Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia Update - Enamel Pins IN HAND!

I shared with you last month some images off the production lines of my enamel pins from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. As of yesterday, I have some samples of those pins in my hands, and I could not wait to share them with you! They have turned out so much better than I could have imagined, and it means we are one step closer to having the Grand Bazaar in our hands. Take a look at these images and see for yourself how they turned out.

The Crest of Ethra VanDalia and the symbol of the Construct Guild enamel pins

The Crest of Ethra VanDalia enamel pin

The symbol of the Construct Guild enamel pin

As soon as I have more updates, you can bet I will be here on the blog sharing it with you. We are getting close, July is right around the corner.

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 1, 2020

Never Shared - Coils of Madness Packaging

Recently while doing some cleaning and organizing, I came across some card packs that I had completely forgotten about.  Not only were they forgotten, after a quick search, I realized I never shared them. These card packs have been tucked away for seven years, and now they are finally getting a little attention here on the blog. Way back in 2012, I worked on the Legend of the Five Rings expansion, Coils of Madness. One of the main pieces I produced for that set was the great mad dragon P'an Ku. The set was eventually released in 2013, and my P'an Ku art was heavily used on the card packaging as well as the card box. I feel like this may have been lost on me at the time because this is something that does not happen with my art with any frequency. Here is a look at the packaging for Coils of Madness.

P'an Ku snapping at you from the front of the packs.

P'an Ku wraps around to the back.

P'an Ku is the featured art on the top of the card box as well.

For an eight year old painting, I still really like this piece. Sure, there are things I would do differently now, but for card art, it still looks great, and I love I doubled down on yellow and made this piece so warm. I really thought this piece was going to be huge for me. I made a ton of prints and playmats of this image, and I just had a feeling this piece was going to sell really well for me. That is not how it ended up working out. When the playmats eventually sold out about five years ago, I never had them reprinted. The prints sold very slowly from the beginning, and I was finally rid of the last ones in February at Pensacon when the last one sold from my deep, deep discount bin. Not the fate I had envisioned for P'an Ku, but that is how it is sometimes. This piece seemed to tick all the boxes for a fan favorite, but the fans were never there. Goes to show that you can never honestly know what will be successful and what will not. Here is the final art for P'an Ku's Madness, as well as the card it appears on. 

P’an Ku's Madness
© 2013 Alderac Entertainment Group

P’an Ku's Madness in handy card form.

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, May 29, 2020

Ankheg Miniature

I have been waiting for this one for so long. I figured it was only a matter of time. Given enough sets of miniatures, the good folks at Wizards of the Coast would see fit to produce a miniature based on my design of the Ankheg for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Well, it finally happened, and to make it even better, the miniature is based on my painting of the Ankheg that I created of the 5th Edition Monster Manual. The Ankheg is a special monster for me and my work on Dungeons & Dragons. It was the first monster that I painted for the second 4th Edition Monster Manual, I was asked to redesign it for 5th Edition, and finally, I painted it for the 5E Monster Manual. And now, after all that time, a miniature has been made of my version of this iconic monster. Here is my painting of the Ankheg.

Ankheg
5th Edition Monster Manual
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Daniel Gelon
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast LLC

This is still one of my favorite pieces that I have painted for D&D. For me, it just hits all the right notes. A giant monster that is an insect, it's kind of crazy and weird, there is some nice action with the piece, and it is an isolated figure. I love a good isolated figure piece, and it is what I have loved about D&D Monsters Manuals since I was a child. That bold image of a monster on the page with nothing to stand in the way of your imagination building the world the monster lives in. Here is how the miniature of the Ankheg turned out.

Ankheg Miniature

I am so happy with how this miniature turned out. Not only were they faithful to my painting, but it is a large miniature. As much as I love miniatures, I love large minis the best. After so many years of hoping, it is really satisfying to finally see this monster made real in plastic.

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, May 27, 2020

Fool Me Once - Imperial Assault - Process

Way back in 2017, there was an Ahsoka Tano Ally Pack released for Imperial Assualt, and in it was one of my paintings, Fool Me Once. Fool Me Once was actually painted in 2015 for an Imperial Assault miniature expansion that was eventually canceled. Hard to believe that it has been five years since I painted this, and it took two years for the art to be used. As with most of the art that I have done for FFG and Star Wars it always gets used, and often reused, used again, and then repurposed for good measure. When this project came my way, I was so excited. Not only was I finally getting to do the main art for an expansion, but I was also creating the packing art, and designing a Star Wars miniature. One of the few things that I have never been able to achieve in my career as an artist has been to design a Star Wars action figure. I got close a couple of times, but it never worked out. With this assignment, I thought I had finally done it. In the end, it didn't happen, but I designed it, so that kind of counts. Maybe a little. This would have been a fantastic Outer Rim Smuggler, but at the end of the day, it became Fool Me Once. Here is how the final painting for Fool Me Once turned out.

Fool Me Once
Star Wars Imperial Assault - Ahsoka Tano Ally Pack
14 x 11 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Deb Freytag
Original - Currently not available, contact me if interested.
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

As with nearly all of my paintings, I began the process with a photoshoot. I dressed up and posed for the Trandoshan guards and the Shistavanen (wolfman) smuggler hero. The painting needed to depict the hero sneaking through starport customs with illicit goods. In this case, it is the packaging for the Slave One X-Wing miniature that contained my Wookiee Gunner card. I also set up my Star Wars action figures in a little diorama to work out compositions lighting. With all the reference collected, I began working on thumbnails. In the end, I submitted three options for this piece.

Fool Me Once -Thumbnails
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Looking back at these now, I am a little shocked that they went with the option 'C.' Options 'A' and 'B,' to my eyes now, are way more dynamic and interesting. Five years on, I would have really liked to have painted option 'A,' that one is really cool with the slight dutch angle. Oh well, what is in the past is out of reach. They chose 'C,' and I painted 'C.' Now that I had an approved thumbnail, it was time to get started on the final drawing.

Fool Me Once - Drawing
Star Wars Imperial Assault - Ahsoka Tano Ally Pack
17 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Deb Freytag
Original - SOLD
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

There were a couple of small edits that were requested with the drawing that I addressed on the paper and not digitally. You can see those edits in the animated process below. At the same time, i was working on the final drawing for the painting I was working on the miniature design for the Outer Rim Smuggler. They did not require a full turnaround of the design, but they needed me to extend the figure past the borders of the painting. This was all simple enough, and it gave me a chance to do another drawing and to finally design a Star Wars figure. We can now see how well that turned out. Here is the final miniature design for what would have been the Outer Rim Smuggler.

Outer  Rim Smuggler - Miniature design
Star Wars Imperial Assault
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Deb Freytag
Original - SOLD
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

With all the pieces in place, it was time to work on the final painting. This time around, I have included everything that went into the painting from the thumbnail to the final painting so that you can see how vital my thumbnails are to my process and the final painting. I work it all out from the beginning, and each additional step adds detail and refines the overall image.

Now is an excellent time to talk about the graffiti in the final painting. This painting made it in just before Lucas Film put its foot down about artists writing things in the Star Wars written language of Aurebesh. Apparently, some artists were sneaking words into their paintings that were not relevant to the work or the world-building. With all of my Aurebesh in my work, I have been world-building and adding a little something extra to the piece. Not that you can ever read any of it at the size the art is printed. In the end, I was asked to blur the text out just a little and not to obliterate it since it only reads, "Yavin 4 was an inside job", "Down with the Empire," and "Hunt or be hunted." I will talk more on another day in regards to all the Aurebesh in my Star Wars paintings and the story I was telling with assignments. A story that FFG and Lucas Film were never aware of.

All that said, here is the animated process of the painting coming together from the thumbnails all the way to the completed painting.

Fool Me Once - Process steps
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Once the painting was finalized and approved, I needed to make the art that would have been used as the packing art for the Outer Rim Smuggler. With all of the miniature packaging, there is a painted figure of what the miniature looks like. This hero shot usually comes from the main art for the miniature pack, which is also the art that the mini is based on. Everything is consistent, and things can be reused. I digitally cut out the smuggler and did some digital clean up of the art. To match the other sets, I smoothed out the painted texture because nearly all of the packing art is digital and very smooth and polished. It was all a quick turnaround for the cleanup and did not take away from the original image. Here is what would have been the packing art for the Outer Rim Smuggler. 

Outer  Rim Smuggler - Packaging figure
Star Wars Imperial Assault
6 x 9.3 - Digital finish over Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Deb Freytag
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

So much work for what ended up being a tiny little card in another miniature's expansion pack. This is the way of things, and so much happens long after the art is done and has little to nothing to do with all the work and time put into the assignment. Things change, and at the end of the day, it was decided that this miniature set was not getting a release. Thankfully the art was used eventually. Here again, is the final art for Fool Me Once.

Fool Me Once
14 x 11 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Original - Currently not available, contact me if interested.
© 2017 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Here is how the art was eventually used. Another heavy crop and tiny print size. Thankfully the art was reused for the Star Wars LCG expansion of Desperate Circumstances, where is was printed larger and more of it was used. It took a while, but most of the art saw the light of day. That is a lot more than I can say about some of my work. But that is a conversation for another day.

Fool Me Once in handy dandy card form

Clever Distraction in handy dandy card form
 
That' 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, May 22, 2020

The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia Update - Enamel Pins

Earlier in the week, I received some exciting news from the good folks at ArtOrder. The production team working to make the enamel pins for the Kickstarter campaign sent photos of the pins off the production line. I can not be happier with what I am seeing. They have turned out beautifully, and I am so excited. As far as I am told, I should have samples in hand in a little over a week, which is also very exciting. After all the writing, drawing, editing, correcting, fixing, designing, campaigning, and everything else I have been doing for these many years that I have worked to make the Grand Bazaar a reality, strangely, feels like it is real. There are tangible artifacts from the Grand Bazaar now in the world - no turning back now.

The Crest of Ethra VanDalia

The symbol of the Construct Guild

Be sure to keep an eye out, for as we get closer to July, I am sure there will be more to share, and it will be here on the blog as soon as I can share it.

That is 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, May 20, 2020

Egg Token - MtG - Commander 2019: Process

At the very end of 2018, I produced one card for the Magic the Gathering set, Commander 2019. The card was the Egg Token set in the realm of Ixalan. I never worked on Ixalan, but I guess this now counts. This was my first token and something a little different from what I usually do. It is always fun to have the opportunity to work on Magic the Gathering and to see my work printed on cards all around the world. My schedule sometimes does not allow me to work on the game, but when it does, I enjoy the adventure. Here is the final painting for the Egg Token.

Egg Token
Magic the Gathering - Commander 2019
12 x 8.7- Digital 
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
 © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

There was plenty of reference to look to for what Ixalan needs to look like, though this is a rather intimate view of that world. I looked at some different animal eggs and got to work on some thumbnails. The assignment was to depict a dinosaur egg that had a slight glow to it, sitting in a nest surrounded by the thick jungles of Ixalan. It seemed straight forward enough. Here are the thumbnails I produced for the Egg.

Egg Token - Thumbnails
Digital
 © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

As it would out, I was sent the incorrect templates for the current token layout. This meant that all of my thumbnails were wrong and needed to be scrapped. That said, production liked where option "A" was headed and asked that I use it in combination with the correct template and see what happens. There were some things going on in the other thumbnails that I really preferred, but that is how things go sometimes. Never send in a thumbnail that you do not what to end up using. Here is the updated thumbnail that I submitted. 

Egg Token - Updated thumbnail
Digital
 © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

This updated thumbnail was approved and approved, and I was given the go-ahead to do my favorite step, the drawing. Due to my work on the Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia, I was unable to allow the time to create the line drawing as well as the value study. Never enough time in the day sometimes and something has to give. Now that I am not doing the value study for these cards, I realize how useful they are. Here is the final version of the drawing.

Egg Token Drawing
Magic the Gathering - Commander 2019
11 x 14 - Pencil on Paper
Original - SOLD
 © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

Please note that the plant in the lower-left corner is merely a plant. It is nothing noteworthy at all. When this card was released, there were some people insistent that this plant was, in fact, a black lotus. It is clearly not, and I am not nearly that clever when it comes to hiding Easter Eggs in my Magic work. I have hidden plenty in my Star Wars work, and I am extremely well versed with D&D, and I think I do plenty of world-building there, but with Magic, I don't try to play around. Also, this particular bit of foliage is blue in the final and not black. I needed something other than more green and something cool in color for the corner. No matter what you think you see, it is just a plant. I have spoken.

As far as the drawing goes, I was asked to make sure that the egg was not so busy with its pattern and to do something more striaghtforward so that it stands out against all the plants and nest. Here is an animated process of the painting coming together.

Egg Token - Animated process
  © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

This process includes both the original version of the cards as well as the revised final version. When I submitted the card, I had given the egg a bit more glow than production had wanted as well as removing the tiny skull. As I was working on this piece, I felt the skull was not working. It was an odd little piece of clutter. Yes, it is there for scale, but it just seemed, to me at least, that it was not working. So I added a new layer and painted over it. This is one of the good things about working digitally, that skull was still there to bring back to the forefront. Also, adjusting the glow, at the end of the day, was not a herculean effort either. There was a little painting needed, but the layer setup allowed me to get in there and worry over the affected areas directly. Here is a comparison of the original and final versions of the Egg Token.

Egg Token - Original and final comparison
  © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

To be honest, I still feel this piece is just a little off. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel like I could make it better. That is sometimes the way it is with a painting. Here again, is the final version of the Egg Token in all its eggy glory and well as the final production card that completely obscures the supposed black lotus. WHICH IT IS NOT.

Egg Token
  © 2019 Wizards of the Coast

Egg Token in handy dandy card form

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

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

Monday, May 18, 2020

Recent Artist Proof Drawings, Sketches, and More

Today I have for you a selection of recent artist proofs that I added sketches to as well as another sketchbook drawing. I have seen a recent increase in interest in artist proofs, which is nice. The big sale on my sketchbooks that include a free drawing in the books is keeping me busy as well. If you are interested in getting any of these for yourself, just follow the links to my store

This is a special order of a D&D Lizardman and the Gray Wanderer from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. If you are interesting is something like this that is more involved, please contact me beforehand for availability and pricing.

A couple of Portents and angry lizards.

Yet another salivating angry monster.

This is my favorite of another batch of sketchbooks that recently went into the mail.

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