Friday, November 30, 2012

Fresh from the drawing table... Homunculus!

I have for you another drawing that is fresh from the drawing table. This time around it is a Homunculus! "H" is still going strong, but there was something about the Homunculus that caught my eye. The science of the D&D world has always been a strange mix of magic and alchemy where anything was possible, which means the Homunculus will be right at home and could be just about anything. I present to you my version of a Homunculus…   

© 2012 Christopher Burdett

 Historically, the Homunculus is described as a small man shaped object that is embedded with certain human qualities through alchemical rituals... or specifically, magic makes the little man sculpture work. In the D&D universe this has depicted as a small humanoid creature sometimes with wings that is usually made out of a clay like material and does the will of its creator. What if we take that a step further, what if there was a part of a man... say a heart, a brain... or his soul, locked inside a vessel, combined with magic and alchemy to creature the Homunculus? Imagine entering the tower of some some mad wizard (it is always the fault of those damn mad wizards) and you see dozens and dozens of these things running around, doing tasks, maintaining experiments, even the watchful obedient servant and you knew that inside each one was a body part or soul of some hapless person...

My first 100 original Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual redesigns (A - Z): Aerial Servant, Ankheg, Ant (Giant), Ape (Carnivorous), Ape (Gorilla), Axe Beak, Axe Beak (version 2), Baboon, Badger, Barracuda, Basilisk, Baluchitherium, Bear (Black), Bear (Brown), Bear (Cave), Beaver (Giant), Beetle (Giant) - Bombardier, Beetle (Giant) - Boring, Beetle (Giant) - Fire, Beetle (Giant) - Rhinoceros, Beetle (Giant) - Stag, Beetle (Giant) - Water, Beholder, Black Pudding, Blink Dog, Boar (Giant), Boar (Warthog), Boar (Wild), Brain Mole, Brownie, Bugbear, Buffalo, Bulette, Carrion Crawler, Catoblepas, Cerebral Parasite, Chimera, Cockatrice, Coutal, Crab (Giant), Demon Type III (Glabrezu), Demon (Juiblex), Demon (Manes), Devil (Ice), Dragon (Red), Elemental (Earth), Ettin, Eye of the Deep, Flightless Bird, Frog (Giant), Fungi (Violet), Giant (Hill), Goblin, Golem (Flesh), Hobgoblin, Homunculus, Hydra, Imp, Intellect Devourer, Ixitxachitl, Jackal, Jacklewere, Jaguar, Ki-Rin, Kobold, Lich, Lizard (Giant), Lizardman, Manticore, Mind Flayer, Minotaur, Naga, Neo-Otygugh, Nixie, Ochre Jelly, Ogre, Owlbear, Peryton, Pixie, Purple Worm, Quasit, Ram (Giant), Roper, Rust Monster, Sahuagin, Salamander, Shambling Mound, Treant, Troglodyte, Troll, Umber Hulk, Unicorn, Vampire, Wasp (Giant), Wight, Wyvern, Xorn, Yeti, and Zombie.      

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, I will 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:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deep One - Process

Last week I brought you my third traditional painting, the Deep One.  Today I have for you the process progression of the painting coming together. Point and laugh or look and learn, either is appropriate and I will not judge.

With all my paintings, it all started with a drawing. I am constantly reminded, the more I put into the drawing and the better the drawing is, the better the painting will be. Work out all your problems and figure out everything before you begin to paint. Seriously. Whenever I have issues with a painting it is because I did not do enough to make sure the drawing was correct. Bad perspective in a drawing will mean you have bad perspective in the painting. Bad anatomy in your drawing will mean you will have bad anatomy in your painting. Digital media will allow you the freedom to fix any number of issues with a great about of ease and speed, if you are working traditionally you do not have that flexibility. Thankfully with this piece I was starting off with a really solid drawing that I poured over and spent a lot of time on...

© 2010 Christopher Burdett

For the painting I am working in acrylics on a 9 x 12 board. I tried to take a photo once every hour or there about. I was not always exact, but close enough. As mentioned previously I am still coming to terms with and learning to deal with the feeling that the painting is spiraling out of control and then desperately trying to regain control of it. This accounts for what appears to be slow process early on and then a lot of progress later in the process. Once I feel like I am in control I seem to speed up and things move along with out trouble. Once I get pass those early feelings of being out of control the process of paintings for me feels very similar to when I am painting digitally. The tactile process might be a little different, but the actions and process are very similar. Gives me hope for the future. Here is the Deep One coming together...

Deep One steps 1 - 4

Deep One steps 5 - 8

Deep One steps 9 -12

In 12 easy step... actually, it is not very easy for me yet and it is very much a learning experience. But I would like to think I am able to build off of everything that I have learned working digitally these past 4-5 years. Here is the final Deep One one last time to see how it turned out...

Deep One
© 2012 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:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hida Kaiji - Process

Back in October I shared with you my contribution to the Legends of the Five: Rings Seeds of Decay expansion. Today I have for you the process that went into those three cards. I am grouping all three into a single post because they all centered around one single character, the Hida Kaiji. I was tasted with designing Kaiji as well as depicting him in several exciting activities. As will all my work I started with some concepts and loose thumbnails. Here are the concepts...

Hida Kaiji - concepts
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

They wanted a part man, part monster, part oni who is still retaining his humanity and is still a samurai. I don't recall if the description specifically stated he was asymmetrical and oddly put together, but I knew he had to be depicted in this manor. Anytime I can put one huge arm onto something I am happy! I do know he was to be represented as a 20 foot giant, something akin to a medieval Japanese Incredible Hulk. From the beginning I was leaning toward option "A" and the ADs agreed. Since Kaiji was going to be doing a lot of activities I went ahead and sent in some very rough thumbnails with descriptions of what I had in mind...

Hida Kaiji - rough thumbnails
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

The thumbnails and notes were really straight forward... standing and looking fierce, jumping from the wall, fighting a giant oni. There were a couple of minor notes to keep in mind moving forward and I moved forward with taking my reference photos and working out all the details with the more fleshed out thumbnails...

Hida Kaiji - thumbnails
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

The thumbnails were all approved and I moved forward with the final drawings. The drawings were all approved and I pressed forward on the final paintings. I have grouped the drawings and the painting processes together for each card. For the character card of Hida Kaiji I envisioned him standing triumphant on the battlefield surrounded by the mutilated corpse of some giant horror he just destroyed. His normally sized companion directs him to the next target in the distance. This is how the final drawing turned out...

Hida Kaiji - drawing
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

With the painting I was a little lost with what I wanted to do. I had to include a lot of information (my own fault) and it need to set a mood for the character and be interesting. Very early on when I was working up my under painting I saw the sky being bright and blue... that quickly changed as the piece started coming together. I realized the sky needed to be more of a sun set (has the battle waged all day?) and fires needed to glow in the distance. There needed to be a back glow as well as the frontal light. The piece built up as usual and came together without trouble once the sky and lighting were figured out...

Hida Kaiji - process
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Ruthless Onslaught was a pretty straight forward piece. Kaiji is leaping from the wall to the battle below. Shooting the reference for this was interesting. Here is the final drawing for the piece...

Ruthless Onslaught - drawing
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

I again wanted an interesting sky and looked at a lot of images of skies till I found several to reference from. I liked the front/back lighting of the first Kaiji piece and brought it into this one as well. A bright light aiming up at Kaiji as the sky glows behind. Is this realistic? No idea, thought it looked good and worked well for this card. Here is the process progression...

Ruthless Onslaught - process
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Finally the up close and personal fighting portrait. I wanted to depict that moment where Kaiji snaps the neck of the Oni he is fighting... not sure if it reads... but that is what I was going for. Here is the final drawing...

Determined Challenge - drawing
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

I wonder if I should have twisted the Oni's head more... or painted in the word "SNAP" next to the neck... or not worry about it and just be happy that a huge mutant is fighting a giant Japanese devil. Of the three pieces this painting came together the quickest and was done before I knew it. When I was done this was also my least favorite of the three. Now that a year has come and gone and I have held all three in card form... there is something about the final card that I find more successful then the other three. I can not put my finger on what it is though. I am VERY happy with how all three turned out in card form, they are a little darker, the details pull together, and there is a tightness to the paintings that I think really improves the images. All of these things really helped the Determined Challenge. Here is the process progression...

Determined Challenge - process
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Here are the final paintings one last time so that you can see how they turned out...

Hida Kaiji
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Ruthless Onslaught
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

Determined Challenge
© 2012 Alderac Entertainment Group

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:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I have for you today another new traditional painting. For my fourth attempt at painting traditionally the Chimera was the lucky winner. Back on May 14, 2010 I first posted my Chimera redesign as part of my "Fresh from the drawing board" series. It only took me 2.5 years, but it is finally in color. Here is how it turned out...

© 2012 Christopher Burdett

This was completed in acrylic and measures 9x12. I gotta say that as daunting as switching materials has been, I do feel like I am learning a lot... I think... maybe... There is still that completely horrifying period at the beginning where it feels like it is all spiraling out of control and it is all I can do to pull it back together. After that it gets a lot easier. There is a similar period when I work digitally, but over time I have found working methods that alleviates a lot of that feeling and I am obviously more comfortable with handling issues that my arise when working digitally.

As mentioned above, this is the second of my finished "Fresh from the drawing board" piece, the first being the Bugbear. This is all part of a larger long term personal project. Since I work digitally for my clients I have decided to only work traditionally for personal work. It is a nice break and allows me the chance to try new and different things. Here is another image of the completed painting just being a burden and taking up space. ...if you would like it to take up space at your house, it and the Bugbear are for sale...

Back from an exciting trip to Illuxcon the Chimera likes hanging out on flat surfaces. RAWR!

I will have some process posts for this and the Deep One in the near future. I took lots of photos so you can see everything that I am doing wrong with my paintings.

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog! Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving - the great American eating holiday I will not be posting on Friday, taking the weekend off. I will be back here on Monday, so I will see you here then! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Deep One

I have been getting my hands dirty again with some actual real life traditional painting! Leading up to Illuxcon V I made the time to work traditionally again and I believe it was an extremely good use of that time. The Deep One piece that I completed for the Lovecraft Creature Lab ArtOrder challenge was on my list of pieces I wanted to complete traditionally from the beginning. Here is how it turned out...

Deep One
© 2012 Christopher Burdett

This was completed in acrylic and measures 9x12. The one consistent with traditional painting that I have found is that it looks WAY better in person. It therefor is not surprising to not be completely happy with the how my images turned out for this piece. But they are close enough to get the point across.

After completing my first two traditional pieces at the beginning of the year I hit a set back which wrecked my confidence with working in paint. It took a while, but I got back on the horse and I am very pleased with how this piece turned out. This piece was intended to be a gift from the beginning and I needed to have it ready to take with me to Illuxcon, which really helped get me motivated and working. Over the years Lar Grant-West has been extremely generous with his time, advice, help, and paintings, so it was the least I could do to show my appreciation by make this for him. I still need to get him a dead armadillo though...

Here was my last looks at the painting at Illuxcon before it went off to its new home...

Deep One hanging out and rubbing elbows with other paintings at Illuxcon. RAWR!

That is all for another Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday for MORE traditional work! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Election Night Monster Portrait

Just a quick post today, still getting my ducks in a row after Illuxcon and trying to get back to a normal (for me) sleep routine. There are two things I don't talk about online, religion and politics. The closest I am every going to come to talk about them is to say I drew this monster on election night as the world turned and the polls closed across the country. This is how it turned out...

 Election Monster
© 2012 Christopher Burdett

Since I had some down time that evening I was of course drawing monsters for myself. I was getting on a plane the next day bound for Illuxcon and I was thinking a lot about the workshop I was going to be taking with Lars Grant-West about creating alien portraits. Not much more to say about it, I was just drawing a monster portrait and having some fun! RAWR!

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday for a look at some recent personal work! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Illuxcon 2012 - Wrap Up

I am back from Illuxcon 5 and getting back into the groove of work. First and foremost I would like to extent huge thanks to Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire for everything they do to make Illuxcon happen. Their hard work and effort allows us all to have an amazing and memorable 4 days of Illuxcon. Illuxcon is super amazing and awesome each year in its own different and unique ways. Hard to compare them all, I have gotten something new and different out of each one.

Next year it will be all shiny, new, and different in Allentown, Pa. I can't wait!

If you missed any of my Illuxcon 5 posts you can use these convenient links...

Illuxcon 2012 coverage Day 0

Illuxcon 2012 coverage Day 1

Illuxcon 2012 coverage Day 2

Illuxcon 2012 coverage Day 3

Illuxcon 2012 coverage Day 4

Here are some last images to conclude Illuxcon V...

 A better scan of the alien portrait that I drew in the workshop led by Lars Grant-West.

 The flight out of Altoona at 5:30 am was just for us Illuxcon attendees apparently.

 One last gratuitous images of a plane to conclude the trip.... RAWR!

That is all for Wednesday and for Illuxcon 2012, see you back here on Friday for usual blog stuff. Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Monday, November 12, 2012

lluxcon 2012 - Day 4

All good things must come to an end and alas it is Day 4, the last day, of Illuxcon V. There is nothing scheduled today, so there is plenty of time to explore the main exhibit hall one last time to make sure you didn't miss anything. Even though I have been here all four days I was still discovering things I had overlooked the previous three. Plenty of people still to talk to and many delights for the eyes and spirit. Some people had to give their goodbyes the evening before due to early flights and departure times. Many others said their goodbyes throughout the day reluctant to leave until they could not stay any longer and still make it home that day.

As with previous years, I stayed to the end. I was transporting several artists and their work back to the hotel. After unloading we broke into groups, big and small, and went in search for food. Many of us had not eaten all day and there was a little over indulgence at dinner. But the company was stellar and the fun never ended. Due to may 5:30 am flight leaving Altoona I had to go back to my room after dinner to make sure I was all packed, but after that I made my rounds of the bar saying goodbye to those still around. Bittersweet as all the goodbyes are at Illuxcon, I am eager to get home and get to work, but many of these amazing and talented people only cross paths with me once a year.

It was strange to realize this was the last time many of us would be in the exhibit building let alone Altoona. Illuxcon will be moving to Allentown, Pa. next year to a much bigger home. I have grown to enjoy my time in Altoona with all its quirks. There has been something nice about having to share the drive from the hotel to the event building. Once in Allentown the hotel and exhibition space will be in walking distance. Granted, there will be more food options, nicer lodging, a bigger nicer exhibition space, and better access to airports and mass transit, for me at least, I will miss Altoona. I have a lot of amazing memories associated with the city and Illuxcon.

A big thanks as always goes out to Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire for all that they do to make Illuxcon the event that it is. Also, there are so many volunteers and helping hands that need to be thanked for what they do to contribute to the amazing and AWESOME event that is Illuxcon. I eagerly await what Illuxcon VI brings, there are MANY exciting changes and new opportunities ahead for Illuxcon and the artists attending. Here are some pictures from Day 4...

 More of Tom Kuebler's amazing work!

 The painting that Julie Bell was working on while attending Illuxcon.

 A look around the exhibit hall of Illuxcon V on Day 4.

  A look around the exhibit hall of Illuxcon V on Day 4.

  A look around the exhibit hall of Illuxcon V on Day 4.

 Down on the floor having a look around...

 Shadowcore at Illuxcon! Representing members: Myself, Mike Sass, and Chris Rahn.

 Say this out front of the exhibition hall after helping Chris Seaman with some reference photos. Apparently not everyone was not a fan of Shadowcore... :P

 The final end of Illuxcon at Altoona. Time to say goodbye and to look ahead to all that Illuxcon in Allentown will have to offer!

That is all for today... as I am still traveling home and wrote this at the airport. I will be back on Wednesday after some much needed rest. Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

lluxcon 2012 - Day 3

Day 3 of Illuxcon V! Today was the big day for me. Everything started off with my talk with Jon Schindehette at noon and I still did not know what to expect. I played it smart and went to bed as early as it is possible at Illuxcon and tried to rest in as long as I could. Several people mentioned to me at the Showcase the night before that they were attending the panel and that they heard it was going to be a packed room. Even though I arrived early there were already folks in the room waiting. As the noon approached the room continued to fill and I was still the only one standing at the front of an ever filling room. A mere 5 minutes late, Jon did finally show up and we got things going (he had a good excuse). I think it all went really well, the crowd seemed to enjoy it and Jon and I had a great time. There were many good questions and the two hours flew by. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure the panel was not recorded, but a dutiful follower of this blog can find a lot of what I talked about here, you just will have to do a bit of searching.

After the lecture I quickly relocated to the main auditorium to listen to Mike Sass, Randy Gallegos, Aaron Miller, Todd Lockwood, and Jim Pavelec talk about things to do to make the illustration industry better. This all centered around things we as artist can do and the repercussions of us not acting. The panel members had a lot of stories of their own lives to share and had many ideas of things to do to move forward. A lot of this centered around a rating website that artist could use to rate and check the rating of various gaming companies to see how they compare of rates and rights. This is still all in the early stages, but it sounds really exciting.

After this group talk I had to quickly move to the workshop I signed up for with Lars Grant-West. It was a workshop centered on creating your alien portrait. Lars shared a lot of excellent animal reference and resources and talked about his process and the things he looks to for inspiration and process. He provided us all with a mirror and we sketched out a rough self portrait and then turned ourselves into an alien or monster. It was a very full three and a half hours of animals, monsters, and drawing. Very glad I took part in it! I hope Lars does something similar next year.

Before I knew it the day was over and I had not been in the main show at all. I will have all day Sunday to take it in, so it all works out. The groups of folks all slit up as usual and went to dinner. The awards and jam sessions started up back at the Ramada in the evening and there was much fun and socializing. I found a comfy chair in the lobby and was surrounded by great and funny folks and the night just flew by. I excused myself very much past my bed time, but it was worth every moment. Here are some images from the day...

 A look at the Room 001 when I arrived.

 As the noon time hour approaches things begin to fill.

 The panel over, there was clapping! Which was, pretty cool to say the least.

 Panel buddies! A HUGE thanks to Jon for taking part and making the panel that much better!


 Mike Sass, Randy Gallegos, Aaron Miller, Todd Lockwood, and Jim Pavelec at their talk.

 My alien monster from Lars' workshop... RAWR!

 Artists HUNGER! Demand Mexican food!

 A look at the ballroom during the jam session and after the awards.

 Omar took home the big award... RAWR!

 A look at the Ramada grotto from my comfy chair and all the fun and folks. Good times!

That is all for another amazingly awesome day at Illuxcon V! See you back here for a recap of the last day. Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

lluxcon 2012 - Day 2

Illuxcon V Day 2! The lectures, workshops, and demonstrations have begun and the level of awesome went up a notch! Due to a late night and an early I was dragging a little through the day, but I was making the best of it and there was plenty to tantalize the eyes and spirit. Illuxcon is a environment for very little sleep and a whole lot of things to do and see. But I digress from my my tales of sleep deprivation...

The day started off for me with a lecture by the always informative and entertaining Winona Nelson. She talked about how the creative mind works and how how best to use it and keep it rest and working well. It was a very informative lecture and I am looking forward to her second lecture on Saturday, hopefully I can make it. The next lecture I was not going to miss was the lecture by Jane Frank about the things that artists and collectors do that bug each other. Do not pass on a chance to listen to Jane speak or to have have a chance to talk to her. After the lectures I walked the main show floor taking everything in and talked shop with my peers. The hall closed at 5 today to allow enough time for everyone to get some food and to get ready for the the Showcase at the Ramada.

This was my third Showcase and it was nice to be back. There were a lot of old faces and a lot of new faces. I set up next to fellow Shadowcore member Mike Sass so we had a unified presence. It was a fun night of talking to folks and showing off my new work. At one point I looked to my phone to see how much time was left because it felt like it should be ending soon because so much had been going on... and it had only been an hour. That is the great thing about the Showcase, it is condensed and concentrated awesome, everyone attending Illuxcon has 4 hours to take it all in and they come over in mass.

Due to my exhaustion and my lecture at noon the following day I had to forgo any festivities after the Showcase and headed to bed to catchup on my rest. I need to be my best to for my lecture with Jon Schindehette. But there will be more on that tomorrow, for now, here are some pictures from the days events...

 A look around the main show at the beginning of Day 2.

 Winona Nelson giving her lecture.

 Jane Frank had some technical issues with her Power Point presentation but was a trooper and put on a great lecture from her notes.

 Another of Tom Kuebler's wonderful sculptures. RAWR!

 There was painting on the main show floor.

 Another look at the main show floor before everything closed for the day.

 My Showcase set up. Peddling my wears. Drawing monsters. RAWR!

 Shadowcore represent! Mike and I are ready to rock and roll! Mike had a ton of his gorgeous new oil painting with him and they are a feast for the eyes.

 Sketchbook monsters! RAWR!

 More sketchbook monsters!

 A look around the Showcase. This year it extended out into the hallways from the ball room.

 Even MORE sketchbook monsters! RAWR!

 Ditto... RAWR!

 Close to the end of the night at the Showcase. Things are just about to wrap up. A day well spent!

That is all for Day 2 of Illuxcon V! Day 3 is ahead of me and my lecture! More on all this tomorrow. Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: