Friday, July 29, 2011

ImagineFX issue #72

As I left our local Borders book store in the throes of it's going out of business sale I happened to look back into the store front windows to see the magazine racks. There on the rack were several copies of ImagineFX and I thought I might go back in and have a look since I had not seen the current issue yet. Am I glad I did it!

ImagineFX #72
In stores now... and currently at 20% off at Borders.

As I flipped through the issue I saw many familiar names and faces of artist I know. When I got to page 30 I saw an even more familiar name... (at the bottom)

HUZZAH! Unexpected promotional surprise!

Always so much more awesome when it is a surprise. This also explains a comment left on the blog about seeing my blog in ImagineFX... I was all like, 'huh? what?'. That was me being out of the loop, now I am back in it. I would like to thank Beren Neale over at ImagineFX for the shout out, totally unexpected and very much appreciated!

Close up... but since you are reading this... you don't need to read this, because you already know...

In the future, if you see something about me in a magazine or website, and I have not mentioned it here on the blog, shoot me a note. I might not know about it, so I can tell my mom about it... because personally I have no interest in such things... :P

That is all for another week on the blog! NEXT WEEK: GEN CON 2011! I will be wrapping up last minute issues at the beginning of the week and traveling to Indianapolis next Wednesday. I will do my best to keep the blog updated with all the news and events of Gen Con as I see them from my table in the Artist Alley! Until then...

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Undead Revisited: marks on paper

Earlier this month I shared with you the work I contributed to the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Undead Revisited gaming supplement. I mentioned I would be sharing some of the work that went into the assignment and that is what I have for you today. Since the main focus of the assignment was the opening illustration, I will be just talking about that one piece.

It always begins with a thumbnail or thumbnails. For this piece is was a matter of making sure I got all the required elements together into on cohesive image. I needed the alley, the dropped torch, the dead alchemist and the horrific shadow on the wall. Though the thumbnail is really rough it gives me a starting point and a way to show the kind of reference I will require.

It may be rough, but it am a necessary step of the process... and I usually do not make a habit of showing them to people.

Did somebody say reference? Get that camera out, we have reference to shoot! Lighting and angle was key to this piece and there is only one way to nail it and that is to set it up and make sure I can see how really looks. Take more photos then you need and don't be afraid to try different things, happy accidents are awesome and allow you to discover things you would have never imagined.

Another roll I was born to portray... a dead elf.

Now to work out all the elements and compose the scene. Still working digital I can move elements around and quickly add, delete and change everything till I have a finalized draft. Some things are still really loose and other are much tighter but all the key information is there so that I can move forward on a final drawing.

It is all coming together.

Looking at the reference and using my draft to work off of I create the final drawing. I am adding detail and addressing areas that my not have been correctly resolved in the draft. This is the most fun part of the whole process for me and I really can loos myself in the drawing.

Shadow Opener Drawing
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

There was one note to make the shadow monster more horrific and twisted as I moved from the drawing to the final painting, but that is easy to address. The rest is time and hard work in photoshop and on the other end of several days is the final painting. And if you look closely, you should still see my drawing peaking through in places... which I kind of really like!

Shadow Opener
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

That is all for another exciting day on the blog, I will 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:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gladiator Monster to the rescue...

It is one of those days filled with too much and with not enough time to do it all. Luckily this monster wandered by to stand in for today's blog post. Thanks Mr. Gladiator Monster, that was really nice of you to help me out!

RAWR! I am a monster that fills space!
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

Hopefully by Wednesday things will be a little calmer... maybe. Until then...

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting ready for Gen Con 2011 - What's in the box?!

Another strange big box showed up at the house... what could it be? Could it be a surprise for Gen Con? ...I say knowingly... Let's have a look at what surprises it might contain!

That is a much bigger box then the last one that showed up.

Well, I guess some sheets of paper make a good and protective packing material.

HOLY COW! Look at the huge stacks of books in there!

creatura libri 2, who would have ever imagined such a thing?!

Just look at all those monsters! Page after page of monsters!

And this time around not just monsters created for myself, but monsters created for some of my clients such as Fantasy Flight Games, Paizo Publishing and Wizards of the Coast!

Now there are two great ways to get 32 pages drawings of my creatures, monsters and things with tentacles! That is over 60 pages of monster drawings in two handy collections!

creatura libri 2 contains drawings as of yet unseen by anyone as well as production drawings that I have never released yet! I am happy with how creatura libri turned out, I am even more so pleased with the quality of creatura libri 2. I will have copies of both creatura libri and creatura libri 2 as well as Pandas 1-36 available at Gen Con. As with the first book, creatura libri 2 has space in the front so that I can personalize it with an original drawing if you so choose. If you are not attending Gen Con or Illuxcon this year you will have to be a little patient, but eventually copies of creatura libri 2 will be available to everyone.

If you are attending Gen Con, you can be the envy of your friends and enemies by being one of the first to own your very own copy of creatura libri 2! See you there!

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

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Dungeons of Golarion

I found an unexpected surprise in the mail on Monday afternoon, my copies of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Dungeons of Golarion! Fresh on the heals of Undead Revisited I was working on more undead Paizo Publishing, this time around horrific ghouls in an abandoned Dwarven mine! I also got another chance to put one of the Pathfinder Icons into a dangerous predicament...

Zolurket Mines Opener
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

Zolurket Mines Ghoul
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

Zolurket Mines Raven Bracer
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

You might remember the last time I had the Pathfinder iconic dwarf Hursk in one of my pieces he was doing battle with a Tojanida. It seems he just can't get a break with me... but he did survive the Tojanida. I am much happier with how Hursk turned out this time around! I also was able to paint a whole lot of ghouls and that is pretty great too! Then there is the case of the black fire... what does it look like? does it emit light? is it just freaky magic?

When I first read a art assignments and there is a mention of a group or even just more then one, for some reason my mind immediately jumps to a number between 20 and 50 for the number I should have. So when I read this assignment and it said that Hursk was surrounded by ghouls the first thing that pooped into my mind is that he is surrounded by 30 ghouls. Not really sure what that is about, but I need to stop freaking myself out unnecessarily in this fashion. ..."How am I going to paint 30 ghouls?!?!" Yeah, need to stop doing that... three is just fine.

As always, I would like to extend a huge thanks to Sarah Robinson for giving me the opportunity to work on this fun assignment!

That is all for today, see you back here on Friday for a look at a special item I will have available at Gen Con! Until then...

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

My life as a crappy artist - Beljoxa's Eye

You of course remember Beljoxa's Eye from episode 11, Showtime, from season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, right? Any good Buffy fan would, right? I barely recall the dang thing and I contributed a design for it. So that everyone is on the same page, this is Beljoxa's Eye...

Lots of eyes? CHECK! Tentacles? CHECK! We could actually have a good monster this time.

I was able to find some more time to take a fresh pass at another monster that I helped design while working on Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire series. This time around Beljoxa's Eye was the lucky winner. Here is my original design for Beljoxa's Eye from 2002...

I was working on other assignments at the time and when I finally got my design together for Beljoxa's Eye the production of the final creature had already begun. OOPS!
© 2002 Almost Human

Beljoxa's Eye was suppose to be this massive floating oracle that had knowledge beyond time and space... or something like that. I think it ended up being incoherent and undecipherable and ultimately comic relief. My art director at the time came up with some very cool ideas but production really wanted the ball of eyes on a stick look. If my memory serves me, the cage was one of the ideas my AD had that survived. As I mentioned above, I arrived a little late to this design party, but I did finish my lackluster attempt at a mass of eyes and some dangling bits. The final Beljoxa's Eye was more then sufficient for the show and I do not thing anything I had to offer would have improved it. All that aside, here is something... newer, as far as the design of Beljoxa's Eye...

Taking Beljoxa's Eye back!
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

Not much to add beyond the drawing... a ball of eyes and some tentacles, I can do that all day. Maybe I should have pushed myself more but I was just having too much fun drawing a big mass of eyes and some tentacles. Not sure it is really that much better of a design but I at least feel it is a better drawing. I imagine it sitting in the cage with it's tentacles hanging down and wrapping around the cage. Maybe some slime dripping slowly off it. On to the next art albatross that I carry around my neck...

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:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting ready for Gen Con 2011 - CARDS!

I am in the midst of getting ready for Gen Con (it is right around the corner! YIKES!). This is the first large convention that I am setting up a booth at and needless to say I am a little frantic to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. I have been preparing for awhile now and definitely feel like I am in the home stretch. In many ways I have been preparing for this for a year now and hopefully all the time and effort will pay off in me being prepared and equipped to have an exciting and fun con experience.

One of the items that recently arrived at my door were this years business and post cards. It is always exciting to see a box at the door and to know that soon I will find out if I did a good job on designing the year's new cards or wasted a ton of money. Thankfully, again this year I was thrilled with how the cards turned out... and good thing too, since I had so many produced. So lets have a look...

2011 business card number one.

2011 business card number two.

2011 business card number three - this will be on the table at the con available for people to take as they pass by.

2011 business card number four - this will be on the table at the con available for people to take as they pass by.

2011 postcard number one.

2011 postcard number two.

I have heard from many other more seasoned con attendees that it is best to have a more plane business card on your table since people are going to take things no matter what they are or if they are even interested. Also, they have suggested for you not to have your most popular images available on free items since people my take that and not buy something. The other more color cards will be available to perspective clients, fellow artists, super fans and folks that purchase something. It will be interesting to see if this works out. I used again and was really happy with the finished product.

For some comparisons, here are the cards I had with me in 2010 and in 2009. I like this year's best, I wonder what the cards of 2012 will look like?

Needless to say I will most likely be giving a in depth con coverage again here on the blog. I might not be able to get up and get around to a lot of the con but I should have a really good perspective of the artist alley. More on my preparation for Gen Con soon!

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:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

400th post! Website launch! And MORE!

Holy smokes! My 400th post here on the blog! How in the world did I actually make it this far? I guess I say something similar each time I hit a number followed by two zeroes, but it surprises me each time it happens. I could not keep it up if I was not getting the encouragement and support from you all that frequent the blog, thank you all very much!

I would like to take this noteworthy numbered post to announce some news... My website is faster, stronger and will one day take over the world! In other words, my website has been completely redone and launched today! My friend and super powerful programer, Rodney Johnson, took my meager comp idea for the redesign and ran with it. Rodney really outdid himself! Head over there to get a look at all the new art, features and social media icons!

Time to brag about Rodney's work on the website... There are now quick links to my blog, twitter account and Facebook fan page, as well as a rss feed from my blog and a 'at a glance' gallery now on the front page. All my galleries are larger and cleaner and allow you to actually see my work. Using the advice I have gathered from art directors about websites, the thumbnails show almost the entire piece and each image you are looking at provides a unique URL so the link to the image can be shared. Want to 'like' an image or tweet about it? Got you covered too! Rodney really blew me away with all the work he put into the site, THANKS RODNEY!

Make sure you head over to my website and have a look around to see what is new! You can now expect the website to actually be updated now!

Over the weekend I was talking to Owen, who is a big fan of my monsters. Since he likes my monster drawings so much he wanted me to have one of his monsters. I thought this was really awesome and made sure to return the favor. He really likes looking at my creatura libri sketchbook, so apparently I am influencing the next generation of monster makers... and that is super cool! Thanks so much for the cool monster, Owen! Here is Owen's monster, it is standing on a bakery and candy store like any good monster should...

Owen's monster, RAWR!

I think that is all for another blog anniversary! One last time... make sure you head over and see my completely new WEBSITE! See you back here on Friday for some more blog fun. Until then...

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hunters and Prey

Starting off the week with more new work here on the blog! This time around it is work that I did for myself. It has been far too long since I last finished a painting for myself and I was starting to feel it. Several friends have been making comments to that effect for a while now. Without further yammering on my end, here are some new personal monsters...

Hunters and Prey
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

Hunters and Prey drawing
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

I find spending time working on my own work really has a way of clearing the mind and getting me back in gear to get work done for others. It had really been too long since last I had a chance to do so. Finding time to draw is all well and good, but finishing a full painting really can clear the mental clutter away. A lot of the motivation for this piece (and several others I want to do) comes from the beautiful and lush areas I do a lot of my mountain biking through. There are these amazing limestone stream beds and beautiful root networks that just scream to have monsters added to them. Some of the concepts I had come up with for possible IMC pieces where to include these areas I bike through. I look forward to working on my next piece set in these wooded areas and discovering what monsters live in them.

That is all for another exciting day on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday for some big news. Until then...

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Undead Revisited

I am pleased to bring you more recently released new work on the blog today. Just like the Dungeon Magazine work posted on Wednesday this work also came out while I was at the Illustration Master Class. This time around the work was for the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Undead Revisited just released from Paizo Publishing. Not only did the assignment have monsters... well, their shadows, it also had allowed me to paint my favorite type of elf... DEAD...

Shadow Opener
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

Dragon Shadow
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

Bat Shadow
© 2011 Paizo Publishing, LLC

This was a really fun assignment and got me out of my comfort zone a bit. Even so, it came together really fast for me and I am very happy with how it all turn out. Composition and lighting were key and I focused on them to make sure it read well and explained the situation well. Since the supporting quarter page and spot pieces were less involved I had to make sure the opener piece was really strong and carried the weight for the rest.

I will be sure to bring you the drawings and maybe even some of the reference that went into these pieces in the near future... still getting ready for Gen Con and that it really taking up a bit of time. Hopefully in the near future I will also have some more new Paizo work to share with you! More on that soon.

I would like to extend a huge thanks to Sarah Robinson for giving me the opportunity to work on this fun assignment! And for baring with my rather full schedule at the end of last year.

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

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Creature Incarnations: They Creep

Today on the blog I am pleased to finally bring you three new pieces for Dungeons and Dragons! These appeared last month in Dungeon Magazine issue 191 and went live while I was at the Illustration Master Class so I have not had a chance to share them until now. If you guessed these might have monsters in them, then you guessed correct! On with the monsters...

They Creep: Opener
© 2011 Wizards of the Coast

They Creep: Scarabs
© 2011 Wizards of the Coast

They Creep: Bugs
© 2011 Wizards of the Coast

This was a really special assignment since I was able to design six all new insect monsters for Dungeons and Dragons. Can't complain about that! There were some notes and reference they wanted me to use as I started on some of these, but I also had a lot of freedom to just make them cool monsters. And making cool monsters is hopefully something I am good at.... hopefully. Not sure there is much else to say about these right now - I have loads of drawing to share with you soon that went into these which might offer more to talk about. I am a little distracted with planning for Gen Con, you will have to forgive me.

As always, a huge thanks to Jon Schindehette for getting me involved with this. I had a lot of fun with them and am really happy with how they turned out.

That is all for today, more new work on Friday! Until then...

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

Friday, July 1, 2011

Illustration Master Class 2011 - Painting

Before I left for the 2011 Illustration Master Class I posted here on the blog about some concerns I was having. Well, having been and returned I feel a little silly for all the stress I put myself through worrying about what was going to happen at the IMC. Needless to say the environment was creative, informative and built around getting the students on the road to creating better illustrations. People arrived with all levels of preparedness for their painting and everyone had different amounts of revisions and edits to deal with before they were ready for paint. I prepared a lot... because I am who I am, and when I have time to think I have time to over think which means I have time to overwork. I will say right up to the moment my critique began I was imagining all manor of terrible outcomes... chief among them having to complete start over. I know now that would not have been the worst thing in the world and would have been a tremendous learning experience.

The IMC assignment I picked was a piece involving a DRAGON and two or more FIGURES one of which needing to be HUMAN. Other then that it was completely up to the artist to interrupt. This assignment was chosen by a lot of the students and each and every person came up with something different! But enough talking, lets get with the images. It all began with some ideas and some thumbnails...

Here is a selection of some the thumbnails that went into my piece. I thought I had the idea early on and was beginning to overwork the thumbnails, but as my ideas started to come to me (ideas I liked better) I moved on and made sure to work small. Eventually, I came upon some exterior ideas that are tied into some personal work I am working on and was really starting to move in that direction. I had a lot of ideas at this point and was talking about them all to my wife and she kept leading my back to some ideas I had about a dragon being sold in a bazaar. The more I thought about it the more that it felt like the right one. Once the overall composition was worked out on paper I gathered together my photo reference (most of which had me posing as all the characters - even the dragon) and moving onto a digital mock up where I started fleshing things out...

I took a lot photos of myself in a variety of poses and came up with some stuff on the spot. You never know what happy accidents you will come across or what pieces can be cobbled together to make a better over all image. Now that I had my reference and began making my elements digitally I could move things around and play with sizes. I was really unsure about the size of the dragon for awhile. I knew I wanted to go with a wingless alligator like body but how big it was compared to everything else was a tricky one. Eventually I got all the pieces in order and was ready to create my drawing...

Working at about 13 x 17 here is my drawing. Over all it was really well received by everyone, which eased a lot of stress I was having. My critique group was Rebecca Guay, Julie Bell, Greg Manchess and Iain McCaig. Things that were brought to my attention: A lot of horizontal and vertical in the piece which make it feel very still - need to add diagonals, the goblin can be more dynamic in pose which would help accomplish the first point, switch up the interaction with the dragon between characters, once the goblin and the dragon are interacting this will allow for a more dynamic interesting presentation of the dragon's exposed teeth, and finally add foreground elements to break things up, add more diagonals, and give the viewer the impression that they are looking into the image through an environment. I think that about covers it... sounds pretty straight forward, right? Rebecca, Julie and Greg used a print of my drawing with a sheet of tracing paper I had taped to it to better explain their thoughts. Iain McCaig helped out with a quick gesture drawing of me as the more dynamic goblin...

An Iain McCaig original! I took some time to think about all this advice and to filter it all through the brain to come up with some new ideas and a game plan to move forward. I decided to draw the new elements on separate sheets of paper and combine them with the original drawing digitally rather then going in and erasing and adding to the original drawing. Once that was all done I have drawing version two...

Much happier with how this one is looking now. There are still some areas that will get further attention as I move forward with the painting but I am at a point I can move forward. Each of the following images is a record of my completion of each day at the IMC (except the very last image). Every facility member talked to me about this piece and gave advice and suggestions. Sometimes the advice conflicted with other advice from another instructor, but this is to be expected. As artists we all have our own methods and techniques, likes and dislikes, and like everyone else have our own opinions. At a certain point you need to learn how to get the most out of critiques and take away from them what is best for you or work. It is a lot harder then it sounds. NOW, on with the painting...

At the end of 2011 IMC Day 2
Laying in the under painting. Adjusted the chain and the man a little more. I had several photos of some really cool bazaars and looked a lot to their colors and mood. Tried to work slower and more thoughtful since I had the time and really wanted to think about what and why I was doing things. I found the IMC a really great opportunity to analyze my own methods and techniques and to figure out why I do the things I do and to see if there are better ways to reach my goals.

At the end of 2011 IMC Day 3
Begun painting. Now the hard work begins... pulling everything together into one unified image at the finished level I am happy with. Still working slow and trying to address everything as a whole.

At the end of 2011 IMC Day 4
Painting continues. Got rid of the cages and boxes behind the figure to make sure he reads well. Breaking up the ground so in does not draw the eye to it. WORK WORK WORK!

At the end of 2011 IMC Day 5
Painting Continues. Revisited my face reference for the man. Learned a lot by doing that. Too much to try to explain, but when I did that I felt like my eyes were opened for the first time. Working on lights and darks to make sure forms read and the eye goes were it needs to go.

At the end of 2011 IMC Day 6
Painting Continues. Brighten and add contrast. The whole piece was getting gray and needed to be brought back up. Working on the secondary light sources and overall detail level.

At the end of 2011 IMC Day 7
And done... at least for the 2011 Illustration Master Class. This was the finished level I was at when I displayed the print in the studio open house on the last day. Really happy with the piece as a whole and learned so much though out the entire process. Thanks needs to be given to the entire faculty again for all their advice and experience and to Jeff and Marc for making me stop working on it finally.

© 2011 Christopher Burdett

After resting up from the trip back from IMC I took a fresh look at the piece and made some final tweaks to the piece and I am now calling it done. Officially. Since being back I have already finished another painting for myself and I have begun another. I am feeling really energized to make my own work and that is something I have been missing. More on these personal pieces soon!

That is all for an exciting week on the blog as well as the conclusion to my coverage of the 2011 Illustration Master Class, hope you all have enjoyed it! I will not be posting on Monday since it is a holiday in the US, but I will be back on Wednesday and Friday with lots of new art released while I was busy with the IMC! Until then...

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