Friday, May 31, 2013

Beastly Swordsman

My studies continue and this time it is a raccoon dog with a sword! You might remember my related posts about the Beastly Caster, Beastly Fighter, Beastly Archer, Beastly Scribe, Beastly Pirate, Beastly Rider, Beastly Mercenary, Beastly Thug, and Beastly Rifleman. I am trying to make the most of my personal drawing time by incorporating more reference to hopefully improve my overall drawing skills. So today on the blog I have for you the tenth of my studies...

Beastly Swordsman
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

A friend posted some really amazing images from a martial art demonstration recently and they all instantly caught my attention and imagination. I knew I needed to do some drawings from them and this is the first of them. ...and that is about it! RAWR!

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday for 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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Only War: Hammer Of The Emperor

Hammer Of The Emperor, the newest supplement to the Only War RPG is now out and I have several monstrous mounts in it! Set in the grim future of the Warhammer 40K universe Only War centers around the Imperial Guard, the galaxy-spanning armies of the God-Emperor... but that doesn't mean there can't be some monsters in there. For Hammer Of The Emperor I was asked to do a series of three drawings depicting various mounts used in war. The first one, the Aethexe, was brand new and I got to design it! Here is how the drawings turned out...

Aethexe
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Krieg Death Rider Horse
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Mukaali
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games 

Sad Mukaali is sad... Here are scans from the book so that you can see how they were eventually used in the final product...


Since the final product was drawings there is not to share as per the process for these. I can share the thumbnails and concepts that I submitted before creating the final drawing. For the first two you will see a fourth unlabeled box, this is the thumbnail after implementing notes from my art director before I moved onto the final drawing...

Aethexe - thumbnails / concepts
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Krieg Death Rider Horse - thumbnails
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Mukaali - thumbnails
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

As mentioned time and time again, the drawing part of the process of creating monsters and illustrations is my favorite, so anytime the drawing is the finished product I am happy with an assignment. Thanks to Andy Christensen for thinking of me for this assignment! RAWR!

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, May 24, 2013

Mutated little friend

A quick post today before a long busy holiday weekend. I have been making the most of my free moments and I finished up this little mutated buddy. I think it speaks for itself. ...by saying, "RAWR!"

Mutation Fun Times
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

Monday is a holiday so I will not be posting, but I will be back on Wednesday with some new monsters that were just released in the new Only War RPG supplement!

That is all for another exciting week 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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And then there were 700...

Today marks my 700 post on this here blog. Where does the time go? I thought I would take a pause today and let you know about some of the events I am planning to be at this year and where you might run into me.

Fast approaching for me is my return to the Illustration Master Class. Some of you might remember my misadventures there last year when I contracted the death plague and spent the entire week in bed. Fun memories... I am hoping that this year will be a *little* better. With as bad as last year was I am a little nervous returning, but once I am there and painting I am hopeful that it will a blast like my first year. Once thing I am doing differently this year is flying... no more two day drive up and back for me!

GEN CON! I will be returning to Gen Con artist alley again this year! I will see you there August 15 - 18 for the best 4 days in gaming... art. I will have paintings, prints, drawings, sketchbooks, and a whole bunch of surprises if it all works out. If you want something like this...


...or this...


... then be sure to attend Gen Con 2013! It is my big convention of the year so I to see you there!

Illuxcon 2013! A new city and a new venue. Illuxcon has moved to Allentown, Pa this year and everything with be shiny and new... and I am confident, more AWESOME! Illuxcon is a day longer this year and will have three tiers of gallery space. I will be taking place in the Showcase again this year. As always, I will document the comings and goings of the event.

Those are the big events so far. I am sure there will be little additions here and there as the year progresses. We are moving into the busy time of year for me at least, so I will need to keep my head down and focused on the goal. But through it all I will do my best to keep this blog moving right along and before you know it... I am sure we will be hitting post 800!

That is all for another 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, May 20, 2013

Ungoliant's Spawn

Spiders, for some the stuff of nightmares... for me, another day on the job. Today I have for you a recently released Lord of the Rings piece that I produced last year. If your local gaming store hosts an FFG Game Night, then you may have already seen this piece. Ungoliant's Spawn is part of the Passage Through Mirkwood Nightmare Deck that is part of the current FFG Game Night. Enough about all that, bring on the monster...

Ungoliant's Spawn
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

I was approached to create a big bad spider 'boss' for the nightmare deck and I aim to please. Though there were some ups and downs with this piece (which took place all on my end and will be addressed on another day), I am really happy with how the piece turned out. They wanted a 'RAWR!' worthy monster spider and I think I managed to give them that. Thanks to a search on the internet I was able to find an image of the final cars... though it is not the best image, it is more then I had before doing the search...

Ungoliant's Spawn in handy card form
(Thanks internet, even though it is blurry)

As you can see I once again produced a piece that I wanted to have while providing a piece that give the client something that they can use. I wanted a nice big wide image of a monster spider and they needed a square close up of a spider monster... WIN/WIN! In the coming weeks I will have a more thorough look at the steps and process that went into this piece as well as some thoughts on the ups and downs.

That is all for another exciting monster filed 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, May 17, 2013

Monster inking practice

There are times when I am busy and then there are times when I am BUSY. I am fast approaching the latter as the summer event and convention session looms on the horizon. The Illustration Master Class is a month away and I am booked up with monsters. This is not leaving a lot of time right now for my personal monsters. I did make a little time to work on a quick study to working on some digital inking. I have a bit of this sort of work ahead of me so I figured I better make sure I am ready for it all. Here is how the study turned out...

Beak monster study and practice
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

Practice makes perfect and perfect is a goal that is always just out of reach. So make sure you are getting in lots of practice! This one was just a quick study out of my head, but I find it funny to see an actual bird in there that I have seen many times. I guess that is the point, build up your tool box of skills and knowledge to make sure you are making better and more informed choices when working... but that is a topic for another time, I need to get back to work!

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday for a NEW MONSTER painting! 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 15, 2013

Smaug the Magnificent - Process

Back in March I shared with you the two Smaug pieces that I have in the second Hobbit themed expansion to the Lord of the Rings living card game, On the Doorstep. Today I have for you the various production steps and process progression for the seconf of my two Smaug pieces, Smaug the Magnificent. Before we get started on how I went about creating it, here is how the finished piece turned out...

Smaug the Magnificent
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Smaug the Golden was the first of my Smaug pieces and I looked to what I was designing and establishing in that piece to influence the direction of this card. All that said, during the thumbnail stage of this piece I was still exploring what I wanted to do with Smaug. Speaking of thumbnails, here are the three that I submitted for Smaug the Magnificent...

Smaug the Magnificent - Thumbnails
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

As mentioned before in the process of Smaug the Golden I included double crop marks on the thumbnails to indicate the size I was going to produce the actual painting at and the size required for the assignment. At the time, I think I was really interested in working on option "C". Funny, looking back at it now, I think I ended up doing something similar for the second set of Smaug pieces for the Gen Con set. As you can clearly see, option "A" was the winner and I moved forward on the drawing...

Smaug the Magnificent - Drawing
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

These were really fun to draw to say the least. I also thought I had done my job in providing a large enough image to allow for me to create the image I wanted and the image the client needed. Only one way to find out, stick the drawing in the template...

Smaug the Magnificent - Drawing mock up in template
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Oh well... the image was not large enough on three sides, could have bee worse. The drawing was approved as long as I made sure to extend it as indicated in the mock up to fulfill everybody's needs and wants. The only thing left to do is paint this bad boy. For those that may have missed it, I went into a lot more detail about my drawing prep and my under painting process on this very blog last Friday. Here is a look at the process...

Smaug the Magnificent - Precess progression
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

In six easy steps... If I remember correctly, I think I ended up fighting with this one more then its partner, Smaug the Golden. For me, Smaug the Golden was such an iconic depiction that anything else just seemed to fall flat. It totally could be me... or not... but this was definitely not my favorite of my Smaug pieces. They can't all be your favorites, I guess. Here is how the final art turned out on the card...

Smaug the Magnificent in handy card form!

As an added bonus this art was reused as a part of the decklist insert that comes with the game. So I guess my views of this piece were not shared by everyone! Of course, I guess it is hard to hate a fire breathing dragon...

Smaug the Magnificent in handy informational insert form! 

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, May 13, 2013

Skorne Mammoth

Way back in September and October of 2011 I worked on a mammoth project... in fact it was the mighty Skorne Mammoth recently released by Privateer Press! I am happy to now be able to share the work that went into creating such a massive miniature. It was no small effort and I worked closely with art director Chris Walton to make sure Privateer Press got what they needed. Here is how the final painted and assembled Skorne Mammoth looks...

Skorne Mammoth
(Image courtesy of Privateer Press)

Now that you have seen the final product, here are all my finished and final drawings that went into creating the Skorne Mammoth...

Skorne Mammoth - Turnaround
© 2013 Privateer Press

Skorne Mammoth - Front breakdown
© 2013 Privateer Press

Skorne Mammoth - Back breakdown
© 2013 Privateer Press

Skorne Mammoth - Body concept and breakdown
© 2013 Privateer Press

Skorne Mammoth - Cannon detail and breakdown
© 2013 Privateer Press

Skorne Mammoth - Cannon rigging breakdown
© 2013 Privateer Press
 
The Skorne Mammoth was not the first miniature that I designed for Privateer Press, but it certainly the largest. Now that the Mammoth has been released I will have more of my PP work to share with you very soon. I also have a mountain of concepts and earlier versions of the Skorne Mammoth that I can share as well. As I have said, it was a mammoth project...

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, May 10, 2013

Question from the blog: Under paintng and under drawing settings

Recently received a question on the blog and I had the opportunity to answer it sooner rather then later. William asks...

"What method (how do you) set up your line drawing so that you can color "under" it, coloring so that the lines are not covered up, if that makes any sense. I see underdrawings used all the time by artist in Imagine FX, but NO ONE describes what settings, masks, layers whatever they do so that they are not painting completely over the image."
First things first...

I STRONGLY STRESS THAT EACH ARTIST FINDS THEIR OWN PATH AND WHAT METHODS WORKS BEST FOR THEM. Simply coping what I do will not necessarily produce the same end product and might not be a good fit for everyone. Trial and error and finding out what works for you and the way you work is the best way to build your skills and abilities. Understanding WHY these setting work and what you can do with them is as important as any other tool and technique in your arsenal. 

With that said, let's get started!

Over the years I have employed various techniques to build up my paintings... with a wide variety of levels of success. Up until a year ago I fine tuned a method that was working fairly well for me. A year ago I was shown how to do it better. Over the last year I have customized this newer process and it is what I use for all my paintings now. I will be showing a side by side comparison of my file hierarchy and settings. But first, lets start with the drawing.

The drawing is very important to my painting process and carries a lot of the weight of my work. I spend a lot of time working out the drawing to insure I have the best starting point. Parts of the drawing are still visible in all my final paintings, but if I have done my job correctly, you will never know it. I have established a process over the years that I apply to all my drawings to get them ready for paint. I have a handy info graphic that walks you through it...

Drawing filtering process.

Now that the drawing is ready I can begin to paint. Again, I have a info graphic that breaks down my paintings and explains each layer. The older process is a lot more straightforward, but requires a lot more work to control color and value - I did learn a lot by using this method and I strongly stress that figuring out the hard way to do something make everything else much easier and more rewarding. My current process allows me to better control value and color and has really sped up my work time. Of course, I don't know how much this speed increase is due to a better understanding of what I am doing versus a change in process. Let's have a look at the breakdown of my files...

 On the left, my old process. On the right, my current process.
The drawing is clearly visible until steps 3 / 6 

With my current process the drawing is completely visible until I begin actively painting with opaque marks at step 6. Unlike my old technique, steps 2 - 5 and building on the drawing and incorporating it more into the under painting. Instead of just a multiply layer of color over the drawing making everything darker with my current build up the drawing begins to take on color and affect what the color and value is doing. This can be seen best here...

 The drawing lives on until you need it to go away...

The layers and settings in the second info graphic should give you more then enough to start moving in the better direction. Simply a multiply layer over the drawing is enough to get you started. Finding out what works for you is the hard part. I went through a lot of trail and error over the years while I figured out what works best for me. Of course... some of that trial and error involved me getting better at what I was doing which required to find better ways to use my tools. Here is another look at the files and layers. The highlighted layer is at which point I began painting opaquely and started covering up the drawing...

Old process layer structure.

Current process later structure.

As you can see, both have about the same number of layers. My current process have more emphasis on the earlier stages of building up the under painting and establishing the value and color. My old process got quicker to the actual painting but then required more layers to adjust what was painted. I like the current version since it allows me a more fleshed out starting point. A stronger beginning allows for a stronger over all piece... IMHO.

I hope this helps, William! If yo have any other questions or needs clarification, just let me know!

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 8, 2013

In search of Monsters - London, England (Part 2)

Today I have for you a look at the second part of London, England... or should I say I have for you a handful of the hundreds of images that I took while visiting London.  The British Museum is jam packed from one side to the other with amazing artifacts from human history. You want to see the wonders of the humanity all in one building? Head to the British Museum! The items are all astounding, but as a reference resource I was just floored. My eyes were opened time and time again to what the actual artifacts of our history look like. Here is the second part of London...

Canopic jars in all their glory - London, England

A detail of one of the many sarcophagi on display - London, England 

I can haz mummy? - London, England

Sarcophagus close up - London, England

Detail of ceremonial bronze shield found in a river - London, England

 "I'M HUGE!" - London, England

Amazing and gigantic Lamassu (RAWR!) - London, England

When centaur attack - London, England

Now showing in London... ancient Greece - London, England

Disapproving Devil disaproves of his hot pocket - London, England

I think they could fit a little more detail in there... - London, England

SO much inspiration and beauty - London, England

Chinese plate with phoenix and dragon - London, England

Red Japanese monster means business! - London, England

Indiana Jones was looking for the wrong skull - London, England

RAWR! - London, England

Needless to say, all images are...
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

This concludes the overview of my international monster investigations. I hope you found these images as inspiring as I did. I will be bringing you more in the fullness of time as it relates to specific projects.

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, May 6, 2013

In search of Monsters - London, England (Part 1)

Today I have for you a look at the first part of London, England... or should I say I have for you a handful of the hundreds of images that I took while visiting London.  I finally found a whole ton of monsters all in one place... convenient! The British Natural History Museum has MANY amazing specimens and displays. Hopefully I will have a chance to share more of the images I took while visiting all the dinosaurs, reptiles, mammals, birds, invertebrates, and other monsters.  Here is the first part of London...

"Dippy" the apatosaurus  - London, England

Monkey skeleton  - London, England

A terrible lizard monster, I never get tired of seeing these skeletons in person  - London, England 

Some of the skeletons were displays 12 feet off the ground and there is an elevated walkway to see them as well as a walking path below - London, England

Tyrannosaurus Rex teeth - London, England

One of my favorite mammals, the scaled pangolin - London, England 

Another of my favorite mammals, the deadly hippopotamus - London, England 

Earth's largest mammals all in one giant room, elephants, whales, and their ancestors - London, England

FINALLY, a coconut crab in the flesh (as it were), love these things! - London, England

Needless to say, all images are...
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

That is a taste of the cast archive of natural history to be found in London, England. On Wednesday I have a taste of the human history that is contained in the walls of the British Museum!

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