Monday, September 18, 2017

Morkoth - 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 is the Morkoth. The Morkoth is one of those crazy first edition monsters that always intrigued me as a kid. Why did this monster exist? Why was this monster in the game? What series of horrible decisions in game led your characters to come face to face with a Morkoth? While I never got answers to these questions, in the the fullness of time I got to illustrate one for D&D! Here is how the final Morkoth turned out...
Morkoth
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

I was given new concept art for the Morkoth when I received the assignment, so the hard work of breathing new life into a 40 year old monster was already taken care of. I was able to focus on making it look cool and to create the art that will represent this crazy monster for a new generation. No pressure. Here are the thumbnails for the Morkoth...
Morkoth - Thumbnails
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Option B was the winner this time around and I was given the go ahead to work on the final drawing. While these piece are all isolated figures I was asked to add a vignette of water around the Morkoth so that it was clear that it is aquatic and not flying. Here is the final drawing for the Morkoth...

Morkoth
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Around the time Volo's Guide to Monsters came out there was an article in Dragon magazine about the new and updated monsters in the book. One of them covered was the Morkoth and there was a fun little info graphic featuring my art. While I was credited as the artist for all of the art I was not responsible for the new concept work featured in the graphic. Not sure who is, but it was not me. Here is that info graphic...

Dragon Magazine graphic about the Morkoth

The drawing was approved and 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...

Morkoth - Process steps

To better show how the painting developed, here is a animated progression of it taking shape...

Morkoth - 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...

Morkoth
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC



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, 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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lizardfolk - Volo's Guide to Monsters - Process

The monster are in charge of the blog for the next week and a half. For this time 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!

Starting things off will be the wily Lizardfolk. I think the Lizardfolk was my favorite piece from the book. I have a soft spot for the D&D Lizardmen that goes back decades. There was just something about this guy's smirk that I really liked, plus all the gear it needed to have. Here is how the final Lizardfolk turned out...

Lizardfolk
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

This piece needed to be more than a monster since it was the template for a player character race. It needed to be dressed a little better and have an air of humanity about him. Well, as much humanity that a Lizardfolk can have. Production asked for a smirk or some other facial queue to it having more intelligence and motivation than a brainless monster. Armor, equipment, and a fish on the hip was also requested by production. Like I said, I think this one really turned out well and it is my favorite of the bunch. To get started with the process, I of course started with a round of thumbnails to get the ideas work out...

Lizardfolk - Thumbnails
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

If I remember correctly all three thumbnails were liked by production, but it may have been just A and C. No matter, I was give the opportunity to pick which one I wanted to move forward with. I picked A since it shows off the body and equipment the best. C is good too, but the pose does obscure a lot. As I proceeded with the final drawing I was asked to add additional armor and equipment to make sure that that this Lizardfolk read less as a monster and more as a character. Here is how the final drawing for the Lizardfolk turned out...

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

The drawing was approved and 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...

Lizardfolk - Process steps

To better show how the painting developed, here is a animated progression of it taking shape...

Lizardfolk - 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...

Lizardfolk
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

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, September 8, 2017

Aqualish Arms Dealer - The Return of Tools of the Job

I have for you another Star Wars piece that I did making a return appearance for your viewing and gaming pleasure. This time around the return of a painting comes shortly after its original appearance. Back in July I shared with you one of my contribution to the Jabba's Realm expansion to Imperial Assault, Tools for the Job. Granted, this set did come out in December of 2016, I only got around to sharing the painting on the blog in July. That said, in the upcoming expansion to the Star Wars LCG, Swayed by the Dark Side, the art is returning as the Aqualish Arms Dealer...

Aqualish Arms Dealer
Star Wars LCG - Swayed by the Dark Side

I have to say I am liking the look of the card now that it has jumped to the LCG. Imperial Assault always is limited on space on the cards, so the LCG just give more room for the art to live and breath. Game mechanics come first on all of these products, so if something has to be squished, it will be the art. Just the way of things. Here is how the art originally appeared as Tools for the Job in Imperial Assault...

Tools for the Job
Imperial Assault - Jabba's Realm

The LCG cards are also a larger sized card so the art will always look a bit better. Case in point, here is an image of the original painting and the Tools for the Job card side by side...

I fear I sometimes do not take the realities of final production printing into consideration when working on a painting. I focus on making a good image as a painting. Hopefully it all transitions well and does not muddy the final card with too dense of an image.

Lastly, here again is the full painting for both Tools for the Job and Aqualish Arms Dealer. It went to a forever home at Gen Con where it will play with the rest of its Imperial Assault friends.

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

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, the monsters will be taking over things for a little while here on the blog, so we will see what they have in store 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, September 6, 2017

Uncanny Scribe - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

I have for you a new piece from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia! Today's monster is the hardworking Uncanny Scribe. Much like many that live and work in the Grand Bazaar the story of the Uncanny Scribe's life is not necessarily a happy one. Bound to their work they are cursed to toil because of their skilled hands and unique ability with written languages. Having a desirable skill but not the power to defend yourself can put you in a perilous position in the Grand Bazaar. If you need scrolls, papers, and documents made with the finest materials and highest quality, and have the coins to rent one, then you should seek out an Uncanny Scribe...

Uncanny Scribe
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Uncanny Scribe - Drawing
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Here are all the other completed monster for The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia: Aberrant Stilter, Belled Kreep, Corrupted Knight, Dight-Kin, Eau-de-nil Elder, Ethra VanDalia, Footman, Gray Wanderer, Gullet, Humgruffin Mother, Irritated Girasol, Judicator, Kiplorbic Animal Dealer, Myopic Riflemen, Nimsbane Curse Victim, Ophiomornous Bureaucrat, Petrous Blacksmith, Saint Marque, Smokestack, Thrice, Virulent Artificer, Xandrell Tree, and Zombic Spore.
 
As an added bonus I have for you some images of the line work and rendering process of this piece so that you can get a better idea of it taking shape...

Uncanny Scribe - Process © 2017 Christopher Burdett 

That is 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