Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beholder Gazer - Volo's Guide to Monsters - Process

The monster are in charge of the blog and they have decided to share with you the process and steps that went into making the five paintings that I contributed to the Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Volo's Guide to Monsters. I hope you enjoy!

Today's selection is the Beholder Gazer. It is hard to go wrong with any type of Beholder. It is also hard to think of any other monster more directly tied to D&D, except for maybe a dragon. I have always loved Beholders and I probably always will. Here is how the final Beholder Gazer turned out...
Beholder Gazer
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

There was no need for a photo reference shoot to start off these thumbnails. I am more than familiar with the beholder form and I was able to sit back and play around with making a funny little beholder-Kin. Here are how the thumbnails turned out...

Beholder Gazer - Thumbnails
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Option C was the winner and I can't object. Looking back at them now, C is the obvious pick of the litter, though at the time I think I really wanted A to win. Live and learn and have confidence that production will pick the right ones! I got the go ahead to move onto the final drawing. Production thought the eye stalks of the drawing were a little, um, naughty and I was asked to change them out. I did a new version with less naughty eye stalks and it was approved. Here are the two versions of the drawing...

Beholder Gazer (Original Version)
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Beholder Gazer (Final Version)
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

With an approved drawing I was given the go ahead to start the painting. With all of these Volo pieces the painting went quickly, smoothly, and there were no issues or concerns. Which is always nice. I just got to sit back and have fun making pretty monsters. Being an isolated figure helps out a lot too. Here is the paint work for this piece coming together...
Beholder Gazer - Process steps

You will notice that the eye stalk furthest on the right looks a little weird throughout the process. This is because late in painting I realized it was a little off. It just want not in the right place and I needed to move it. Because of how I build up my files this meant permanently shifting my work on many layers. This also meant when I went back to share the process that it would look a little weird. The background mask layer was shifted and a later flattened paint layer was moved to match it. Happend pretty regularly when I work on isolated figures. To better show how the painting developed, here is a animated progression of it taking shape...

Beholder Gazer - Animated process

While there is a fair bit of pushing and pulling of form and value the painting was extremely straight forward. I get into a zen state when working on isolated figures as I work the large forms and then lay in all the detail work. I just want to make a really pretty monster for these types of pieces, and hopefully I did. Here again is how the final painting turned out...
Beholder Gazer
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

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

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