Monday, July 1, 2013

The Three Dragons - 2013 Illustration Master Class assignment

Over the last week and a half I have posted all about my experiences at the 2013 Illustration Master Class. If you missed any of them you can see them here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7. Now, it is time to look at what I spent the week working on...

One of the assignments this year was A Game of Thrones. Since I have some history with the franchise... or at least with the giant winged fire breathing monster aspects of the franchise I really wanted to revisit the dragons of AGoT. I first designed the AGoT dragons for the card game way back at the end of 2010.There is a lot I might have done differently if I had to do it all again today. This assignment gave me the opportunity to explore those differences as well as make myself a traditional dragon painting... and those are so popular with the kids these days. Without further fanfare, here is how said painting turned out...

The Three Dragons
24 x 14 - acrylic on board
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

I have a bunch of images of the piece coming together from thumbnail to final. There is so much more that took place at IMC with this piece and beyond this piece and hopefully my previous posts gave you some insight into that. The actual creation of this piece was fairly straight forward... save I had some really outstanding, top notch advice, help, and encouragement along the way. Which is priceless. As with all of my paintings, it starts with a thumbnail...
 
There were just a FEW unintelligible scribbled on pager as I worked out earlier ideas of compositions and dragon designs, but this is were all those scribbles took shape. Each of the dragons, buildings, and human figures were separate elements and I moved them around, adjusted size, edit, and tweaked until I was happy with what was happening.

Once I was happy with the thumbnail I fleshed it out with a full drawing. Yes, it is advised that you should show up with thumbnails to IMC and be prepared to work and rework those before getting to this point... but I am too controlling for that (unfortunately or fortunately). I work better when I have worked it all out to the best of my abilities and then see how the faculty can push it to the next level. This allows me to look at my work more objectively to see where I can push and pull to reach that next level.

I went ahead a worked up a quick value study to get my head around some the the value structure I had planned for this piece.

I also worked up a color comp to get my head around the color before I started slinging paint at IMC.

The notes from the faculty were minor in the scheme of things and all were subtle, but important fixes that made the piece MUCH better. Since there was so much going on there where some tangents I overlooked. There was some debate about long snouts or short snouts on the dragons... I wanted short, the short stayed in.

I began blocking out the areas that need to be removed/fixed.

The corrects are added and things are getting worked out.

Time for the paint! Light washes start things off. This is still the most apprehensive step of the entire process. I can very easily loose the draw way too soon and loose control of the entire piece. When working digitally I have all sorts of established habits and processes for this stage of the paint... Not to mention that I can quickly just fix, change, or delete everything when working digitally. This is paint on a surface... still new and troubling experiences...

Still building it up all really translucently. Slowly but surely... baby steps...

Finally starting to go in opaque...

The piece is really all about the dragons for me so I started to focus on them first and begin to push them towards a finished state. I would work on the dragons, work on the rest of the painting, then back to the dragons, and so on. Trying to work it all up equally... but the explosion and foreground figure where waiting for the end.

Slowly but surely it is building its way up... taking form. Throughout the entire process I was getting advice and direction from the faculty and those around me about what was reading correctly and what was not... what needed to back pushed or pulled.

The explosion and foreground figures start to get some love... and this is when the painting began to feel like it just might all come together and not crash and burn.

At this point it was just a matter of going over the entire piece again and again. Pushing and pulling, warming and cooling, adding detail, and fixing my numerous egregious mistakes...

This is pretty much where the piece stood upon completing my week at IMC. I received some last minute advice about some of the things I should think about addressing once I returned home and there were a couple things I wanted to do to it still.

Once home, I gave it some more love and attention. I think that I will be revisiting the piece one final time before I call it completely finished but for all intensive purposes... it is done. Getting a good image of it was a whole other issue... but I eventually got something that worked...

And that is about it... start to finish, a week of working and learning culminated into one painting... and all the paintings I will make after it. Sometimes you just have to walk away from paintings too, focus on the next and the next after that. But I will most likely give this one just a little more attention. Again, here is how my 2013 IMC piece turned out, MANY THANKS to all the faculty and those around me for their insight and instruction...

The Three Dragons
24 x 14 - acrylic on board
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

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

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

6 comments:

  1. Very cool, I hope to join the Master Class next year!

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    1. Thanks! It is well worth the time and money!

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  2. Great work Chris.
    One daft question if you don't mind...What type of paint did you use? Is it acrylic? I've never used acrylic - I mainly use oil paint but have always wondered about maybe using acrylic. I used to use gouache a very long time ago (when there were still dragons in Yorkshire).

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    1. This is acrylic. I have never used oils and this is only my sixth traditional painting... so I don't have a lot to compare it to. I used some gouache MAAAAAANY moons ago, and I guess it could be considered similar... maybe...

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  3. Wow, that turned out really good! Only your six traditional paining, you put us to shame. I hope you bringing that to Gen-Con this year. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. THANKS, Jacob! I am just desperately trying to take what I have learned painting digitally and apply that to traditional work. Hopefully I am not shaming anyone :)

      I *SHOULD* have it with me at Gen Con. I have some interested parties, but if it sell before Gen Con I will have prints of it there.

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