Monday, August 31, 2020

New Grand Bazaar Bookplates & THANK YOU!

I had a busy weekend of drawing new bookplates for deluxe editions of The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia that sold and packaging up hardcovers, stats guides, coloring books, and more. First and foremost, THANK YOU, one and all that have placed orders for my books! It means the world to me, and it is so exciting to see the Grand Bazaar heading out into the world. It has been such a long time in coming that I am a little speechless, and hard to believe that the book is actually done and in the world.  So, again, THANK YOU one and all for helping make this a reality. Here is a look at the new bookplates. With only 100 copies, there are fewer each day. If you want one, I feel you may need to act fast.

I had to use my convention dolly to take the books to the post office this morning. This is a first for me, and I welcome having this problem. I would not have been able to deal with all of this without finally getting a mailing scale and using online shipping services. I have been resistant for a long time, but now I wish I had done it years ago.

 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

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia is NOW AVAILABLE!

At long last, The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia is now available for purchase! With all that is going on in the world, I am thrilled that this is happening only a month behind schedule. The book and the enamel pins are over on my store, and I have several options so that you can get the books and pins that you want. Here are all of the options available and some details on each product, and of course, welcome to the Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia!

The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia Hardcover

The Grand Bazaar hardcover is the first book set in a world I first envisioned twenty-two years ago. The book features a red faux leather cover with embossed gold printing, 245 pages of art and stories, nearly 100 pieces of art, a fold-out map, and more! Take your first step into the Grand Bazaar with this book.



The Stats Guide
(Collected Guide of Reference Statistics and Cataloged Research Calculations pertaining to the Beings and Beasts of the Grand Bazaar of Ethra)

Want to take your Dungeons & Dragons game to the Grand Bazaar or want to bring some of the denizens of the Grand Bazaar into your game? Then the Stats Guide is perfect for you. This 84-page pocket guide contains all of the 5th Edition stats needed to use the monsters and beings from the hardcover into your game. The stats guide has been created as a book set in the Grand Bazaar and continues to world build and add to the story found in the hardcover.

The Grand Coloring Book of Ethra VanDalia

Do you like to color monsters and the world they live in? Then you will want to get a copy of the Grand Coloring Book of Ethra VanDalia. The coloring book features all of the main art from the hardcover as line art ready to be colored. Each page is backed with solid black to allow markers or similar wet media to be used without the need to worry about bleeding.


There are additionally several options to mix and match these books, or you can purchase all three books in one transaction!

Deluxe Clamshell Edition

Lastly, there is the Deluxe Clamshell edition of the books. All three books come in a special clamshell case. These are limited to an edition of 100, and each comes with a signed and number bookplate that features an original drawing. Over half of these sold during the Kickstarter, and once they are gone, they are gone.

Enamel Pins

Proudly wear the crest of Ethra VanDalia or show your support for the Yote and the Construct Guild with these high-quality enamel pins. Be the envy of your friends and enemies when you wear your Grand Bazaar pins!

That's all for another exciting Thursday 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

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Books Are FINALLY Here!

*UPDATE! The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia is NOW AVAILABLE!*

While those that had backed the Kickstarter have gotten, are getting, and will soon receive their copies of The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia, I have been patiently and not so patiently awaiting the arrival of all of my stock. They arrived at the port of Jacksonville three weeks ago, or so I am to understand. Over these past three weeks, the books went on a little adventure, or so I am told by the delivery driver. All of his shipments come out of Atlanta. If this is true, the books originated in China, went to New York, to Florida, to Atlanta, and finally back to Florida. Not sure how accurate that is, but it makes for a fun story. All of that is now moot because the books finally arrived yesterday!

Four thousand pounds of books is a lot of books. Since this is the first one and will be my primary source of income at conventions, events, and online sales, it was decided to aim high, though we may have gone a little overboard. At least we will have plenty to sell while I work on the next book(s). 

I will be getting the books onto my store with all haste. Aiming to have one listing with all the various purchasing combinations. What will not be available soon will be the enamel pins. I am still waiting for those to arrive. I will, of course, be making announcements when everything is available for purchase. Now, let's have a look at the books arriving yesterday! 

There was some concern that the truck that would arrive would not be able to reach or storage space, but in the end, it reached its destination.

I had an idea of what two tons of books would look like, but once they arrived and were four feet off the ground, they looked a lot bigger and heavier.

They were very... secure on the truck, and it took a bit of work and two people to get them unstuck and of the truck.

There were perilous moments as the palettes teetered on the edge of the liftgate, but the delivery person was a pro and made it happen.

One palette down!

The second palette of books was the most nerve-wracking because the palette was in a sad state, and it wobbled towards the edge of the liftgate continuously. 

Two down!

We needed to go through all the boxes and all the books to check for damage, defects, and to get a final count. We ended up moving all four thousand pounds of books at least once. Some of the boxes were moved two or three times. Fun times, but it needed to be done. 

 
It was expected that there would be damages from shipping. Even though it was clear from looking at the boxes still on the truck that there would be damages, it was surprising just how little was damaged even when boxes were torn open with books exposed. 

And just like that, we have books! Again, I will be making every effort to get the books onto the store ASAP. Please be patient and I will let everyone know when they are available! 

That's all for another exciting Tuesday 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, August 21, 2020

Endings and Beginnings

As The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia begins to appear in the wild, it is time to get my house in order. For the past several years, I have used a large corkboard as my primary means of organizing and assessing the progress of my book. In addition to lists, notes, and outlines both digital and analog, this production board kept me going and was a visual reminder that I was making a book, even when it didn't feel like it. The take away that has stuck with me more than anything from my time at Rebecca Guay's Illustration Master Class was that making a book is impossible. You can not sit down and make a book, it just can't be done. BUT, you can make a drawing, work on an outline, write a few paragraphs, finish an illustration, edit what has been written, working on sketches for another illustration. In time, if you keep at it, you will have a book. So that is what I did. And after several years and a lot of work, with the help of some fantastic people, I made a book.  

With the book now released, it is finally time to clear off the corkboard and make a fresh start on it with the work that is already happening on the next two books. The pandemic has had its effects on my ability to work, but I need to start making an effort if these books are to happen. So, to that end, I cleared off the production board last night. Here is how it has looked for the past several months as the books were being produced.

Production board August 2020 - the ending

As a side note, here is the production board in February 2017 when I first put it up. It was overdue when I got it and instantly helped me visualize where I was at in production and what still lay ahead of me. It is crazy how much has happened in the past three and a half years. Hopefully, in that amount of time, or less, we will see another journey to the Grand Bazaar. 

 Production board February 2017

Here is an image of how the production board now looks—Ready for the beginning of another adventure. I will be getting the sheets and notes up that are in production and what needs to be made. I have a list of the main art assets for the next book ready to go, it is now time to get all my duck lined up and in a row.

Production board August 2020 - the beginning

I have kept some of the items from the production board. Some are sentimental items, some might interest collectors, and others might be fun to give away as artifacts of the production of the book. We shall see, for now, the items I am keeping are in my flat file. The rest, well, they were quickly claimed by another.

Mietze immediately claimed the notes and items that were less interesting, and I decided to not keep.

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, August 19, 2020

The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia Release Update

*UPDATE! The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia is NOW AVAILABLE!*

 If you backed The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia Kickstarter, it is likely you have received your book(s) or will be doing so very soon. Notes, images, and updates have been pouring in as the books make their way around the world. It is all very exciting and marks the end of a very long journey. Today I wanted to share a few updates regarding the book, but first, here are a few images of the Grand Bazaar in the wild.

 The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia in the wild!

If you are interested in purchasing the book, I am still awaiting my portion of the stock. ArtOrder received the books needed to fulfill the Kickstarter, but the remaining books destined to me are still sitting at a shipping depot two hours from my house. I have been working for the past two weeks to resolve this, and as it stands, I should finally receive my books early next week. I will do everything humanly possible to get the books on to my store as quickly as I can. I will, of course, make an announcement when they are available.

What's next? I have one more post regarding the ending of production on this first book, which will hopefully be posted on Friday. In the coming weeks, I will be making a formal announcement regarding the next books in the series and what to expect from me in those regards. I have a lot to share and a lot planned. But more on all that later.

Unending thanks go out to everyone that helped me get the books across the finish line, Achsa Nute, Steve Leacock, Jon Schindehette, Brian Stillman, and Jeff Solomon and to everyone that supported the Kickstarter and made it become a reality. We are all in this together, and I hope that the finished product is a worthy reward!

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, August 17, 2020

The Daruma That Did Its Job

The most excellent Kat Birmelin sent me a Daruma about a year and a half ago now if my memory serves me. I had completed the first of the large images for The  Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia, and I had a great deal of work ahead of me, including finishing all of the writing for the book, addressing layout, and everything involved with the Kickstarter. The Daruma could not have come at a better time. 

As is the custom, I made a wish or goal - mine was to complete the large illustrations for the book, and I filled in one of the eyes. Once completed with the goal, I was to fill in the second eye. By the time I had finished all of the art, I felt that the Daruma still had some work left to do, so I placed upon it the task of finishing the writing. And then, it was tasked with seeing that the editing, rewrites, and additional art was completed. Then there as the issue of the layout, more editing and updates, more art, and finally getting it all wrapped up for the Kickstarter. Once the Kickstarter was happening, it didn't feel like that the Daruma was done yet, there was still one thing left that it needed to oversee - the production of the book. In the end, after so many months and so much work, it was finally time for my little Daruma to get its second eye. I received a production copy of my book this past Thursday and Thursday night Daruma got its second eye. Here is the Daruma with one and then two eyes.

You can see the damage on its forehead, where I had to repaint it after my cat sent it flying one day. It got a nasty crack and needed to be patched up, even though all that the Daruma did its job. It is now in a place of honor on a shelf in our library where it can rest after having done its job. Here is a little video of the Daruma getting its second eye.

 Daruma is FREE!

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, August 14, 2020

Choker Miniature

Today I have for you another miniature that has been based on my work. I illustrated the Choker for Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and it was the first of the paintings that I did for the book. Fun fact, I always... always complete pieces in the order I receive them. Just something I have always done, and it is a way not to pick favorites, burn out too soon, or leave the 'hard' ones to last. Since assignments from WotC all have art order numbers associated with them, I just do the lowest number to the highest number. For Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, the Choker had the lowest number. But I digress... The Choker is one of those classic D&D monsters that most players are familiar with. I was asked to give it a new spin and add some classic horror monster vibes to it. Production was happy with what I did, and it looks like it led to a miniature. Here is my painting for the Choker.

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

The Chocker is not a big monster, so the miniature is quite tiny. Never the less it is faithful to my painting and the pose, even though for molding and structural integrity, the right foot needed to be set to the ground. Seeing my work in plastic never gets old, and I always eagerly away seeing the selection on miniatures for each new set released. While it is not the same as actively designing them, it is nice to still have a roll in their creation. Here is the miniature for the Choker.

Choker Miniature
 
That's all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here next week. Until then...
 
For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Eidolon - Dungeons & Dragons - Process

Today I have for you a monster that was released just over two years ago, the Eidolon. This iconic animated statue was part of my work on Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. I am sure there are few within the D&D community that is unfamiliar with the cover of the original Player's Handbook that featured the aftermath of a battle involving Lizardmen. The backdrop of this cover is a giant statue with gem eyes, and a pair of adventures are removing the gems. For this assignment, I was asked to depict that statue, having decided it was tired of losing its eyes and stood up. What a perfect D&D assignment! Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is the final painting for the Eidolon.

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

Starting things off, I did a photo shoot where I made my best impression of an animated statue in my underwear. You will have to use your imagination on this one. Most of my reference photos will never see the light of day. Maybe in the far future, I will put out a retrospective, and I will include all my super silly selfies. Who knows. Anyway, I did the photo shoot, and I got to work on some thumbnails. Here are the thumbnails that I submitted for the Eidolon.

Eidolon - Thumbnails
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Sometimes with thumbnails, I see more there than the client sees. They are roughs that will lead to a more fleshed out drawing. It is only natural that production needs to know what they are getting into and request updated thumbnails. In this case, they needed to make sure they were getting a big rocky animated statue and not a Mexican wrestler. Totally understandable, and now that I look back at the thumbnails, I can totally see it. They liked where 'B' was going and asked that I made it a bit squatter and less human and make sure I bulk it up and make it more rock-like. I updated the thumbnail and resubmitted it.

Eidolon - Revised thumbnail
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

This new version was accepted and approved. There was one final note as I moved into the drawing. Production asked that I smash up the brazier a bit as if it was dropped as the statue stood up. Simple enough and adds so much to the narrative of the piece. Here is the final drawing that I submitted.

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

Before I share the process that went into making this piece, I wanted to share the first version of this painting that I submitted. It is directly based on the drawing and depicts the statue having a long flowing loincloth. Once the final painting was submitted, there was some concern that a link between the crotch and the fire would be drawn by people looking at the image. Specifically, they wanted to avoid anyone using the phrase "fire crotch" in regards to this illustration. Fair enough, and as a professional, I made the change. It required minimal editing on my part since I am working digitally. Sadly, in the end, there have people still making the "fire crotch" comment to me and about the painting believing they are funny.  Here is the original version of the Eidolon.

Eidolon - Original version
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The painting of this piece was very straight forward, even including the change to the loincloth. Due to the way I structure my Photoshop file, the final silhouette of the figure will be present throughout the animated process. It would actually take a bit of work to revert it to the original version then show the full extent of the edits. Just note that most of the final steps of the painting only involve the loincloth, fire, and leg area. This was when I was editing the image. Here is the animated process of the Eidolon painting.

Eidolon - Process
© 2018 Wizards of the Coast LLC

For those interested, I recently shared the miniature that was based on this painting. Lastly, I will leave you once again with my final painting for the Eidolon. Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes was a great project to work on, and I was able to make so many fun monsters.

Eidolon
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 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, August 10, 2020

Star Wars Outer Rim - The Return of the Rancor

I have for you today another instance of my Star Wars work showing up on another Star Wars product. This time around, I have for you Star Wars Outer Rim from 2019. I was alerted to it at Gen Con 2019 when people were remarking that my Rancor was in it. The Racor in question was initially painted in 2016 and saw use in the 2017 release in the Jabba's Realm expansion for Imperial Assault. Let's dive in and have a look at Outer Rim.

That's a nice big box with some lovely space battle action.

Ah! Now we are getting somewhere. There is a card with a tiny little image on it. Let's get closer!

There we are! That little red bit on the card is my Rancor painting. Oh well, My work has been printed smaller.

Lastly, here is the original Rancor illustration. Look how happy she is stomping around on Dathomir playing with the Sith Witches and having a grand time. Not all cooped up in the corner. Nobody puts Rancor in the corner.

Rancor
Imperial Assault - Jabba's Realm Expansion
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Deb Freytag
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

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