Friday, July 31, 2020

Kickstarter Roundup - Sideriadis

Today on the blog, I wanted to point out a current Kickstarter project that I think you all might be interested in. It features fantastic art and stories, and if you have not already checked them out, you should do so NOW!


Today I have for you Jon Sideriadis' Astromythos: Book One! I have known Jon for a couple years now and had the privilege to have a table next to his at Gen Con last year. I was already familiar with his work, but I got to talk at length about his stories, art, plans, and books. He is a creator of worlds, monsters, stories, and lore, and I can not wait to get a copy of his first book. The Kickstarter funded in about an hour and stretch goals are already getting ticked off. As an artist that created worlds and tells stories, I can not speak highly enough of Jon's work.  Now is the time to get in on what will indeed be a one of a kind book.

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 29, 2020

Gen Con 2020

For those in the Gen Con art show, today would have been set up day. We had either arrived in the last day or two, or we are driving or flying into Indianapolis at various times throughout the day. We hit the ground running to get all of our stuff into the convention center and set up as quickly as possible, all the while stealing precious moments with faces we have not seen in months. A quick hug here, a high five there, some excited words and talk of where we all will be eating dinner or grabbing a drink later in the evening, soon we would be sweaty and tired having toiled in the sweltering convention center. It is the start of four or five exhaustive days of a special kind of family reunion.

My Gen Con set up in 2011, my first year in attendance.

There is a smell to Gen Con. Not the one often joked about when a throng of game enthusiasts, though that can be found if you search for it. I think it is the carpet, or the air handling system, or maybe even an odor that is pumped into the center. It is partially chemical and yet also clean. It brings a smile to my face when I smell it for the first time. I know that I am home. When you arrive on set up day, there are two clearly divided groups, the first has come to play and game for four or more days, and that is about to bust in anticipation for the first day of Gen Con to begin. The second is already working and likely has been working for at least a day to get everything perfect for the days to come. While I know very few at Gen Con that exhibits beyond the borders of the Art Show, there are familiar faces in the crowds. Venders that have repeatedly set up in the same location so that I pace them multiple times in a given day. I don't know them, I have never talked to them, but they are kinsmen of the con and seeing them somehow makes me feel comforted and that I am among my people.

My Gen Con set up in 2018.

This Gen Con would have been my tenth consecutive year in attendance. This Gen Con would have seen the release of my book, The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. This Gen Con I would have attended as one of three Featured Artists. None of this is happening. I resigned myself to this reality some months ago having taken a realistic view of our nation's lack of sets to address the existence of COVID19, let alone do anything to combat it. We have the virtual Gen Con that will be starting tomorrow, and there will be around 20,000 in attendance, which is inspiring in and of itself. It is significant that so many events have taken on the challenge of hosting a virtual event this year. However, I feel if something does not happen this year to address the pandemic, there will be no events next year as the convention can not financially afford not to have in-person events.

My Gen Con set up in 2019. I was liquidating the last of my client merch and older work in preparation for the arrival of my book and all the art and prints that would be associated with it.

As exhausting as these big conventions are and as much as I sometimes wish for a respite from the time and energy commitment, now that is has come to pass and it is not happening, I miss it. I miss the people that I share these crazy four days with, the friends in the art show, the friends in attendance, and the new friends we make each year. There is never enough time, and the convention is over in a blink, but those moments we have are special and keep me going for the rest of the year. Gen Con, in many ways, has been an artistic reset for me each year. An ending and a beginning. This year would have been the best of beginnings for me, but alas, that is not to be. We look to next year. We shall hope. We shall be patient. There has to be another Gen Con, and when that happens, I will be there as a Featured Artist, and I will have my books with me.

The crowd waiting to get into Gen Con 2019 and the reason you can't have Gen Con during a pandemic.

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, July 27, 2020

MORE Recent Artist Proof Drawings

Today I have for you a selection of recent artist proofs that I added drawings to their backs. I have seen a recent increase in interest in artist proofs, which is nice. If you are interested in getting any of these for yourself, just follow the links to my store. Enough promotion, here are some drawings!

Balls of eyes and teeth, Gremlins, and screaming lizards.
Most of these were shipped out awhile ago, but with deadlines, I am one sharing them now.

That's 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 24, 2020

Kickstarter Roundup - Alba, Colin (Creature Curation), and Black

Today on the blog, I wanted to point out some current Kickstarter projects that I think you all might be interested in. All feature fantastic art and products by remarkable people, and if you have not already checked them out, you should do so NOW!


First up is Elisabeth Alba's The Everyday Witch Oracle Coloring Book! Elisabeth is a fantastic artist, and we are lucky enough to own a couple of her originals. We have known her for years, and her work a prized addition to our collection. Her new project is a coloring book of witches in everyday settings looks brilliant, and we can not wait to get our hands on it. The pages in the book are perforated to make coloring easy, and there is a tier to support the campaign that allows you to get two books, one to color and one to keep pristine... or two to color! You can also get original art as well.


Next up is Brian Colin's (Creature Curation) RPG Squeeze Series 2 – Squishy Dungeon Crawl Critters! Brian is a mighty monster maker, and I love his work immensely. In addition to drawings, paintings, and sculptures, Brain and Creature Curation produce RPG products, pins, and other monster related products, including adorably cute squeeze monsters. This current Kickstarter is for the second series of features Eyegors, Gelatinous Cubes, and Mimics. There are standard versions, rare variants, and exclusive versions available through the campaign. There is a wide range of tiers to support, and there are unlocked stretch goals and add-ons to take advantage of. I can not wait to get my hands on some squeezy monsters!



Lastly is Steven Russell Black's Curious Adornments Enamel Pins! If you are unfamiliar with Steven's work, you are missing out. I have supported Steven's campaigns in the past to get my hands on his art books, and they are treasured in my collection. As an artist that prefers to draw, I LOVE Steven's drawings and pencil work. This particular campaign is for enamel pins based on his work. If you know me, you know I love enamel pins and try to get my hands on them whenever possible. This campaign started out with three available pins, and already a fourth has been unlocked. I am really looking forward to the tiger pin, but all will be prized in my collection. 

All three campaigns are funded, and either has stretch goals unlocked or will soon start unlocking them. Now is the time to support artists and get yourself some incredible art and objects!

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 22, 2020

Hellfire Engine - Dungeons & Dragons - Process

Today I have for you a monster that was released just over two years ago, the Hellfire Engine. This devilish construct was part of my work on Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Going into this particular assignment, I was a little concerned I would figure this monster out. It was an update of an existing monster, but the reference was a little sparse. This left me a lot of room to explore and figure things out, it also gave me a lot of room to potentially go in the wrong direction. In the end, it all worked out, and I had nothing to fear, but as I was working on the thumbnails, I couldn't tell if I was knocking it out of the park or striking out. Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is the final painting for the Hellfire Engine.

Hellfire Engine
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Since this was a crazy metal devil siege weapon, I jumped into thumbnails without a reference photoshoot. I had a supplied piece of reference, but it was small and heavily cropped. I decided the best course of action for this monster was to get into Photoshop and start playing around to see what works. Here are the three concepts/thumbnails that I ultimately submitted.

Hellfire Engine - Thumbnails
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

While there are things about 'B' and 'C' that I still like, I can definitely see why 'A' was selected. That said, production did have some notes that they wanted to see implemented before I moved on with this monster. They liked some of the things that the other designs had, like more open mouths with more fire, and they wanted fire and smoke coming from all of the horns. Makes perfect sense to me, and I was happy to oblige. Here was the updated thumbnail for the Hellfire Engine.

Hellfire Engine - Revised thumbnail
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Now that there was an approved thumbnail, it was time to flesh out a final drawing that would be the groundwork for my painting. Sometimes with my thumbnails, I am working more with volumes and shapes to get a feel for a design's silhouette, and I am a little less concerned with how something would work in reality. This was one of those times. I had this vaguely triangular composition with a lot of jutting points and curved panels, but the specifics of what was going on in there were a little vague. I didn't know how those clawed hands worked, how the wheels worked, and what was happening with the body behind the front blast plate. I had to figure all that out in the drawing. Thankfully, I find figuring out clarity in a squiggly mess to be a lot of fun, and it is how I draw most of the time. Especially when working on personal work, my thumbnails and sketches are scribbled chaos, and I make sense of them as I render. Here is the final drawing for the Hellfire Engine, with 100% more concrete forms and shapes.

Hellfire Engine
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
Original - SOLD
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The drawing was approved, and I was ready to paint. This was a reasonably straightforward painting, all things considered. I wanted to make sure that it felt like there was hard frontal lighting so that there would be hard shadows that helped establish the different layers in the overall form. The pallet was limited because this monster is mainly bronze and iron, but I threw in some greens to give it some contrast. Here is the Hellfire Engine taking shape.

Hellfire Engine - Process
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Last year I shared with you a custom miniature of the Hellfire Engine created by Miguel Zavala. I still think it turned out pretty cool, and as far as I know, there is still no official miniature for this monster.

Hellfire Engine Miniature by Miguel Zavala
Image courtesy of Miguel Zavala

While looking to see if there is an official miniature for the Hellfire Engine, I stumbled upon the model work of Noa Belfer. They were responsible for making a version of the Hellfire Engine for the Neverwinter game. I had no idea that my monsters were showing up in the game, and I think this is pretty amazing. Noa did a great job of translating my painting into a three-dimensional game character. It is fun to stumble over things like this when you never expected to find them. Of course, now I wonder how many of my D&D monster designs are out there in D&D games that I don't know about.

Neverwinter: Hellfire Engine Mount
Sculpture, modeling, texturing and skinning by Noa Belfer

Lastly, I will leave you once again with my final painting for the Hellfire Engine. Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes was a great project to work on, and I was able to make so many fun monsters.

Hellfire Engine
© 2018 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

Monday, July 20, 2020

More Grand Bazaar Bookplates!

As far as I am aware, the books are still making their way through customs. I am told that once they are through and ready to be shipped, I will be notified so that I can schedule the delivery window. That said, here are the remaining bookplates that will be going to those lucky enough to get one of the deluxe format sets of The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. These were really fun to work on, and as I worked on them, I realized that I had the opportunity to flesh out some of the background beings and monsters from the large environment illustrations that are in the book. Once you get the book, you will be able to look back at these bookplates and may recognize some familiar faces from the crowds. There are still plenty of Gray Wanderers and Smokestacks in there too. If you missed the first batch of bookplates, you see them here. Here are the remaining bookplate drawings.

Monsters and constructs and beings, OH MY!

All the bookplates ready to be numbered.

Drawn, signed, stamped, labeled, and numbered!
The bookplates are ready to travel out into the world.

That's 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

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Kalaraq Quori - Dungeons & Dragons - Process

Today I have for you the process and steps that went into the most challenging assignment I have had in years. In all seriousness, I stand by this statement. It comes down to a classic case of overthinking, but we will get to that soon enough. The piece in question is the Kalaraq Quori from the Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Eberron: Rising from the Last War. I first shared this piece with you last November upon its release and again in May when the miniature based on my painting was released. To start things off, here is the final painting for the  Kalaraq Quori.

Kalaraq Quori
Dungeons & Dragons - Eberron: Rising from the Last War
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2019 Wizards of the Coast LLC

In theory and on paper, this should be a straightforward and VERY easy assignment. It is a shadow monster surrounding by glowing eyes. Done and done... right? I was even sent reference of other monsters that this was pulling from and the style of look and feel that production wanted. All the pieces were laid out in front of me, and somehow, it all went wrong. Early on, though, it was still fine and moving along well. This monster's design and look came straight from my head, and I did not shot reference for this assignment. While I could have made a maquette, it would have been a lot of time put into something that I would not get a great from. This type of monster, at least the form and design, is well within my wheelhouse and things I have worked on for years. There was no reason to believe I could not pull this from my head. Here are the thumbnails for the Kalaraq Quori that I submitted. 

Kalaraq Quori - Thumbnails
© 2019 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Option 'C' was selected without notes or revision requests, and I was ready to move onto the drawing. As mentioned here on the blog many times, I love the drawing portion of the assignment best of all. In this case, I barely had a moment or two to enjoy myself before the drawing was completed. This creature in a 2D world is basically a silhouette, and much of what makes it unique will come in the painting with the addition of light effects and the creation of volumes. Here is the drawing that I submitted for the Kalaraq Quori.

Kalaraq Quori
Dungeons & Dragons - Eberron: Rising from the Last War
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2019 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The drawing was approved without notes or revision requests, and everything was still moving along just fine. Now it was time to paint, and my brain just went into overdrive, trying to figure out what was too much or too little in regards to rendering, form, and information in the assignment brief. This is when the painting, repainting, re-repainting, and the starting over began. While the process animation below may seem straightforward, what was lost was the sheer amount of time and energy that when into this piece. Not to mention what was simply erased or deleted in the process of painting. Ultimately, the real issue that I could not get my head around was how volume and form to give to a shadow that may or may not be simply that, a shadow. I strive to have my work turned in well before my deadline. Always have done this, and in all but one or two cases, my work is turned in a week or more before it is needed. I have never missed a deadline, and nothing done for clients has ever been late. This is just how I work, and part of my production planning. I reworked this piece so much that I finally turned this piece in a day or two before the deadline. I was hoping that if I had to repaint the entire thing, or do major revisions that I would have time to still get it back to the client before the deadline. Here is the process of the Kalaraq Quori taking shape as a painting.

Kalaraq Quori - Process
© 2019 Wizards of the Coast LLC

When I turned this assingment in I was very nervious since I had lost all confidence with the painting. I told my art director how this was a hard one and that I got into my head and overthought it. I appologized if I completely missed the mark, but this was a first for me, and I got into my head with this piece, and it all kind of went wrong. My art director was happy with the piece, and it was approved with not one revision. So, there is that. Even after two decades of doing this stuff, you can still out think yourself and make the whole process harder when it doesn't need to be. Here again, is the finished painting of the Kalaraq Quori.

Kalaraq Quori
© 2019 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

Monday, July 13, 2020

Updates From the Grand Bazaar and Bookplates

Never for a moment believe that we have forgotten about the Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia! For there is big news to share. I have received word that the books have landed and are at the port in New York. Big news, indeed! Once they are through customs, I will be notified regarding shipping and delivery. Everything appears to still be on schedule, and the books are almost here.

Regarding the remainder of my responsibilities with the first book and Kickstarter deliverables, I am hard at work on the bookplates. Fifty-five of the one hundred deluxe collector's editions sold through the Kickstarter, and I am nearing the finish line for those first plates. Each bookplate comes with an original drawing, the crest stamp or Ethra or the official mark of Shaper, my signature, and they are numbered. I will be numbering them as a block when they are all done. Once completed, they will be sent to ArtOrder, where they will be distributed with the books. Each drawing is different and unique. While there are a lot of Gray Wanderers and Smokestacks, there are also plenty of other beings from the Bazaar as well as specimen jars and artifacts. Here are some of the completed and stamped bookplates that will be going out into the world. I will be sharing more with you soon!

Monsters and constructs and beings, OH MY!

That's 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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hunter in the Night: Star Wars LCG - Process

Way back in 2016, a card that I painted in 2015 was released in the Star Wars LCG expansion, Meditation and Mastery. Jump ahead to 2020, and I now have the time and energy to look back at this piece and talk about what went into making it. This assignment for Hunter in the Night was to depict a scared Chadra-Fan fleeing from a cloaked figure on the moonlit streets of Mos Eisley or some other city on Tatooine. Since this was an objective card, the final image would be a long narrow sliver of a scene. I have painted one of those before, and since that one digital, it was not an issue. Since I was painting this one traditionally, I really didn't want to paint a strangely sized painting that would be hard to frame and scan. I reached out to production to check that it would not be an issue if I painted the image to the dimensions I wanted, as long as everything they needed was within the cropping area that would be on the card. In the scheme of things, as long as the client is getting what they need and want the actual size and area of the painting really does not matter, but it is good to have open communication so that they are not surprised at the end. To start things off, here is the final full version of Hunter in the Night.

Hunter in the Night
Star Wars LCG - Meditation and Mastery
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

I, of course, started things off with a reference shoot and thumbnails. This was an enjoyable piece since I was able to dig deep into my collection of Episode One toys and use several Star Wars Micro Machines pieces as environmental references. Star Wars toys turned into a Star Wars painting for the Star Wars card game. Here are the thumbnails that I submitted for this assignment.

Hunter in the Night - Thumbnails
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

While we are on the subject or reference and photoshoots, here are some of the images that I took and made to use in the creation of this painting. This first image is of the Star Wars playset that I used as a reference for the nameless city on Tatooine depicted in the painting (it is TOTALLY not Mos Eisley, *wink wink*). These playsets were invaluable since they are based directly on background seen in Episode One, and they help address perspective and lighting. I took many of these images with several playsets and merged them together for the final reference collages. 

Hunter in the Night - Reference image

Speaking of reference collages, here are the three final reference images used to create the thumbnails, and eventually, the drawing and painting. These are a combination or still from Star Wars, playset images, photos of myself acting out the aliens, and action figure reference. I created something like this for nearly all of my Star Wars assignments, and to one degree or another, I use this technique for all of my work. At this point in my career, since I have done so much of this, I now often work up the ideas and forms while I freehand the thumbnails from my head. The environmental pieces for The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia were all created from scribbling and sketching from my head. This is only possible after years of working with loads of reference and observing the world around us.

Hunter in the Night - Reference collage

Now that the thumbnails were completed and submitted, production selected option 'C' without any notes. This meant I was ready to flesh out the final drawing that was based on the selected thumbnail. I add details, make adjustments, and get the image to where it needs to be so that I can paint it. Here is the final drawing for Hunter in the Night.

Hunter in the Night
Star Wars LCG - Meditation and Mastery
17 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

The drawing was approved without notes, and it was time to start painting. Here is an animated process for this painting coming together. While it was a straightforward piece, there was some pushing and pulling along the way to hit the right tone and to get the color where it needed to be for a night scene.

Hunter in the Night - Process

The painting was approved, and another one was wrapped up. I submitted two versions of the file to the client; one was the image at full size and the second of the cropped version for the card. I believe that I could have simply submitted the cropped version, but I was being generous and allowing them access to the entire painting that I painted. Here again, is the full painting for Hunter in the Night.

Hunter in the Night
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

As you can see, the final crop for the card omits much of the painting. While I could have painted what you see on the card, I didn't want to create an image with these dimensions, and some of my favorite aspects of the painting are not visible on the card.

Hunter in the Night with intense cropping action in handy dandy card form

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