Friday, March 31, 2017

Looking Back: Steelfast Barag - Dreamblade

Today on the blog I am looking back at another Dreamblade miniature design that I have never shared before. This particular design never made it into production and was never a miniature, but the design was approved. Here is the design for the "Steelfast Barag" which was slated to be a part of the first expansion (Baxar's War) to Dreamblade released back in 2006...

Unproduced "Steelfast Barag"
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

This was a weird one for sure. The art order called for a four legged dragon / dinosaur / lizard like creature that was made of swords, clubs, maces, and other similar weapons. Seriously. I had a million questions for my art director at the time and was really nervous about this one. This was one of the first of many "big thing made of lots of little things" assignments that I received for Dreamblade and I was still figuring out how best to tackle the design and visuals for them. If I remember correctly I asked my AD a lot of A or B questions and her response was yes or just silence. Reflecting on it now, it was a "get in there, figure it out, and draw me a monster design" response. Somehow, I managed to get an approved drawing on my one and only attempt. The above drawing was the first and last design that I did for the Steelfast Barag. Shocking, I know... just look at that refined and nuanced design. With an approved design it was time for the turnaround...

Unproduced "Steelfast Barag" Turnaround
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper (multiple sheets)
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

To be blunt, I do not like this one at all. The profile has its charms, but the front and back are super derpy at best and the whole thing leaves me wanting. Not surprised it was never produced. I would do about this SO differently now. Not in the least I would work up more than one concept and try to work some things out which would hopefully lead to a more interesting pose and design. There was a produced Barag design by another artist that turned out great. It was a big bird creature made of swords and was super cool. Live and learn. You can't love them all and they can never all be winners. Another design lost to the ages, at least it can live on here on the blog...

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, March 29, 2017

Whatever Happened to the 2016 Recap?

March is all but over and the year is just racing by... as usual. Never enough time and always five things to do at any given moment. Yet we continue on and somehow, for the most part, get the important things done. Most of the time...

You may or may not have noticed that I never posted a recap of 2016. Most likely I am thinking you never noticed, but that is okay, we are all busy doing our own thing. As long as I have been doing this blog I have made a point of recapping each year. I share my thoughts, reflections, successes, and failures to hopefully understand my own journey as well as share with others to hopefully help them along theirs. But here we are at the end of March and I have not recapped 2016.

While this is not the recap I have been intending to write since January, this will hopefully explain why there has been no recap... without giving too much away. 2016 was a really weird year for me and there was a lot going on and a lot of changes happening. I had some really great highs: a super Gen Con and being in the main show at Illuxcon, and there were some really frustrating lows: continuing to struggle to make art at a ever increasing level of quality. But all of that seems to miss the point of my journey as an artist in 2016. It is not about the things I did or did not do, it seems to be about where I am heading and where I will be in a year or two. 2016 was a year of change and it has spread over into 2017.

This image has resonated with me for the last 6-8 months.

Every moment I was about to write a 2016 recap the events of that day in 2017 changed my takeaways from 2016. 2016 has not ended for me yet and it is quickly becoming clear that, if all goes as to plan, 2016 and 2017 will be a collective event in my career. It currently feels like 2016 was the drum roll for 2017 and now it is my time to perform. This also goes beyond my art career. My day job, my free time, and even my day to day activities all seem to be in flux and evolution. EVERYTHING seems to be in a state of change for me right now and it is taking a bit of time for it all to play out and to reach a recognizable end point. If everything continues as they are going I will have some really exciting things to share with you and I will be really really thrilled with it all. But you never know how things will actually work out until they do, so I do not what to say too much at this time. If you are being very observant, you might be able to glean some ideas at the path ahead of me. But don't worry about that too much for the time being, I have a lot of work ahead of me and I will share it with you when the time is right.

If you are interested, here are links to all of my yearly recaps since the beginning of the blog. It is an interesting narrative when viewed together like this. You might even be able to see where I am heading next by looking at the evolution and changes expressed in these post: 2009 part1, 2009 part2, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015

I think I have been as detailed and as vague as possible. More details and news will be coming in the fullness of time and this should all make for an interesting recap in 2018. If you are still reading this and if you have been following the blog, thank you. I feel like I am shouting into the void most of the time with this blog, but it is my way of recording my career as an artist.

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Felocamp Tattoo Design and Application

Let's get this out the way first and foremost... Unless you are my wife I do NOT design tattoos for people out of deeply felt personal reasons.

Back in 2013, Dear Wife was able to finally get me to design her a tattoo. It took another four years for this to happen again. She wanted a companion piece to the original with a aquatic feline motif. It needed to mirror the size, shape, and movement of the original, so while some of the problem solving was taken care of, there was still plenty of issues to work out.  Here is how the final design turned out...


Felocamp Tattoo Design
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

While the original design pulled from imagery we saw in Italy and England this piece pulled partially from our trips to Italy (again) as well as the Yucatan. While this piece was easier to work out compared to the original, it still had its share of revisions. Here is a look at some of the various steps in the design...

Felocamp Tattoo Concepts
Digital
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Here is a comparison of the Felocamp and Phoenix designs so that you can see how they mirror each other and work as a pair...

Felocamp and Phoenix Tattoo Designs
(each) 9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2017 / 2013 Christopher Burdett

Dear Wife turned to Alain at Euphoria Tattoos here in Tallahassee again for the final tattoo. Alain does amazing work and he has been nothing but eager to work with my designs. We can not say enough good things about Alain and Euphoria Tattoos. Here is a look at the final tattoo as well as a comparison for of both tattoos side by side...

Final Felocamp Tattoo

Final Felocamp and Phoenix Tattoos

Lastly, here are some process images of Alain at work making the design a reality. I am amazed with how quickly it came together. We are both very happy with the finished product! Thanks, Alain!

Process images of Alain at Euphoria Tattoos creating the tattoo.

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, March 24, 2017

Cheap Golf - Pixeljam Kickstarter

Miles Tilmann of Pixeljam is running a 7 day Kickstarter campaign for a new game that looks like a lot of fun. The campaign that ends on Monday is a super retro humor packed golf game. Even better, even if you pledge on the campaign and it is not funded, you still get stuff! All the details are over on the KICKSTARTER! To quote the Kickstarter, "To be clear - if this campaign isn't funded, you don't get Cheap Golf, since it won't exist, but you won't be charged anything and you DO still get the Pixeljam game/album." The more you pledge the more you will get. It is a win/win situation, so there is no reason not to head over.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/milestilmann/cheap-golf/description

Here are some of gifs of the Kickstarter video so you can get a feel for what the game will look and feel like. I don't know about you, but this looks super fun!




If Pixeljam seems familiar, that is because I have shared some of my work that I did for some of their contests. I have known the guys behind Pixeljam since college and I can not speak highly enough about them and their work. Do yourself a favor and go help fun Cheap Golf!

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, March 22, 2017

Coveted Peacock - Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown - PROCESS

Today I have for you the process and steps that went into painting the Coveted Peacock from the Conspiracy 2 expansion of Magic the Gathering. This piece had some serious ups and downs. It was my first and currently last attempt to traditionally paint an assignment for Magic the Gathering. A lot to bite off, but I was feeling good about it at the time. In the end the piece was traditionally painted with a bit of digital finishing to get it to where I knew it needed to be so that it would be approved. Here is how the final printed version of the Coveted Peacock turned out...

Coveted Peacock - Final
Magic the Gathering - Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown
14 x 11- Acrylic on board with digital edits and finish
PRINTS available over on my web store!
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

While the above image is how the card was printed, the actual real world painting looks a little different. Here is what the real world Coveted Peacock looks like...

Coveted Peacock - Original
Magic the Gathering - Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown
14 x 11- Acrylic on board 
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

While they are very close, there are some differences. While I have talked to people who either love the original or who love the final, I want to be clear that the decision to make the final digital changes was completely mine. I knew that I needed to tweak the image to specific ways to better meet the MtG esthetics. It is possible that WotC would have never asked for edits and would have accepted the original and they very well could have asked for revisions that would have resulted in what I turned in as a final. We will never know, but I do know the final was accepted without revisions. Hopefully I saved my art director additional work and potential headache by adjusting the image ahead of time.

The assignment called for a gigantic peacock like bird flying high over the city with blue magic trailing from its tail. Seems easy enough, right? We shall see. I looked a lot, and I mean A LOT of peacock reference for this one. Almost enough to never want to look at another peacock ever again. To get things started I worked up some thumbnails...

Coveted Peacock - Thumbnails
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

There are some of these I REALLY liked and was strongly hoping that would get picked. Alas, those thumbnails were not selected, which is totally okay and totally normal. If I didn't want to end up working on one of these thumbnails as the final piece I would not have submitted it. Don't turn in anything you don't want to work on! As you can see "F" was the winner, which means it is now time to get started on the final drawing...

Coveted Peacock - Drawing
Magic the Gathering - Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown
17 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

The drawing was approved without issue and I began prepping the painting and was gearing up to work on the toned paper value study. When the drawing was approved my art director was on vacation and another AD signed off on it. When my AD came back from her trip she asked for the wingspan to be increased on the peacock. Thankfully, I had only mounted the image of the drawing to the board and had not started painting or drawing on the toned drawing. I was able to adjust the the wingspan and get it approved and then remount the drawing and start on the toned paper drawing. Here is how the toned paper value study turned out...

Coveted Peacock - Toned drawing
Magic the Gathering - Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

With an approved drawing and some sort of idea for the value of the piece it was time to get started on the final painting. In reality it felt more like riding a roller coaster while trying to paint. While I was trying to feel like I was in control of this painting at time I felt like the painting was shoving me around to get my lunch money. I can confidently say that I learned a lot while working on this painting. Not all of it was an easy learn, but I definitely figured out a thing or two by the time I was done with this one. Here is the break down of the painting coming together in many steps, this should give you a good feeling for how the painting took shape.

Coveted Peacock - Process progression
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

From the beginning I planned on doing the magic effects digitally. I just did not want to risk going in over the final piece and doing something weird and magical only to have it be wrong. I just did not expect to do so much other tweaks digitally too. But I wanted to make the painting the best it could be for the client and that means doing everything within my skill sets to achieve that. Those little birds ended up being much more of a headache then I anticipated. As you can see I painted, repainted, and eventually painted over them. I am much happier with the digital versions. I should have done more research and studies of them at the very beginning instead at the end. They were just so stiff and flat in the original, thankfully they are moving forward in space from the peacock now. In the above images it should be very clear when I switched to working on the piece digitally. If not, it is when the peacock suddenly disappears as I am deconstructing and rebuilding the entire image. While I generally get my work done well ahead of deadline, this one went almost the end as I worked, fought, and reworked it. Here is an animated progression of the peacock coming together. This should give you a much better feel for the piece taking shape and evolving...

Coveted Peacock - Animated process
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

Here again is the how the final Coveted Peacock turned out as well as the final production card...

Coveted Peacock - Final
Magic the Gathering - Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast

Coveted Peacock in handy dandy card form

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Saint Marque - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

I have for you a new piece from my series of toned paper monsters! Today's monster is the mighty Saint Marque. Saint Marque's purview is commerce, trade, and acquisition. Minder of the books and watcher of the totals, the buck truly does stop with Saint Marque...

Saint Marque
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Saint Marque - 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, Quincaillerie, Saint Marque, Smokestack, Thrice, Uncanny Scribe, 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...


Saint Marque - Process © 2017 Christopher Burdett

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, March 17, 2017

SciFiction Interview at Pensacon

While I was at Pensacon last month I did a brief interview with the folks at SciFiction. In fact, I did one with them last year but apparently that interview got deleted by a now former employee. Anyway, if you are interested in staring at my huge head while I yammer about things I did and say incorrect words, I present to you this fun filled interview...



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, March 15, 2017

3D Gray Wanderer by David Olson

I am happy to share with you today a most excellent 3D model and render of my Gray Wander created by David Olson. David is a student at Gnomon and his interpretation of the Gray Wanderer won best of term for 3D Creature Summer 2016! I am blown away by David's work and his attention to all the detail I put into the original drawing had me double checking if I had in fact put all of it in there. Take some time and check out David's gorgeous version on the Gray Wanderer...

3D Model and Render of the Gray Wanderer
by David Olson

So cool! I am honored that David would choose one of my designs to work on. If you would like to compare and contrast David's version to mine, here is the original drawing. You will be hard pressed to find any differences and I love how David has interpreted my mark making into actual objects.

 Gray Wanderer

9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
Original - SOLD
© 2014 Christopher Burdett

Also a tip of the hat to Ruben Ramos for alerting me to David's work when it was posted on the Gnomon Facebook page. Really glad to connect with David and to see his work.

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

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kiplorbic Animal Dealer - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

I have for you a new piece from my series of toned paper monsters! Today's monster is the ever vigilant salesbeing, a Kiplorbic Animal Dealer. The Kiplorbic Animal Dealers will hunt, trap, raise, or find any and all animal or creature that you might want. If you need a furry or feathered friend there is just one stop you need to make...

Kiplorbic Animal Dealer
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

Kiplorbic Animal Dealer - Drawing
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Original - Currently not available 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

If you are thinking that the Kiplorbic Animal Dealer looks familiar that is because they first appeared in my workin 2011 in a painting titled Haggling. My world building has been going on for a while now and has been manifesting itself in different ways. Here again is the first appearance for the Kiplorbic Animal Dealer...

Haggling
11.9 x 15.8 - Digital
© 2011 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, Quincaillerie, Saint Marque, Smokestack, Thrice, Uncanny Scribe, 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...

Kiplorbic Animal Dealer - Process
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

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