Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fresh from the drawing table... Axe Beak (version 2)!

I have not done one of these in awhile... not since last year actually (July 8th, 2013 - YIKES, where does the time go?). There are a number of reasons, some of which I am not currently able to share. Let's just say that the energy I put into these posts has been needed elsewhere.

No matter, here we are again and I thought the best way to kick this off was to go back to the beginning. The very beginning! In May 2010 (4 years ago today!) I started posting these and I have been working on them ever since. Even though it was not the first posted, the first D&D monster that I redesigned was the Axe Beak, or Axebird as I called it then. I have never been happy with how that first redesign turned out, so I thought if I was going to start this up again I better go back and set things right.  I present to you my updated version of an Axe Beak…

Axe Beak
© 2014 Christopher Burdett

Of all the redesigns and designs that I have done for this project of mine it was the original Axe Beak that I was never really happy with. The Jaguar might get revisited at some point, but it was the Axe Beak that never worked for me. Here is a side by side comparison of the 2010 and 2014 versions...

Axebird vs. Axe Beak
© 2014 Christopher Burdett

Wonky weird anatomy issue aside (live and learn) there just was something about this piece that I didn't dig. There was a lot about it I did like, which is why it ended up on the blog and I have kept it around for so long. As the years went by though... it needed to be revisited. At one point I even started on a digital color version of this piece, before the idea of doing the finals traditionally was ever even a thought. This is far from done, but you can see were it was going...

Unfinished (abandoned) digital color version of the Axebird
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

This Axe Beak has been a stone in my shoe for a while now. I have had a couple failed attempts at revisiting it over the years. The most resent failure was very spectacular. I was over thinking it too much and looking at all the wrong reference and just approaching it all wrong...

Axe Beak FAIL!

YIKES! I can not believe I am sharing that hot mess. We learn from failure, not successes. I got my head in a better place after this and was able to finally move forward in a direction that I delivered me the piece I had been aiming for since 2010. Live and learn, trial and error! Also, not every piece is going to be successful and not every CAN be successful. WOW... that is so bad it is worse then the original...

The plan moving forward is to make a solid push to finish off the letters as I move through the alphabet, so I am going to finish off the remaining "A" monsters. Look for that sooner rather then later, hopefully!

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 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:


  1. Chris the acrylic version is just awesome, I bet the ref you have of the horn bill helped out!

    1. That is actually digital, 3 years old, and unfinished. I just was not happy with working all day on a computer, working all night on a computer... and going to do work for myself to be... working on the computer. One of the reasons I draw so much for personal work - it is not on the computer. I just was not digging were this was going and the fact that it too was going to be a digital product. This was one of the big factors in switching to traditional media for as much as possible for my personal work.