Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alligator Skull

I have become the proud owner of a beautiful alligator skull and I would like to share some images of it on the blog to spread the usefulness of this great reference item. I very much would like to thank Melissa Findley for such an amazing gift! Her father has recently taken up taxidermy and she and I have already begun to benefit from his new hobby.

I hope you can find the photos helpful! RAWR!











 Alligator skull and replica life size human skull for size comparison

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, January 28, 2013

POTATOMAN SEEKS THE TROOF

I have known the guys behind the awesome games at Pixeljam since we attended college together. If you are not familiar with them and their great games you should really do yourself the favor and head over to their website. They have recently launched their new game Potatoman Seek the Troof. To celebrate the release they held an art contest and I could not help but take part in it! Here is my take of Potatoman...

Potatoman
Art by Christopher Burdett
Potatoman © 2013 Pixeljam

I realize now that the art contest is now over, but that should not stop you from heading over to check out the Potatoman Seek the Troof and the rest of the great games that Pixeljam has to offer. I can not say enough good things about their games and if you have played any of them you know just how addicting and fun they are. Potatoman is no different!

Here is the drawing I did of Potatoman without all the digital finish and effects...
  
  Non-digitally enhanced Potatoman
Art by Christopher Burdett
Potatoman © 2013 Pixeljam

AGAIN, head over to the Pixeljam and check out their games and music, you will not be disappointed! They are great guys making awesome games and you will thank me for it!

That is all for another exciting Monday, 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, January 25, 2013

Fresh from the drawing table... Mind Flayer

I have for you another drawing that is fresh from the drawing table. This time around it is a MIND FLAYER! Arriving back at "M" there was only one clear choice on the third pass and that was the very iconic tentacled terror known as the Mind Flayer. This eater of brains has been whispered about since my earliest interactions with D&D and has remained a most singular and frightening monster (for the players). I present to you my version of a Mind Flayer…    

Mind Flayer
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

First off, yes, I added wings - let's move on. For years I have seen an intentional or unintentional link between the Mind Flayers (or Illithids if you want) and Cthulhu. For me it is hard not to see. Having the opportunity to make my own Mind Flayer I decided to take some of the things I have been thinking about for Cthulhu and make a Cthulhu-like race that has manifested in the Realms and causes nothing but trouble. I wanted it to be somewhat awkward and uncomfortable AND what seemed totally natural, a bit of a dandy. Weird hats can really set a mood. Would you want the last thing you see coming toward your face to be a tentacled maw adorned with a creepy tri-pointed hat? I think not! They may look tubby, they they will ruin your day... RAWR!

My first 100 original Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual redesigns (A - Z): Aerial Servant, Ankheg, Ant (Giant), Ape (Carnivorous), Ape (Gorilla), Axe Beak, Axe Beak (version 2), Baboon, Badger, Barracuda, Basilisk, Baluchitherium, Bear (Black), Bear (Brown), Bear (Cave), Beaver (Giant), Beetle (Giant) - Bombardier, Beetle (Giant) - Boring, Beetle (Giant) - Fire, Beetle (Giant) - Rhinoceros, Beetle (Giant) - Stag, Beetle (Giant) - Water, Beholder, Black Pudding, Blink Dog, Boar (Giant), Boar (Warthog), Boar (Wild), Brain Mole, Brownie, Bugbear, Buffalo, Bulette, Carrion Crawler, Catoblepas, Cerebral Parasite, Chimera, Cockatrice, Coutal, Crab (Giant), Demon Type III (Glabrezu), Demon (Juiblex), Demon (Manes), Devil (Ice), Dragon (Red), Elemental (Earth), Ettin, Eye of the Deep, Flightless Bird, Frog (Giant), Fungi (Violet), Giant (Hill), Goblin, Golem (Flesh), Hobgoblin, Homunculus, Hydra, Imp, Intellect Devourer, Ixitxachitl, Jackal, Jacklewere, Jaguar, Ki-Rin, Kobold, Lich, Lizard (Giant), Lizardman, Manticore, Mind Flayer, Minotaur, Naga, Neo-Otygugh, Nixie, Ochre Jelly, Ogre, Owlbear, Peryton, Pixie, Purple Worm, Quasit, Ram (Giant), Roper, Rust Monster, Sahuagin, Salamander, Shambling Mound, Treant, Troglodyte, Troll, Umber Hulk, Unicorn, Vampire, Wasp (Giant), Wight, Wyvern, Xorn, Yeti, and Zombie.      

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, January 23, 2013

Spectrum time again… or not…

It is that time again… that time of franticly gathering prints and mailing envelopes, of doubting everything you have done for the past year or longer, of wondering what the heck is even going on and what you are doing… You guessed it! The deadline for submitting to Spectrum is upon us. If you haven't heard of Spectrum, by all means check out my posts from 2011 and 2012 on this very subject. There is of course the Spectrum website.

The submission deadline for Spectrum 20 is this upcoming Friday and I am not going to submit this year. It has taken me a while to make this decision, but I feel it is the right one for me this year. There are a ton of reasons why I am doing this… or rather NOT doing this, and it may or may not be even remotely interesting to anyone. I do know this time of year a lot of artist are stressing about submitting to Spectrum. Then there is the continued stress, the waiting, the crushing blow of rejection, and just maybe the celebration of acceptance that that will come in a couple months when those chosen are posted. This year I just gotta throw my hands up to it all and take a pass until Spectrum 21.

Spectrum 20 submission poster by Iain McCaig

My decision about Spectrum this year hinges mainly on two things. The first thing being I have done a ton of work in 2012 but none of the stuff I really want to eventually submit to Spectrum is out yet. Some of this unreleased work may not even be out until after Spectrum 20 is published and that might cause some issues. Granted, I could go ahead and submit the stuff that should be out before publication but it just didn't feel right for me to do so (though plenty of folks do and that is totally okay). I just don't want to take any chances cause you never know what will happen to a piece before it is officially published. The second thing is I just don't want to deal with the rejection. This might be a larger piece of this decision. To be honest I just don't want to go through not seeing my name on the list of accepted artist right now. 2012 was a crazy roller coaster of huge highs and deep lows, art wise, and I need a break. If I don't submit I can't get rejected… too pessimistic? Rather I feel I am being realistic. Spectrum is for the best of the best… or at least what the judges deem to be the best of the best. The work I have in front of me just does not compare to the work I have waiting in the wings so I will pass this year and ready myself for 2014 and Spectrum 21.

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

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fresh from the drawing table... Lizard (Giant)!

I have for you another drawing that is fresh from the drawing table. This time around it is a LIZARD (giant)! I find myself back at "L" and with so many great monsters to pick from. It was easy to narrow it down to the Lizard monsters... picking which of them I wanted to do was a little harder. In the end the GIANT Lizard won out. I present to you my version of a Giant Lizard…    
Lizard (Giant)
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

I went back and forth between the FIRE Lizard and the GIANT Lizard for some time and actually worked up sketches for both and then eventually abandoned them both before starting this one. A lot had to do with dislike for the pose and anatomy I had worked up and some had to do with I just didn't like what I was drawing. I took a break and came back to the Giant Lizard with a fresh perspective and this critter took shape. I am not reinventing the wheel here... just wanted to have some fun and draw a Giant Lizard monster. I tried to keep it more realistic rater then fantastic and had fun pouring over lots of great lizard reference.

My first 100 original Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual redesigns (A - Z): Aerial Servant, Ankheg, Ant (Giant), Ape (Carnivorous), Ape (Gorilla), Axe Beak, Axe Beak (version 2), Baboon, Badger, Barracuda, Basilisk, Baluchitherium, Bear (Black), Bear (Brown), Bear (Cave), Beaver (Giant), Beetle (Giant) - Bombardier, Beetle (Giant) - Boring, Beetle (Giant) - Fire, Beetle (Giant) - Rhinoceros, Beetle (Giant) - Stag, Beetle (Giant) - Water, Beholder, Black Pudding, Blink Dog, Boar (Giant), Boar (Warthog), Boar (Wild), Brain Mole, Brownie, Bugbear, Buffalo, Bulette, Carrion Crawler, Catoblepas, Cerebral Parasite, Chimera, Cockatrice, Coutal, Crab (Giant), Demon Type III (Glabrezu), Demon (Juiblex), Demon (Manes), Devil (Ice), Dragon (Red), Elemental (Earth), Ettin, Eye of the Deep, Flightless Bird, Frog (Giant), Fungi (Violet), Giant (Hill), Goblin, Golem (Flesh), Hobgoblin, Homunculus, Hydra, Imp, Intellect Devourer, Ixitxachitl, Jackal, Jacklewere, Jaguar, Ki-Rin, Kobold, Lich, Lizard (Giant), Lizardman, Manticore, Mind Flayer, Minotaur, Naga, Neo-Otygugh, Nixie, Ochre Jelly, Ogre, Owlbear, Peryton, Pixie, Purple Worm, Quasit, Ram (Giant), Roper, Rust Monster, Sahuagin, Salamander, Shambling Mound, Treant, Troglodyte, Troll, Umber Hulk, Unicorn, Vampire, Wasp (Giant), Wight, Wyvern, Xorn, Yeti, and Zombie.     

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, January 16, 2013

Bestiary: Ye Olde Creature Catalogue - Process

Back in December I shared with you the piece that I completed for Bestiary: Ye Olde Creature Catalogue. Today, I have for you the process breakdown for the wily and very tentacled Decapus. Let's start off with having a look at the finish piece before jumping into the process...

Decapus
© 2012 Wizards of the Coast

For this assignment I was asked to update and illustrate the Decapus, an somewhat wacky (not that it is a bad thing to be wacky) monster from the early days of Dungeons and Dragons. Its key features are ten tentacles with suckers and a barbed tip, large mouth filled with HUGE yellow teeth, white eyes with black pupils, and sparse course body hair. All of these are key monster attributes!

As always, thumbnails started things off. I needed to be depicted in a tree and reaching out towards the viewer. A classic 'RAWR' moment. I was still feeling out what I and production wanted to do with this piece so I submitted my loose thumbnails and awaited feedback.

Decapus - Thumbnails
© 2012 Wizards of the Coast

It turned out that the art folks liked "C" but the other folks were leaning towards "A" and "B". Art department won out and I was asked to give the thumbnail another pass to include some tweaks. I needed to flip the piece horizontally since the final art would be left justified and the creature needed to look into the page, turn the head slightly, and show more tree so that you could see the tentacles wrapped around the tree. I was good to go and got stated on the new thumbnail for the Decapus. It should noted that between these two sets of thumbnails I went out and shot some tree reference. Due to timing I was not able to do so before I started.

Decapus - Revised Thumbnails
© 2012 Wizards of the Coast

Right before I sent the updated thumbnail in I stopped myself. While "A" was good I felt I could push it more. I stopped everything and made a option "B". Good thing I did this because "B" was selected and approved! Make sure you stand behind everything you send to a client and make sure you are happy with the thumbnails and drawings, you will be the one who has to take it to a completed painting.

Decapus - Drawing
© 2012 Wizards of the Coast

Thumbnail approved I move forward with the final drawing of the wily Decapus which was approved with out any changes... though I was asked to make sure the tentacles remain PG and are clearly tentacles. I was ready to move onto the painting and I got all my pixels ready and mixed into the proper colors...

Decapus - Process Progression
© 2012 Wizards of the Coast

This was a very straight forward piece and it moved along quickly and without too much fuss. ALWAYS nice when that happens. I just needed to balance the light and color to make sure everything was happy and working together. You can see some of the main shifts in the background between steps 5 and 6. The background was originally a lot warmer which was not working for me.

There was one thing that about this painting that caught my attention when I was putting the final touches on it.. the background details...

 Balancing that background

When I was making the uneasy and fraught transition from someone that likes to draw monster to a monster illustrator I have A LOT of trouble with background. Everything was hard about backgrounds... designing them, drawing them, painting them, making sure they didn't feel like they were DIRECTLY behind the subject... EVERYTHING about them sucked. But over the years I slowly did more and more of them and made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot more about painting and illustration. When I was giving last looks at this piece before submitting it the above pictured area of the piece stopped me dead in my tracks. I obviously painted it, but I was reminded how beyond me this was just a few years ago. The amount of detail and the amount of ambiguity all wrapped up in one. It is color and form more then lines with lots of layers and with a lot implied. It was just one of those moments that reminded me how far I have come, how it was not so long ago that I was a lot less experienced, and how there is so much more to learn!

 The tree of inspiration

HEY LOOK! A TREE! I mentioned earlier that I took some tree reference for this piece, here is the winning image that was used more then the rest of my photos to inspire this piece. This is a tree I pass all the time while mountain biking and I really like it a lot. I would have liked to have had all the fern, vines, and lichen in my final painting, but the piece was about a green monster hanging onto a tree and it might have gotten to confusing with all the extra plant details in there.

Here are the final painting one last time so that you can see how it turned out... RAWR!

Decapus
© 2012 Wizards of the Coast

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, January 14, 2013

CG Beast by Gustavo Labrador García

Many moons ago... all the way back in 2009 I created a monster concept illustration while I was trying to get my feet back under me and "Get Serious". This aptly named Beast Concept was one of two showcase pieces I used on this very blog and at the time a very newly revamped website. In time between then and now the piece eventually drifted off my website but still remains in the archives of this blog and over on Deviant Art. The piece did not go unnoticed by Gustavo Labrador García who approached me with the interest to make a CG version as part of his education and advancement in CG modeling and texture work. Before we take a look at Gustavo's great work here is my monster that he was starting with...

Beast Concept
© 2009 Christopher Burdett 

I get so many notes, emails, and messages that sometimes they all blend together and I miss stuff. When I got a message from Gustavo it caught my attention and piqued my interest. Gustavo asked for permission to use my work prior to starting - and that goes a long way! Gustavo has a nice blog HERE and there is a post dedicated to this creature HERE. Here are the images he included on his blog of his progress and work of making the Beast Concept into a CG model...






 CG Beast by Gustavo Labrador García

I think it turned out pretty cool! It is always very humbling and extremely flattering to have someone want to take something I have made and do something more with it. There is part of me that also thinks it must all be a big mistake and they meant to contact someone else.  Thanks again goes to Gustavo for the interest in modeling my monster! It turned out great and it is really neat to see in come to life.

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, January 11, 2013

Fresh from the drawing table... Jackal!

I have for you another drawing that is fresh from the drawing table. This time around it is a JACKAL! This is the third and final "J" monster in the original Monster Manual. "Monster" might be a little strong of a word for a Jackal. None the less, the Jackal is in the book and since it is the book I gotta draw it. I present to you my version of a Jackal…    

Jackal
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

The Jackal is another of the mundane monsters of Dungeons & Dragons. As I have mentioned before I was not happy with my first mundane monster, the Jaguar, and since then I have tried to find more interesting presentations for the natural beasts of the Monster Manual. Thankfully for me and the Jackal there was a leaping off point at the end of the very short description for the Jackal.

"They appear here because of the magical bag of trick."

That one sentence sealed the deal and got me thinking all about insane wizards making crappy and annoying 'magical' items that are more trouble then they are worth. Why does every magical item need to be a weapon, armor, or some other highly beneficial item? Why can't it be a bag that allows you to bring forth small animals wearing a cute little outfit with bells in an explosion of noise, confetti, and streamers? You never know, this could be a REALLY good use of an action while fighting an Elder Red Dragon...

Wizards... I blame them for everything, including Jackals wearing cute little outfits busting from 'magic' bags.

My first 100 original Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual redesigns (A - Z): Aerial Servant, Ankheg, Ant (Giant), Ape (Carnivorous), Ape (Gorilla), Axe Beak, Axe Beak (version 2), Baboon, Badger, Barracuda, Basilisk, Baluchitherium, Bear (Black), Bear (Brown), Bear (Cave), Beaver (Giant), Beetle (Giant) - Bombardier, Beetle (Giant) - Boring, Beetle (Giant) - Fire, Beetle (Giant) - Rhinoceros, Beetle (Giant) - Stag, Beetle (Giant) - Water, Beholder, Black Pudding, Blink Dog, Boar (Giant), Boar (Warthog), Boar (Wild), Brain Mole, Brownie, Bugbear, Buffalo, Bulette, Carrion Crawler, Catoblepas, Cerebral Parasite, Chimera, Cockatrice, Coutal, Crab (Giant), Demon Type III (Glabrezu), Demon (Juiblex), Demon (Manes), Devil (Ice), Dragon (Red), Elemental (Earth), Ettin, Eye of the Deep, Flightless Bird, Frog (Giant), Fungi (Violet), Giant (Hill), Goblin, Golem (Flesh), Hobgoblin, Homunculus, Hydra, Imp, Intellect Devourer, Ixitxachitl, Jackal, Jacklewere, Jaguar, Ki-Rin, Kobold, Lich, Lizard (Giant), Lizardman, Manticore, Mind Flayer, Minotaur, Naga, Neo-Otygugh, Nixie, Ochre Jelly, Ogre, Owlbear, Peryton, Pixie, Purple Worm, Quasit, Ram (Giant), Roper, Rust Monster, Sahuagin, Salamander, Shambling Mound, Treant, Troglodyte, Troll, Umber Hulk, Unicorn, Vampire, Wasp (Giant), Wight, Wyvern, Xorn, Yeti, and Zombie.      

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, January 9, 2013

Wookiee Navigator - Process

On Monday I shared with you the recently released Wookiee Navigator from the core set of the new Star Wars: The Card Game. As promised, I have for you today a look at the process that went into the Wookiee AND what the piece almost ended looking like. Cutting to the chase, here is the ORIGINAL version of the Wookiee Navigator... or at least the version I first submitted upon completing the piece...

ORIGINAL Wookiee Navigator
© 2012 Fantasy Flight Games

From the beginning of the assignment this piece was referred to as the NOT Chewbacca card. It was important for it to be a Wookiee depicted in a similar roll as Chewbacca, but it needed to no be the one Wookiee everyone is familiar with. I tried very hard to make sure the body mass and proportions I gave to my Wookiee were different to the proportions and body mass of Peter Mayhew in the Chewbacca suit. With the addition of the braids and the over all color shift towards the Wookiees that appeared in Episode III I thought I was golden... not so much. I am getting ahead of myself, as always, this piece started with thumbnails...

Wookiee Navigator - thumbnails
© 2012 Fantasy Flight Games

The assignment was very straight forward, depict a NOT Chewbacca Wookiee in a gunner chair similar to what you saw in Star Wars: A New Hope when Luke and Han were firing at Tie fighters. I have plenty of good reference of those scenes so I was feeling good about what I needed to depict. I worked up four variations on a Wookiee in a gunner chair and turned them in. You might be able to see that in some of the thumbnails there are the bandoliers and shoulder pads worn by Wookiees in Episode III. I added these elements to help distance this Wookiee from Chewbacca. In the end, production felt they had the opposite effect and they were removed once I moved forward on the final drawing...

Wookiee Navigator - drawing
© 2012 Fantasy Flight Games

Everything was moving right along and there were no sings of problems thus far. The drawing was approved and all I had to do was paint it. By now you know that this is where it all went wrong. I thought I proceeded in a safe and NOT Chewbacca direction. Here is a process progression of the piece and it includes the changing of the Wookiee's coloration...

Wookiee Navigator process progression
© 2012 Fantasy Flight Games

Thanks goes out to Zoe Robinson for helping me make sense of the revision requests from production. I didn't see it coming so there was a little bit of an adjustment phase to get my head around what I needed to do to make it right. It took a little nudge to get me to go as far as they wanted, but I got there and in the end the piece was finally accepted and approved. Here is a side by side comparison of the two pieces so you can see what changed...

Wookiee Navigator - comparison
© 2012 Fantasy Flight Games

One last look at how the final card came out and appears in the the game...

Wookiee Navigator
© 2012 Fantasy Flight Games

As mentioned on Monday, this was my first Star Wars assignment... not just with Fantasy Flight Games, but anywhere. I REALLY wanted to do a good job and I really wanted to make sure I got a lot more SW assignments. There were some very surreal moments when I would stop and realize that this was a strange manifestation of decades of wishing, dreaming, and work. After all the movies, comics, toys, and merchandising it all came together in a Wookiee painting that was very much "just another job". Then there was the stress of the massive revision which made it a very atypical work experience. Your wishes and dreams never really work out the way you expect... but they do come true on occasion, and for that I can be very grateful.

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