three pieces to share. Here is a preview of things to come...

Tilt Brush Monsters! RAWR!

Last but not least, I have begun getting ready to start up on the remaining "D" monsters from the original Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. If you are not familiar with my Fresh From the Drawing Table series, here is the most recent post with ALL the links. I have already completed five of the "D" monsters, but that still leaves 68. That's right, 68 monsters that fall under the letter "D". Most are Dinosaurs, Demons, Devils, and Dragons. Still working on how best to tackle this mighty pile of monsters. I will need to get a game plan since I will be working on these for a while to come. Hopefully I will have new drawings from this series to you soon. Here is a look at the list...

Demons and Devils and Dinosaurs, OH MY!
68 "D" monsters ready to reimagined

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