Friday, July 21, 2017

Looking Back: Hiveling Overlord - Draemblade

All good things come to an end. Today I am looking back at the final Dreamblade miniature design that I have never shared before here on the blog. I worked on Dreamblade from June of 2005 till January of 2007 and it was an amazing crash course in designing, drawings, and working in the game industry. Ten years later I have finally shared all of the work that I created for the game. Not sure why it took so long, but it did and it is weird that it is now over. Here is the design for the Hiveling Overlord which was part of the second expansion set to Dreamblade, Chrysotic Plague, released back in 2007...

Hiveling Overlord
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The Hiveling Overlord, which was originally called the Spider King, was a really weird one to work on and definitely was a challenge for me at the time. Thankfully I was getting smarter about designing and evaluating my own work. Here is the description that I was given when designing the Hiveling Overlord...
"A burn victim "sits" with arms folded, looking forward, a slender sword clutched to his breast. His legs end at the thigh in ragged (but bloodless) stumps. However, growing from the king's shoulders are a set of spider-like legs, that provide all the support and mobility required. The king wears a crown that seem to be spider legs growing from his brow."
Like I said, this is a weird one. I got to work on the the design, but from the beginning I was just not feeling it. I felt restricted by the margins of my paper. I was not feeling the overall design and form. I was spinning my wheels even though I ended up with a finished drawing. I looked at it... looked some more... and came to realization that it was not working and that I needed to start over. I made a quick scan of the drawing for the achieves, but it went no further. Here is my abandoned first concept for the Hiveling Overlord...

Hiveling Overlord - Abandoned first design
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2006 Wizards of the Coast LLC

I immediately got out larger paper and began working up something that was bigger and had more space to live. I addressed everything that bothered me about my first design and pushed it all further. I was instantly happier with what I was creating and I knew that I made the right decision to start over. A lesson that is hard to learn and sometime harder to live by. Here is the version of the Hiveling Overlord that I turned in for review...

Hiveling Overlord - Original
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2006 Wizards of the Coast LLC

As you can see the version I turned in and the final version are a little different. I was asked to revisit the hilt of the sword to make molding and casting easier and some 'ground' needed to be added so the miniature would stand on the base better. Other that that the design was accepted as is and I was given the go ahead to move forward on the rest of the views. Here is the full turnaround for the Hiveling Overlord...

Hiveling Overlord Turnaround
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper (multiple sheets)
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Not sure if this miniature ever made a big space on the game scene. For me it always felt it was under the radar both game wise and design wise. Never caught anyone's attention. I sometimes forget this one is mine. Not sure why, but that is how I have felt regarding this miniature. Who knows, maybe there are a ton of people there that totally loved this one. Here is how the production miniature turned out for the Hiveling Overlord...

Hiveling Overlord

And just like that, my posts regarding Dreamblade come to an end. Maybe sometime new will surface in the future, maybe a long lost secret will emerge, or maybe I will find myself revisiting one of the these old designs to see how I would design it years later. You never know... but for now, I say goodbye to Dreamblade, you were an amazing project to work on, if only you had survived a little longer...

That's 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, July 19, 2017

Marketplace - Process - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Today I am sharing the process and steps that went into my Marketplace painting that I created last year. This painting is part of The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia project and helped with creating the (Irritated) Girasol as well as a little bit of world building on my end. This piece very much lead into many of my ideas finally coming together regarding the Grand Bazaar and helped kick off my major push to focus almost completely on this project. To start things off, here is how the final painting of Marketplace turned out...

Marketplace
11 x 14 - Acrylic on board 
Original - Currently not available 
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

Even with my own work there is always a digital thumbnail(s) to start things off. I shot my reference as needed and work out my ideas digitally till everything is working and I have enough to move forward into my final drawing. When it is a personal piece I am only ever working on one thumbnail since I am responding directly to what I am working on and do not need to show an art director multiple ideas and concepts. I very much went into this piece with an intended plan and idea. I wanted the shadow to fall over the face of the Girasol with her eyes glowing in the darkness. She would be surrounded by her items for sale and I hoped the piece would be a quiet moment as the
Girasol waited for customers. I did consider some legs of customers to be in the extreme foreground, but in the end did not go with it since detracted and complicated the piece unnecessarily. Here is my thumbnail for Marketplace...

Marketplace - Thumbnail
11 x 14 - Digital
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

All in all it was a straight forward concept. I knew how my wife needed to pose for the image and I think it all came together in the thumbnail. With everything working it was time to work out all the details and flesh out the piece as a finalized drawing...

Marketplace - Drawing
14 x 17 - Acrylic on board 
Original - Currently not available 
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

With the drawing completed it was time to get to work on the painting, which turned out to be the most difficult part of the piece. Actually, the most difficult part was the early stage - the ugly stage - of the painting. It was just not coming together and the entire piece was just not working. I thought I had it all worked out, but pieces were not falling into place. I spun my wheels with the background and color choices for way too long. I work back to front, and I was bogged down in the back with no clear way to work up to the front. I finally began to make progress when I switched gears, really focused on my reference and started fresh with the foreground elements of the bowls and baskets. That was the eureka moment and the entire painting began come together for me. I focused on something I could look at a relate to and the rest of the painting then responded to those initial referenced pieces. I changed some elements along the way and made sure everything was working better together. You should be able to see the struggle in the process images and how things began to change once I started working on the foreground elements...

Marketplace - Process progression

Once that fruit bowl took shape painting really came together. I never expected that I would have so much fun painting those bowls, but I did. Here is an animated progression of the painting so that you can get a better look at the evolution of the piece...

Marketplace - Animated process

As mentioned before, this was the first appearance of the (Irritated) Girasol. I would revisit her again when I created the official drawing that would be used for the entry of the Irritated Girasol in the book. Here is final drawing for the Irritated Girasol...

Irritated Girasol
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Finally, another look at the final painting for Marketplace to see how it compares to the Irritated Girasol. Keep in mind these are not the same Girasol. The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia will share more about the Girasol people and why they are irritated. More on this in the coming months!

Marketplace
11 x 14 - Acrylic on board 
Original - Currently not available 
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

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, July 17, 2017

Judicator - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

I have for you a new piece from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia! Today's monster is the meat mountain that is the Judicator. Made by the Woven Shaper in the early days of the Grand Bazaar, the Judicator is part of the justice system. The massive body will shake the guilty or innocent head basket once it has made its ruling on a case. Those that find themselves in the court of the Judicator wish they had obeyed the law...

Judicator
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Judicator - Drawing
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

The first 21 monsters from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia: Aberrant Stilter, Belled Kreep, Corrupted Knight, Dight-Kin, Eau-de-nil Elder, Ethra VanDalia, Footman, Gray Wanderer, Gullet, Humgruffin Mother, Irritated Girasol, Kiplorbic Animal Dealer, Myopic Riflemen, Nimsbane Curse Victim, Petrous Blacksmith, Saint Marque, Smokestack, Thrice, Virulent Artificer, Xandrell Tree, and Zombic Spore.
 
As an added bonus I have for you some images of the line work and rendering process of this piece so that you can get a better idea of it taking shape...


Judicator - Process © 2017 Christopher Burdett


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, July 14, 2017

Looking Back - Prince of Lies - Angel Season 5

I was recently reminded of work that I did back in 2003 when I was working in Los Angles. The work I am speaking of is the Prince of Lies from season 5 of Angel, episode 13 - Why We Fight. I have never shared anything related to the Prince of Lies on blog before, so this seemed like as good a time as any. The Prince of Lies was played the most excellent Camden Toy, who I was lucky enough to work with several times as well as to get to know him in regular life. Here is how the Prince of Lies appeared on screen...

Prince of Lies from season 5 of Angel, episode 13 - Why We Fight

My main involvement with the Prince of Lies was to design him. He was described as a VERY old Nosferatu like vampire. I had begun a drawn version of my design, but I was not allowed to proceed and was forced to create my design in Photoshop as a photo collage. I worked on this design right in the middle of my photo collage days in the industry, the powers that be kept me from drawing as much as they could and forced me to make these 'photo real' designs. This of course did wonders for my drawing skill set and my self esteem. All things considered, this designed turned out okay. Looking at it now I would definitely have approached some things very differently - less egg headed, my brow detail and wrinkles, pushing and pulling various other areas. But in the end it got the job down so I have to consider it a win. Here is my design for the Prince of Lies...

Prince of Lies Concept Design
8.5 x 11 - Digital
© 2003 Almost Human

The design was created over a head shot of Camden to insure that there would be no surprises moving forward with producing the makeup. The design was approved, as far as I remember, without issue or notes from production. There were some in house changes that were planned though. The teeth were not being well received by the boss for one thing, though I thought they were working and Camden would have fun with them. There were other little tweaks and changes that are to be expect with the translation of the design into something real. Here is the sculpture for the face piece of the Price of Lies...

Prince of Lies face sculpt

All in all the sculpture for the face stayed true to the feeling of the design. I would have loved to see some of the anatomy to be pushed and pulled a bit more to better follow the design, but that is not my call and it worked, so why change it. I unfortunately have forgotten who the scuplture on this piece was. If I remember correctly the cowl for this makeup was a already existing piece so the only new elements were the face and the teeth. Here is a look at the finished painted makeup pieces...

Prince of Lies face piece and cowl makeup appliances

For some reason I thought I painted these... but looking at them now I honestly can not remember. We did SO much work all at the same time, many of the pieces began to blend together. I painted so many monsters that sometimes I figure I should assume I painted it if I still have photos of the paint job. Each of us in house that painted had our own style and tell tale marks that gave us away. This one looks to be mine, though some of the vein work looks a little off from what I did. This is mostly because I was asked to put them in after I had started working on it.

Note how dead the base makeup pieces look. After all they are just pieces of foam latex. Now see how these pieces of foam latex transform in a second skin once applied to an experienced actor who knows how to perform in makeup. Here an many images of Camden Toy on set as the Price of Lies...

Prince of Lies performed by Camden Toy on set
All image © 2003 Almost Human

I loved the transformation of a human into a monster with makeup. It was not always as rewarding, some people just did not know what to do with the makeups, but Camden is a pro and creates such amazing performances.

Now jump ahead fourteen years. I was recently contacted if I would sign a trading card of the Prince of Lies due to my involvement creating him. I was of course happy to do so. I happen to also whip up a little sketch of the Prince of Lies too. He's gonna get you! RAWR!

Prince of Lies trading card (before signing it) and Prince of Lies sketch card

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, July 12, 2017

Announcing The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia - A Project of Monsters & Stories!

I am thrilled to formally announce a project I have been working on for some time now. You may have noticed that I have been posting a series of monsters drawn on toned paper, well, these have all been part of a large project set in a world that I have been developing for nearly two decades. With the posting of my most recent drawing on Monday, Ethra VanDalia, I present to you, The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia...

Announcing The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia
A Project of Monsters & Stories!

The Grand Bazaar is just that, a massive city sized marketplace created by the being known as Ethra VanDalia. The Grand Bazaar has existed for thousands of years and is inhabited by monsters and creatures who sell their wares, do business, and otherwise live their lives in the ever expanding warren of shops, towers, and dungeons. Every monster has a story and I plan to use The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia to tell them all.

This is an ongoing project and is very much in production. When I have created all of the art, written all of the stories, and have it all completed I will be bringing it to Kickstarter to help fund the project as a book. I have a lot planned and I hope that you will join me in this endeavor to see it a reality. I will continue to update on my blog about each new piece and give updates as things advance. This project has nearly completely taken up all of my art making time this year, but as I have said before, this project began nearly twenty years ago with a dragon creating powerful magical items.

Ethra VanDalia
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Ethra, or at the time, Eathra, first appeared in the fall of 1998 in my first etching class in college. The world that Ethra lives in was already taking shape in this first piece, but it would take nearly two decades for all the pieces to fall into place. Here is that very first etching of Ethra...

Eathra Van Daillia Completes the Gems of Power
Etching on paper - Edition of 8 
© 1998 Christopher Burdett

This is not the first time I have shared this image here. In 2007 I revisited Ethra with a much needed update as I played again in the world of the Grand Bazaar - though at the time I still had not put the pieces together. The 2007 reworking of Ethra paved the way for its final incarnation...

Finishing Touches
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
Original - Not available
© 2007 Christopher Burdett

I needed to work and play in the visual world of the Grand Bazaar for a while before I felt ready to finally approach the final version of Ethra, and in turn announce this project. Here is a look at the evolution of Ethra...

The evolution of Ethra
1998 - 2017

If the world and monsters of the Grand Bazaar seem familiar to you, it is because I have been creating works over the years set in it. At the Illustration Master Class in 2011 I produced a piece titled Haggling that features a Kiplorbic Animal Dealer and Nimsbane Curse Victim...

Haggling
11.9 x 15.8 - Digital
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

Last year I created a piece titled Marketplace based around an Irritated Girasol...

Marketplace
11 x 14 - Acrylic on board 
Original - Currently not available 
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

The pieces are falling into place, but I still have work to do. Once I have completed the base set of monsters I will be moving onto illustrating the Grand Bazaar itself. I want to do this project correctly, so it will receive as much time as needed to make it right. Here is a look at the currently completed monsters for The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia...

The first 21 monsters from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Aberrant Stilter, Belled Kreep, Corrupted Knight, Dight-Kin, Eau-de-nil Elder, Ethra VanDalia, Footman, Gray Wanderer, Gullet, Humgruffin Mother, Irritated Girasol, Kiplorbic Animal Dealer, Myopic Riflemen, Nimsbane Curse Victim, Petrous Blacksmith, Saint Marque, Smokestack, Thrice, Virulent Artificer, Xandrell Tree, and Zombic Spore.

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