Friday, September 15, 2017

Mind Flayer Tadpole - 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 Mind Flayer Tadpole. This one was a fan favorite. Everyone really reacts to the tadpole up against the eye and responds well the to creep factor. This was also a great opportunity to get a self portrait into a D&D book! Here is how the final Mind Flayer Tadpole turned out...
Mind Flayer Tadpole
9.1 x 10.1 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

To start things off I did a photo shoot with a kneaded eraser on my face to stand in for the tadpole. Not the most elegant of photo shoots, but it got the job done and I got some great reference to work with. I know much of the work that I do needs to be creepy, but after so many years I am desensitized to it and go on instinct. This piece seems to have hit all the right buttons with people, so I must be doing something right. Here are the thumbnails for this piece...

Mind Flayer Tadpole - Thumbnails
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

I was given the go ahead to take option C to a finalized drawing. Once I turned it in there was some concern that the drawing looked off and that the anatomy of the face was not working. Since I was working from reference I was a little confused and there was some back and forth communication to figure things out. Finally I sent my reference photos in to show what I was aiming to do and it was all cleared up immediately. One of those things were a picture is worth a thousand words. We were all on the same page and production could continue. Here is the final drawing for this piece...

Mind Flayer Tadpole
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Now that the drawing was approved I could get started with 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...

Mind Flayer Tadpole - Process steps

You will notice that there was some adjustment of the green background glow behind the ear. This was a request from production. The original green was considered too bright and I was asked to knock it down a little. To better show how the painting developed, here is a animated progression of it taking shape...

Mind Flayer Tadpole - 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...

Mind Flayer Tadpole
9.1 x 10.1 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

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

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