Monday, February 19, 2024

Color MtG Artist Proofs for Pensacon!

As mentioned over the weekend, I will be returning as a guest to Pensacon this coming Friday. I have some special surprises planned and I can share one of them today! I plan to have (already completed) color Magic the Gathering available at all my convention appearances this year - and moving forward if the interest is there. As Pensacon is my first event of the year it will be the first convention I am taking color proof that I have completed ahead of time. I will still be taking color orders at the show to complete after it is over, but this way you can get one now and not have to wait or worry. I am sticking to the basics for this first group but focusing on some of my more popular cards. Here is how the Ancient Carp, Blufferfish, Festering Mummy, and Gudul Lurker turned out.

My Ancient Carp, Blufferfish, Festering Mummy, and Gudul Lurker Magic the Gathering artist proofs with color handmade art on the back.
Marker, ink, and acylic paint of card.

For these, I wanted to pull directly from the original drawings for the card art. I have been working on a method to transfer images onto the backs of the cards and this allows me a lot more options for my artist proofs. Historically, one of the biggest hurdles for me is working this small. I enjoy drawing much larger and so getting a sketch on the back of the proofs that I was happy with has been a big challege. Thankfully, I beleive I have a solution, and these cards, along with many of my more recent offerings are proof that my concept is sound. I am not sure if I will be making any unsold cards available online after the show, or if I will be rolling them over to the next convention. I guess I will cross that bridge in a week. Here is a closer look at each card, and if you keep an eye on my socials, you might see some videos of the cards!

 Ancient Carp
 
Blufferfish
 
Festering Mummy
 
Gudul Lurker

That is all for my first surprise. As long as things get annouced and finalized before Wednesday, I will have a lot more surprises for you then. If not, I will have a couple of surprises.

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog. See you back here on Wednessday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability, head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Pensacon 2024 Guest Announcement - AND IT STARTS THIS WEEK!

I am THRILLED to announce that I will return as a guest to Pensacon this week! Pensacon starts this coming Friday afternoon, February 23rd, and runs through Sunday the 25th! I will be bringing the Grand Bazaar back in all its glory as well as some exciting surprises. We LOVE Pensacon, and we always have a fantastic time there. I do not have enough good things to say about Pensacon, and I hope to see you there!

I will see you at Pensacon from February 23-25, 2024!

 
In addition to myself, there will be a TON of amazing artists, guests, and vendors at Pensacon 2024. It will be SO much fun, and there will be many amazing things to see and do. This is the year not to miss.

I will be sharing some of my secrets this week before I head to the convention as well as my panel list. There are some fun and exciting things planned and I can not wait to share them! Again, if you are in the gulf coast area and want to have a super fun con experience, then I highly recommend Pensacon!

That is all for another exciting surprise Saturday 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

Friday, February 16, 2024

BLOG-a-versary - And then there were Fifteen AND Twenty-five

Huh! And here we are. Fifteen years ago tomorrow, on February 17th, 2009, I began this blog. On top of that, 2024 marks my twenty-fifth year as a professional artist, and in June it will be nineteen years since I starting making monsters for WotC. A lot has happened, a lot is actively happening, and there is an uncertain future ahead for all of us. Not everything in the past year has been good, and this is one of the reasons I haven't posted a 2023 year-in-review post. It is all still too fresh and actively happening. I mean, I can't even post images on the internet anymore without processing them twice to protect them from being stolen by billion-dollar tech firms.

A little look at the studio a week or so before this is posted.
By the time you are seeing this, the piece I was working on will now be completed.

Will any of us be employed this time next year? Will there be any need or want for art and artists in a year? This is definitely NOT where I foresaw myself twenty-five years ago, on so many levels, both good and bad. We shouldn't have to ask people not to steal from us, but here we are. But I want to stay positive... as much as possible in these uncertain times. Since mid December I have been on fire making new art for book two of The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. Like, a LOT of art. I am moving at speeds and getting things done at a rate not seen in four years. It has been really nice - as if I am finally breathing a deep, full breath after being submerged for nearly too long.

Throughout the COVID years (2020-2021) I was moving in slow motion and the "post" COVID years (2022-2023) has been spent adjusting to the new normal and all the horrors that have since surfaced. But in the past few months, I am finally beginning to feel like myself again, like a working artist. So, with all the chaos in the world I am doing my best to stay focued and work on my little world and focus on getting to the next day. I have been doing this stuff for a quarter of a century. I hope that I can keep this thing going, that we all can keep this thing going. If not, the world will become a much worse place. 

I will get back to making art; you should probably do the same. If you ever have any questions about my work, this blog is the best place to direct them.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Infected By Art Volume 12 Selected Work

I am happy to announce that I have been selected for inclusion in Infected By Art Volume 12. I love IBA, and it is a true joy to be included in a publication that features so much amazing real art. You can see a complete list of the art included in IBA 12 on their website. This year, while several pieces from the Grand Bazaar were passed up, it looks like a recent piece for Dungeons & Dragons was selected!

Cranium Rats in Disguise
Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Emi Tamji
© 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC

This was my favorite piece that I did for that book, and is remains one of my favorite recents works for D&D. And this shows, as always, you never knoew what will make it into a juried event. If you are curious, here is everything I submitted for consideration in IBA 12.

Congrats to everyone that made it in, and a huge thanks to the jury and to Bill Cox for all his work in making IBA a reality. I can't wait to see the completed book firsthand!

That is all for another exciting surprise 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

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Razorvine Blight - Dungeons & Dragons - Process

Today, I am happy to share the process and steps for one of my contributions to the Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse. I have never worked on anything Planescape related in the 19 years I have made monsters for Dungeons & Dragons, so it was a real treat to finally stick my tow into this world. Granted, only making two pieces leaves me still very much clueless about the gaming world of Planescape. Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse focuses on the city of Sigil and the various planes that can be accessed there (and if I am mistaken in this, sorry, I sadly do not know much about this one D&D realm). I made a plant and some rats, so today, we are starting with the plant. Here is the final painting for the Razorvine Blight.

Razorvine Blight
Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Emi Tamji
© 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC

I was asked to design and illustrate the Razorvine Blight. There are other sapient plant monsters in the worlds of D&D, so I had some limitation to keep in mind, other than that I was free to explore this new monsters. The Razorvine Blight was described as:

This is a sapient plant creature made of razorvine, an uncontrollable hazard endemic to Sigil. Like the astral blight and needle blight, it should appear vaguely humanoid, like it took on the shape of one of the city’s pedestrians.

I can get behind all of this, so I got to work on some thumbnails. As I have stated countless times here before, I start nearly all of my projects with a photo shoot as I act out the monster and get my head around the physicality of it. Once I feel like I have enough reference, I start scribbling. Here are the thumbnails that I submitted.  

Razorvine Blight - Thumbnails
 © 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC
 
These were well recieved and I was asked to update option 'B'. I was happy to make the updates and got to work. Here is the updated thumbnail that I submitted.
 
Razorvine Blight - Revised thumbnail
 © 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC

It wasn't quite where it needed to be yet and I was asked to make some additinal changes to the thumbnail. I was feeling pretty good with where this one was when I submitted it.. Here is the revised and updated thumbnail that I submitted.
 
Razorvine Blight - Revised and updated thumbnail
 © 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC
 
The revised and updated thumbnail was approved without additional notes or revisions. I was now approved to take it to the next process phase. I always create a final traditional drawing for every project to work out the details and to give myself a tangible product from the assignment. Here is the Razorvine Blight drawing.
 
Razorvine Blight
Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
11 x 14 -Colored pencil on paper
Original - SOLD
Art Director - Emi Tamji
© 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The drawing was approved without comment, and it was time to start on the final painting. Here is the painting of the Razorvine Blight taking shape.

Razorvine Blight- Process
 © 2023 Wizards of the Coast LLC

This piece falls in line with my other recent works in that I completed it in record time. I am finding that I can get in a groove and get these isolated figure pieces done very quickly. This has not been something I have necessarily been focused on doing but instead has happened over time on its own. I mean, one would hope if you do something repeatedly that, you will become quicker and better at doing it. It is nice to see that playing out for me. Some of the color and deco were already worked out for me in the style guide, but for me in all of my D&D pieces I am aiming to make something that looks cool nad checks all the boxes with the assignment. In the end, I beleive I was asked to make some of the leafs more pointed here and there, but that was the exstint of revisions at the end. Here, again, is the final painting of the Razorvine Blight.

Razorvine Blight
Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
© 2023 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, February 12, 2024

Looking Back: Working on the The Chicks video for Goodbye Earl

It is funny how I can be reminded of something I did over two decades ago. Last week, I was reminded of my work on The Chicks' video of Goodbye Earl. This was early 2000 when I was still fresh out in Los Angles making monsters - so nearly 24 years ago to the day. As all this happened 24 years ago, I do not have much to show for my work during this period. While I tried to keep a camera with me and get some photos when I could, there just wasn't the speed and ease we have now to take dozens of pictures and videos without care. So, I will be sharing a total of two pictures and hopefully the stories will make up for the rest. 

It was a Friday morning when the shop got the call. They needed a zombie/dead makeup for the actor Dennis Franz on set and ready to go by 6 am Saturday morning. This is a good time to mention that at this time in the industry, it was not uncommon to have EXTREMELY short turnarounds for video and commercial projects. I have no idea if it is still like this today, but twenty years ago, it was typical for us to have various commonly needed items ready to go so we didn't have to pull all-nighters. But when you get a call for a custom makeup that has to be on set in less than 24 hours, well, you know you are going to have a long day, and night, ahead of you. Needless to say the boss took the job and the two of us made a zombie makeup overnight. I was still just a pup of 25 years old, so an all-nighter was not the issue it would be today. I have never been a fan of them, but I could do them when needed, and this was definitely one of those times.

Dennis Franz in our "Dead" Earl makeup.

They couldn't get Dennis Franz to us in time to make a life case so that the makeup would perfectly fit his face. To be honest, I am not sure we would have had time to fit a life cast into the day if we wanted to. We selected a face cast that we hoped would be close to Dennis' face and went from there. The boss was focused on sculpting the makeup. It was a strightforward makeup: one piece that included the forehead, nose, checks, and chin - basically all of his face. While the boss was sculpting I was busy getting the set kit together and orginaized. We had one chance to do this right, and as we would be on set far from the shop, I needed to ensure that the set kit had 150% of what we needed. Paints, glues, makeup of all kinds, various extra application pieces to hide edges, and all the other gear and equipment required on set to solve any and all emergancies. The sculpting took hours, as they usually do. Under ideal, or even average, conditions the sculpting could have easily taken days to get all the subtle forms figured out and to add the level of detail needed for up close inspection. But we didn't have the time for all that, and the boss did his thing and sculpted the makeup at lightning speed. If I recall correctly, I was also running errands to get things we might need or were running low on, as well as picking up meals for the two of us. 

Finally, when the sculplure was completed it was time to mold it. Molding a sculpt was always... ALWAYS the most stressful part of the process for me. This was the time you could really mess it all up. To this day, I do not miss making molds. I prepped for the mold process, and the two of us knocked it out as quickly as possible. That said, the process does take a certain amount of time, no matter how fast you would like it to go. At the end of the day, you still have to wait for the plaster to set up so that you can move to the next part of the process. We were slinging plaster in the wee hours of the night, but we finished it, and the mold was sound.  

One of the things that really saved us was that we were already commonly using gelatin for makeup. We would have never had the time if we needed to use foam latex and bake the makeup for hours. With gelatin, you only needed to microwave it till it was liquid, pour it into the mold, and VERY quickly close it and clamp it shut. You had to be careful to watch out of the molten gelatin ozzing out of the seams when the mold clamped shut. The gelatin would be set and ready in minutes if you were in a huge hurry to get it open. We gave it time to cool and de-molded the makeup. It looked good and had good edged. To safegaurd the day we removed the first makeup and poured a second that we kept in the sealed mold that we brought with us, just in case something went wrong. You ALWAYS had to cover your butt in situations like this, you only got one chance, and if things went wrong, it was horrible for you.

Again, Dennis Franz doing his best to be a good "Dead" Earl.

We had two makeups and a complete set kit, so the only thing left to do was head to set. We ended up there around 5 am, if I remember correctly, which meant we were there early and had time for breakfast. One of my consistent memories of LA was how good the food was on set - no matter how big or small the project was, there was great food to be had. After breakfast, Dennis arrived to the makeup trailer and it was time to start our day... that had already been going for nearly 24 hours. 

Dennis was super awesome and a real treat to meet. He was the biggest celebrity I had encountered at that point in my time in LA. I was a big fan of his protrayal of Spike in the live action Popeye movie, so meeting him was a great experience. He shared stories with us and in the middle of us putting his makeup on he let us know he was alergic to latex. An allergy to the most common material used in makeup effects should really have been one of the first things conveyed to us the previous day, but it wasn't. It was a good thing we used gelatin! One of the interesting things about being in the makeup trailer is that depending on the shoot you can hear everything happening on set. It was hard not to hear the music tracks contuiously being played as different secitons of the video were filmed. While the boss did the face makeup I was able to work on Dennis' hands to make sure they were appropriately dead looking.

By the time we got Dennis in his "Dead" Earl makeup to set, the boss and I were getting a little goofy from lack of sleep. The portion of the video with "Dead" Earl did not require a lot of filming as he just needed to shuffle a bit as the ensemble danced and made merry all around. We listened to one small section of the music over, and over, and over, and over, AND OVER until they got all the coverage for the sceen. And with that, it was a wrap for Dennis and Earl. Makeups generally come off quicker than they go on, and this was no exception. I think the three of us wanted to have it off ASAP. As we had been up for over a day and a half, things were getting a little blurry both in the moment and looking back at my memories. We got one last meal as we left set and returned to the shop. I actually do not remember where we filmed that video. We dumped the set kit and equipment at the shop to deal with on Tuesday (we worked Saturday, and the boss decided we should have a whole weekend), and we both headed out to find some sleep. I slept till Sunday afternoon, and it was glorious. 

In time, we got a copy of the video sent to the shop to see the fruits of our labor. It was a lot of work and two full days, but for a few moments, you can see our work in the video. The makeup was not bad, and in fact, we reused it for the zombie chef in the Bogus Witch Project, but we had to make it very quickly, and the boss had always wanted more from it. It was a fun time in the middle of a very crazy part of my life that I am happy to look back on and share with you. Let me know if you have any questions about this!

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, February 9, 2024

Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide - The Return of the Gnome Blacksmith

I have for you today another piece of my Pathfinder art that made an encore appearance. I am not sure how I missed so much in 2012, but here is another publication from tweleve years ago that only recently showed up on my radar. This time around it is the Advanced Race Guide. It is always interesting to note which pieces show back up again and again and which do not. To start things off, here is the cover packaging for the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide.

Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide
Cover by Wayne Reynolds

The piece that returned in this publication is the Gnome Blacksmith. This was originally designed and painted for the Gnomes of Golarion book back in 2010 (though I may have made the work in 2009). I did several pieces for the Gnomes book and I had a lot of fun working on it. Of all the Gnomes that I painted in the book, it has continued to surprise me that this is the one piece that shows up again and again. I assume it is becasue it depicts a specific task that aren't seen in many other pieces. Or, someone just likes it. We may never know. Here is a look at the final painting of the Gnome Blacksmith.

Gnome Blacksmith
4.7 x 7 - Digital
© 2010 Paizo Publishing, LLC

Lastly, here is now the piece looked in the Advanced Race Guide. It did always print well, which is a plus. OH, how I would do this piece so differently now. But, that said, there are still some things I like about this one.

Gnome Blacksmith in handy dandy book form!

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