Thursday, September 18, 2014

Illuxcon 7 - Day 0

Illuxcon 7 is here! Wednesday was my travel day to Allentown, Pa and was the set up day for the main show of Illuxcon. While I did not get over to the museum during set up... not that I think I could have gotten in, there was a three hour preview of the show. I am still very much getting acclimated to the new venue. I missed Illuxcon last year expectantly at the last minute, so this is my first time in Allentown and the Allentown incarnation of Illuxcon. So far, I am finding it VERY awesome! There was not a lot more going on yesterday for me then getting to Allentown, finding the hotel and museum, catching up with friends, looking at and buying art, and having ALL THE FUN. I almost forgot to take pictures of things I was so distracted with fun and friends.  I have four days ahead of me to make up for that.

I have a fun day ahead of me, so I will leave you with some images of my adventures arriving to Illuxcon 7...

Gratuitous shot out the window of a plane...

I got a little lost navigating Allentown at first and went every way but the right one trying to find the venue. Luckily my phone saved me.

There we are! That looks like the place I need to be!

YUP! Found it! I have arrived at Illuxcon!

Spent a lot of time hanging out and catching up with Chris Seaman.

My dear wife bought me very very first Omar Rayyan piece. YAYS!

Ended a late dinner with this larger then life nightmare... RAWR!

More images and coverage of Illuxcon 7 to come! Until then...

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Next stop... Illuxcon 7

Illuxcon 7 is upon us... well, almost. Today is my travel day to Allentown, Pa. As in year's past I will be flying to Illuxcon. This limits what I can bring but with me, but that can be a good thing. The paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, and RAWR! shirts that I am taking are all packed into a pair of suitcases and hopefully they will arrive at their destinations intact. Speaking of suitcases...

Have art - will travel...

Did I mention drawings? Here is a sneak peek at something I finished up just in time for Illuxcon...

Smokestack
9 x 12
colored pencil on paper
© 2014 Christopher Burdett

If you are attending Illuxcon be sure to stop by my table in the Showcase Friday and Saturday night! I hope to see you there! RAWR!

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here for Illuxcon 7 coverage! Until then...

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The monsters are heading to Illuxcon 7!

With everything going on... like Gen Con, the release of the Monster Manual, and tons of other things it has occurred to me that I have not mentioned Illuxcon. You know Illuxcon, that mecca of AWESOME that I will be traveling to tomorrow!

I have spoken about Illuxcon MANY times here on the blog and posted in detail my adventures at said events past. Sadly, I was not able to attend last year due to life events at the last minute ...but thankfully, I am heading back this year! It will be nice to return to catch up with everyone, see lots of art, hopefully learn a thing or two, and take part in the Showcase. That's right, I will be again setting up and peddling my wears in the Showcase taking place Friday and Saturday nights during Illuxcon 7!

Making a debut at Illuxcon 7 will be a bunch of drawings from recently released assignments including all my drawings from the 5th Edition Monster Manual! ALL my drawings from the book and the concept phase of redesigning the monsters...

The monsters of the 5th Edition Monster Manual - RAWR!
9 x 12
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Monster Manual concept drawings - RAWR!
9 x 12
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Be the first to take home monster drawings of stuff I have not even shared on the blog yet! RAWR! I will also have my toned paper work, paintings, sketchbooks, and maybe one or two other new surprises.

If you are attending Illuxcon 7 I will see you there, if not attending look to the blog for regular posts chronically my adventures (hopefully)!

That is all for another exciting Tuesday on the blog, see you back here tomorrow (I think!). Until then...

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Salamander

I will start things off today with saying that this is my favorite illustration that I completed for the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. What monsters is it? Well, none other then the wily Salamander! Even though it stumbled briefly in the design phase it ended up on top of the pieces I produced for the MM (IMHO). Here is my Salamander for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons...
Salamander - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

One last time, with feeling... we were asked to create additional detail sketches that would be used in the design of the book. Not all of the drawing got used for all the monsters, but they were part of the process. Here are the details sketches that I created for the Salamander...
Salamander - Detail Sketches
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

No cropping this time and around! The Salamander ended up nice and big on the page and appears with several detail sketches. Here is a bad photo of theSalamander page I managed to take at Gen Con...
Handy dandy book version of the Salamander for all your RPG needs!

I am all too familiar with the wily Salamander. I redesigned it for myself a handful of months before I was asked to rework it for 5th Edition. While I was working from the same source material for my version and the 5E version I was taking them in very different directions. The 5E redesign needed to be true the classic D&D incarnation of the Salamander... but spruced up for the new edition. With that in mind I got started on some thumbnails...

Salamander - Thumbnails / Concepts
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

While not bad, looking at these now they leave me a little underwhelmed. I think the real issue was that I was designing them to closely in hand with the Fire Snake... which can be understood since they are different stages in its growth cycle. I think they would have done better to have their own workspace to be explored in... but not to worry, I got there in the end. Option "B" won the thumbnail concept competition and I moved it forward to a more finished drawing...

Fire Snake and Salamander - Version 01
12 x 9
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Hurm... awkward... Bad drawings happen. This is why a good relationship with your art director is so important. They help steer you past the bad ones and point the way to find the good ones. This is also the concept phase of everything and less successful ideas need to be explored too. ...I think. You gotta draw the bad ones so they are out and they make room for the good ones. With notes from Jon I approached the Salamander anew...

Salamander - Version 02
9 x 12
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

This was approved without additional notes or revisions. Just needed to get that bad one out and shake it off, the good one was in me. Needed to have some fun with it and not worry so much about it. Now that there was an approved design it was time for some color...

Salamander - Final Concept
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

As mentioned in my Fire Snake post I really expanded upon the initial coloring and patterning on the Salamander when I worked on the final illustration for the book. Wanted to give him a little extra pop.

Well, that concludes the monsters that I painted for the Monster Manual, but there will be plenty more to come. As previously mentioned I redesigned 18 monsters for 5th Edition and I have only shared 4 of those with you so far. Plenty on monsters still to come in the coming weeks! MONSTER OVERLOAD! RAWR!

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition (and for including me in the process to begin with!) and to Daniel Gelon for the art direction on the illustration!

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, September 12, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Fire Snake

Baby monster!

The Fire Snake is an infant Salamander (coming next week!). Much like most of the monsters I have been sharing I both designed and illustrated it. Fire Snakes are cute little totally harmless ...neutral evil snappy super heated bodied baby monsters determined to kill your hero. Here is my Fire Snake created for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons...

Fire Snake - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

As I have repeated and repeated... we were asked to create an additional series of detail sketches that would be used in the design of the book. Not all of the drawing got used for all the monsters, but they were part of the process. Here are the details sketches that I created for the Fire Snake...

Fire Snake - Detail Sketches
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

The Fire Snake did not receive any cropping and ended up a solid quarter page monster, but none of the detail sketches made it into the book. Here is a bad photo of the Fire Snake page I managed to take at Gen Con...

 Handy dandy book version of the Fire Snake for all your RPG needs!

I designed the Fire Snake and the Salamander (like I said, next week!) at the same time and for a time they were designed in tandem. I was asked to separate them during the design process and they went off to live their own monstrous lives. I have edited out the Salamander in these to not give out any secrets just yet. I of course started things off with some thumbnail concepts...

Fire Snake - Thumbnails / Concepts
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

There was not a lot of reinventing the wheel with the Fire Snake... it is a crazy snake monster that grows up to be a Salamander. A lot of its character came from what I was doing with the Salamander. Option 'B' was looking good and I worked up a small but more fleshed out version of the Fire Snake. Sadly the Salamander was not working and the two needed to part ways. Here is the first version of the Fire Snake...

Fire Snake and Salamander - Version 01
12 x 9
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Now that is was off on its own the Fire Snake can live large and be in charge. Not much changed from the first version except for getting rid of the sneer and getting more detail and attention. Here is the final drawing of the Fire Snake concept...

Fire Snake - Version 02
9 x 12
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Now that the Fire Snake is all approved it is time to get some color on it. If you compare the color versions of the final concept and the illustration you will see I enhanced the details and patterns a lot. Next week you will see more of that with the Salamander. The illustration just allowed me to flesh it out so much more... if I had not illustrated the Fire Snake any artist sticking to this final concept would have produced a totally fine result. It was really nice to have the opportunity to flesh this monster out myself. Here is the final concept for the Fire Snake...

Fire Snake - Final Concept
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition (and for including me in the process to begin with!) and to Daniel Gelon for the art direction on the illustration!

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

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Kraken

Release the KRAKEN!

For this installment of my work on the 5th Edition Monster Manual I have for you the mighty Kraken. I did not design this particular monster but I did illustrate it. The design work for the Kraken was handled by the super amazing creature designer Brynn Metheney and it was a HUGE honor to illustrate one of her designs. Here is my Kraken illustration for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons...
Kraken - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

As mentioned before, we were asked to create an additional series of detail sketches that would be used in the design of the book. Not all of the drawing got used for all the monsters, but they were part of the process. Here are the details sketches that I created for the Kraken...
Kraken - Detail Sketches
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

I will not be sharing the concept work that I used to illustrate the Kraken at this time. As far as I am aware Brynn has not shared her work on it and I am not going to beat her to the punch in displaying her designs. When I post about the process of painting this piece in the coming months I will then share the concept work. What I can mention now is that in the process of illustrating the Kraken I was asked by production to tweak the face/head of the Kraken. More on this as well will be shared in the process post.

Some cropping aside, the Kraken ended up in the book nice and big, but I don't think any of the details sketches made their way into the book. Here is a bad photo of the Ankheg page I managed to take at Gen Con...

Handy dandy book version of the Kraken for all your RPG needs!

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition (and for including me in the process to begin with!) and to Daniel Gelon for the art direction on the illustration!

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

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Aarakocra

FIRST!

Upon opening the 5th Edition Monster Manual the first entry is the feathery Aarakocra... which I just so happened to have redesigned for 5E and illustrated for the MM. Not sure if there is any real benefit to being first in the MM... but it just makes me feel all warm and tingly and gives me a certain amount of monstrous satisfaction. With that all said, let's get to the monster! Here is my redesign and illustration for the 5th Edition D&D Aarakocra...

Aarakocra - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

As mentioned in the Ankheg post, the artists working on the MM were asked to create an additional series of detail sketches that would be used in the design of the book. Not all of the drawing were used for all the monsters, but they were part of the process. Here are the details sketches that I created for the Aarakocra...

Aarakocra - Detail Sketches
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

The Aarakocra did not get cropped and appears with a couple of its details sketches. Here is a VERY bad photo of the Aarakocra page I managed to take at Gen Con...

HORRIBLE photo of the handy dandy book version of the Aarakocra for all your RPG needs!
I wonder why I did not take a second photo...

With the illustration all done, let's jump back in time further to look at the process of redesigning the Aarakocra. The Aarakocra (R-ah-cock-rah? R-ah-coke-ra?) required a bit more time in the concept phase compared to some of the other monsters of 5E that I worked on. I blame those meddlesome six limbs... or the fact that I had already done a bunch of winged things... or ...ah... I draw bad sometimes. Whatever the case I produced several rounds of concepts as we (production / ADs / and I) zeroed in on the design. Here are the three rounds of concepts thumbnails that I produced for the Aarakocra...
Aarakocra - Thumbnails / Concepts
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Aarakocra - Thumbnails / Concepts (Round 2)
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Aarakocra - Thumbnails / Concepts (Round 3)
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

By the time I went into round three the direction was really mapped out and the notes back from production sent me down the right path to a final design. While there were several aspects of the design to still work out I knew what needed to be done and the third round was approved.

Side note! Sometimes (often) I have to shake off the funky sketches and ideas at the beginning of a project. Gotta get the bad ideas out so that I can make something less bad. These bad warms up usually get delete and are NEVER shown to anyone. Looks like some of my SUPER CRAPPY warm up sketches for the Aarakocra survived... aren't you lucky! Two sketches managed to hide themselves in the layers of my thumbnail file while a third was sliced off at the very tip top edge...

Aarakocra - the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE warm up sketches that no one saw
(...but you just have so you are super special!)
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Back to the actual process... With the thumbnails pretty much resulting in a completed design it was now time to clean it up on paper and flesh it all out. Here is the final drawing for the Aarakocra redesign...

Aarakocra
9 x 12
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

This design was approved without comment or revision. It was time to now work up a color version so that anyone working with Aarakocra in the future had an idea of what they should look like...

Aarakocra - Final Concept
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

With the launch of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons has come new miniatures! While I have not been involved with designing the actual miniatures one of the first minis to be released is an Aarakocra which is obviously based on my design. Super thrilled to have miniatures based on my work and even more thrilled to have them in my hands! Here are some images of the Aarakocra mini...

Aarakocra - Miniature
Icons of the Realms
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast / WizKids

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition (and for including me in the process to begin with!) and to Daniel Gelon for the art direction on the illustration!

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

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