Friday, February 26, 2021

The Artist Appeals Interview - LIVE CHAT TOMORROW!

I recently took part in an interview with Erin Sparler for The Artist Appeals. The interview goes live tomorrow, February 27th, at 11 AM EST, and Erin and I will be on YouTube for a live chat when the interview premieres. We will be available for Q&A throughout the interview duration and maybe a little after if questions continue to come in. I will be discussing my career as an imaginative realist artist, working in the tabletop gaming industry, and my book, The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. Come out for the interview premiere and stay to chat! I hope to see you there tomorrow.

Be sure to check out The Artist Appeals and my interview once it goes live. 
To chat with us live, see below.

See you on YouTube for my interview premiere for a live chat starting on February 27th, at 11 AM EST.

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:

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mystery Project Process

NDAs cover 99.99% of the work that I do with established clients, new clients, and in general, all new types of projects I find myself working on. My work stays under wraps until the client spoils it or the project is released. While I can not talk about who I am working for or what the project is, I find myself able to share some peeks of a new project I am currently working on. I can not wait to share the final product with you, but it will likely be a while before the finished product is released. For now, I can share with you the first drawing taking shape. It is only a crop of the actual image, but hopefully, it will give you a glimpse of what I am creating.

Mystery Project Process
17 x 14 - Colored pencil and acrylic on paper
© 2021 Christopher Burdett
 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:

Monday, February 22, 2021

Recent Sketchbook Drawings

Last year, I ran a big sale on all of my remaining Creatura Libri sketchbooks. Each book comes with a free drawing, and while I nearly sold out of my sketchbooks, I still have some, so I never ended the sale. I sold a set recently, and I wanted to share the drawings that went into the sketchbook. Also, details on the sale follow. 

You, too, can get a FREE drawing just like the above drawings when you buy any of my sketchbooks - which continue to be ON SALE!

As a reminder, all of my sketchbooks have all been marked down to a mere $10, AND they each come with a FREE original pencil drawing! That's right, for only $10, you can get a sketchbook with a free original drawing. I currently have three volumes of my sketchbook remaining to choose from.

The HUGE SALE on all my sketchbooks continues!

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:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

BLOG-a-versary - Twelve Years In

Twelve years ago, on February 17th, 2009, I started this blog to chronicle my journey as a monster artist. Today's post makes my 1729th post on the blog, and to be honest, I am not sure how I managed to get to this point. Twelve years ago, I was rebuilding my career after it crashed following four years of reliable and consistent work. A couple of things happened all at once. First, most of the art directors I worked with were fired, quit, or moved to other endeavors. Second, the projects I had been working on came to an end, changed their production structure, or were outright canceled. Third, my skillset was not where it needed to be to work on the projects still avialable.

I considered calling it a day and moving onto other work opportunities. The four years of work were terrific, I had never expected to do as much as I had done, and I still was surprised to find myself working in the tabletop gaming industry. Instead of abandoning what I had grown to love, I decided to double down, focus on my skillsets, look for new and varied work opportunities within the industry. What acquired from that point until now has all been documented here on the blog. All the ups, the downs, the successes, and most of the failures - there are a couple of those still to share, but NDAs stand in the way.

Currently on the drawing table and soon to be back in production after a couple other pieces are wrapped up.

In these twelve years, I went from a desperately eager artist that would take any and all jobs at horrifyingly low pay rates to some guy that says 'no' way more than 'yes,' has worked on all the projects he had dreamed of of working on. I somehow wrote, illustrated, funded, and published a book that was over twenty years in the making, and I have started on the next two books. 

It's all here, more or less in these 1729 posts, all my secrets, processes, and mistakes. For what it's worth. I would like to think there is content here that can help others and help those making their way in the art industries, but there is a lot to dig through, and it is all through my personal lens. I know that a lot of this is a way for me to process the journey and a form of self-promotion, but one can hope that even a single piece of my yammering could be helpful. 

I realized I never posted one of these past few years, which is fitting for 2020. The past few years were rough on the blog. I had little time and even less work to share here as I focused on completing my book and then the pandemic, but I made an effort to get things going again here. I do not know what the future holds for the blog. Maybe I say this every year, but as client work slows and I focus on my books, there are fewer and fewer immediate events to share. Perhaps I will use the blog as a way to share things beyond myslef and as a way to encourage myself to make sure I have new work, or at least process posts, to share regularly. 

Who knows where we will be in Feburary 2022, but if this blog is still chugging along, I will see you here.

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:

Monday, February 15, 2021

Bumbling Assistants - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

I am happy to share another new piece from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. This illustration is the second completed work for Book Two: The Completed Circle. This new piece focuses on two wayward Yotes trying to make their way in the world beyond the Grand Bazaar. At least the theory is that they are Yote according to what remains of the original text. It can all get a little confusing. I present to you the Bumbling Assistants.

Bumbling Assistants
The Grand Bazaar of Ethra Dalia - The Completed Circle
13 x 17 - Pencil, ink, and acrylic paint on paper
Original - SOLD© 2020 Christopher Burdett
Bumbling Assistants - Drawing 
13 x 17 - Pencil on paper
© 2020 Christopher Burdett
Typically, I share the final art and the line drawing that will eventually become the line art in a coloring book. I rarely have, or never, share the original sketch that I create for these pieces. As with all of my work, I start with references and a digital sketch to work out the idea in my head for these images. You should be able to draw a straight line from the digital sketch to the finished art. More detail is added, and elements are fleshed out along the way, but the overall piece is locked in during the sketch. Here is the sketch for the Bumbling Assistants.
Bumbling Assistants - Sketch 
13 x 17 - Digital
© 2020 Christopher Burdett

While rare, Yote can be seen living and traveling beyond the Grand Bazaar. Their skill sets are often limited to jobs and responsibilities prized under the tenting, but with enough creativity, they can be modified for use in the world. These two Yote have struck out on their own to make a name and a fortune for themselves. Their journeys have led them to Thraaka and an unexpected meeting with a young farmhand.

As a bonus, I have some images of the rendering process of this piece so that you can get a better idea of it taking shape. 

Below is one final process image. This was the point at which I thought I was finished with the piece initially. It seemed to check all the boxes, and I was happy with it. I sat on the image for a while, peaking at it from time to time to see if I was still pleased with it. I slowly grew unsatisfied with the background/foreground separation and the middle portion of the piece. The silhouette of the figures was being lost to the background, and there was not enough pop. I worked on the illustration some more until I was happy with the contrast and finally decided it was finished.

Bumbling Assistants - Process
© 2020 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:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Destroyed is Nothing More Than Destroyed

If you know me through Facebook, you likely saw a post from a few weeks ago featuring a flash sale on a Dungeons & Dragons drawing that was destroyed by my cat. He gained access to my flat-file and proceeded to dig. He loves to dig in the dirt when I walk him, and he also loves to play in boxes full of paper where he will bite the paper and dig. The cracked flat-file ticked all these boxes and provided a new tactile experience for him. Unfortunately, what he was digging and biting was not dirt but several drawings from client projects. The most severely damaged drawing was the one that had the most protection and was sealed in plastic. It was also the only drawing of the bunch that I can share. It will likely be March before I can share the other drawings, and at that time, there will be another discussion about this. To start things off, here is the drawing that was destroyed. 

Elemental Essence Shard
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything 
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
Original - SOLD after being damaged by my cat
Art Director - Kate Irwin 
© 2020 Wizards of the Coast LLC
This drawing is damaged beyond repair, or to put it another way - it is destroyed. Nothing can be done to address the damage and restore it, save for completely drawing it again. This piece of paper only has two options now, to be thrown away or to be sold at a significant discount to someone that takes pity on my loss. Thankfully, a friend stepped forward and purchased the drawing so that it was not a complete loss of my time and energy. 
At the time of my post, there was a lot of talk that this was now worth more because my cat destroyed it. That this destroyed drawing was now a collaboration between him and I. Let me be clear that is NOT a thing. One of my drawings is not worth more because it is now destroyed. To think this is extremely disrespectful to the time and energy I put into my work, not to mention the decades of my life that I have put into honing my skills and building my career. My cat did not add anything or contribute anything except to destroy the drawing. No one had yet to step forward to buy the drawing at a price I was asking, why would someone suddenly pay more now that my cat put holes in it? That is not a thing that happens. 

Artists will sometimes destroy their work. This work is sometimes very old, represents failed efforts, or merely results in more frustration than enjoyment in its creation. While this practice doesn't sit well with me, I have destroyed my work from time to time, and I will never interfere in another artist destroying their work. It is likely one of the two real powers of an artist. We can create, and thus, we can destroy. When it is our choice, it can be liberating, and when it is done to our work against our will, it can be extremely painful. Seeing this and the other destroyed drawings caused, and still causes, me a great deal of pain and frustration. To make light of it with comments about it being worth more does nothing but rub salt in the wounds. Think twice about how you speak of the destroyed art of the artist you know in the future.

Here are additional images of the damage to the drawing.

I will leave you with the one responsible for the destruction. After I save him from the park as an abandoned four-week-old kitten, this is how he repays me. Note that he is biting my thumb as I try to take a photo of him so that I might shame him on the internet.

Mietze the Destroyer

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:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Some MORE Selected Recent Artist Proof Drawings

Today I have for you a selection of recent artist proofs that I added drawings to their backs. If you are interested in getting any of these for yourself, just follow the links to my store

I would like to take a moment to talk about artist proofs. I have had several recent inquiries regarding color and/or painted artist proofs. Many artists provide them, and I always love seeing the tiny paintings they produce on the back of Magic cards. To be honest, I simply do not feel confident in my painting skills to work that small or on the prompts of the folks buying the cards. It will take more time and energy than I am prepared to give to produce them. Also, I packed up all my traditional painting supplies and equipment a while ago after completing my final Star Wars painting for FFG. My client work is 100% digital right now, and my work on my books only involves colored pencils, black ink, and white acrylic. I cleaned up my work station and packed up my paints - for now. 

I have talked a lot here on the blog that I am, first and foremost, a drawer. I am happiest when I am drawing and specifically drawing with a pencil. This is why I only offer black and white drawings on my artist proofs. I know I can accommodate my orders without getting backed up, and I prefer the work I can produce in ink on the cards. At conventions, I sometimes throw some marker work on the cards if they are for a repeat buyer or relevant to a specific request. But this extra work is a perk for those that make the journey to see me at events. I am sorry if some want colorwork on artist proofs, but I can not currently comfortably provide that service. 

Here are a couple of recent artist proofs that I was happy with.

The cobra continues to be a favorite through orders on my store - RAWR!

The Forerunner has finally been given some love, and this one was a lot more fun than initially expected.

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:

Friday, February 5, 2021

Kickstarter Roundup - Horsley

Today on the blog, I wanted to point out a current Kickstarter project that I think you all might be interested in. I am thrilled to share this Kickstarter with you because not only is this person a genuinely fantastic artist, but he is also a dear friend. If you have not already checked it out, you should do so NOW!


My wife and I have known Ralph for years, and this book is a long time in coming. Ralph's career is full of breathtakingly complex battle scenes, monsters of magic and horror, and images from dozens of worlds. You are likely already familiar with his work, and or the first time, Ralph Horsley: An Art Adventure will be bringing Ralph's work into one volume. This is something not to miss!

The book funded quickly, and it is currently blasting through stretch goals, increasing the size of the book. There are still tiers available to get artwork if you so choose, or only the book. As I have said, I am so excited about this project. I often think I am verse in Ralph's work only to be surprised by work I have never seen.

I look forward to this book to revisit my favorite works and to discover gems I missed before. The book will be arranged into themed chapters, and each chapter focuses on different aspects of Ralph's art. 3Here are two samples of what to expect from Ralph Horsley: An Art Adventure, and I couldn't be more excited about it.

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:

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Shimmerwing Chimera - Magic: the Gathering - Process

I have for you today the process and steps that went into my Shimmerwing Chimera painting that was for the Magic the Gathering set, Theros Beyond Death. Of the three pieces created for this set, this is above and beyond my favorite. When I began working on Magic the Gathering in 2012, it was on the original Theros set. It was a fantastic first set to work on and will remain near and dear to me. When I studied the first style guide for Theros, I was immediately drawn to the Chimera, but I never received one as an assignment. When Theros Beyond Death came around, and I was asked to work on it, I crossed my fingers that maybe this time would mean I would be designing and painting a Chimera. I was thrilled to find my first assignment was a Chimera, and it was an inchanted Chimera, which meant it had the starfield in the shadows effect. Here is how the final painting for the Shimmerwing Chimera turned out.

Shimmerwing Chimera
Magic the Gathering - Theros Beyond Death
14 x 10.2 - Pencil of paper
Art Director - Dawn Murin
 © 2020 Wizards of the Coast

This assignment called for a Chimera that was a mix of a hawk and an eel. It needed to have the head, wings, and legs of the hawk with the elongate body of the eel. The description also stated that there could be an element of a third animal to make the whole more interesting. I instantly thought of crab claws, and I knew without a doubt that this monster would have them. I gathered many references related to hawks, bird wings, bird legs, and eels and got to work on thumbnails. 

I immediately was having difficulty with the hawk legs. They were required, but on a design level, they were awkward, and I felt like they were not needed. I did what I could and made them work as best I could. I thought that they worked best in option C, but overall I was not feeling them. I really liked the crab claws. I was feeling good about that choice. Here are the thumbnails that I submitted.

Shimmerwing Chimera - Thumbnails
 © 2020 Wizards of the Coast

It turned out that production was not feeling the bird's legs either. The legs combined with the eel body between them created some uncomfortable visuals. They selected option B, but in addition to removing the bird's legs, they required some further modifications. Production asked that the camera be pulled back a bit more so that more of the Chimera was visible and out of the water. The splash felt wrong, and I looked at many dolphins leaping to get the correct jumping out of water look. I also added more shadow to give more surface for the starfield effect. Here is the updated thumbnail that I submitted.

Shimmerwing Chimera - Updated thumbnails
 © 2020 Wizards of the Coast

This new thumbnail was approved without further updates, and I was given the go-ahead to create the finalized drawing. I was working on this piece at the same time I was pushing to complete my book, and that meant I only had time to produce the line drawing and not the time for the tonal study. This meant that the line drawing would be doing a lot of heavy lifting and that the value of the entire piece was going to be worked out as I began the painting. Not the most ideal situation, but I made the best of things. Here is the final drawing for the Shimmerwing Chimera.

Shimmerwing Chimera
Magic the Gathering - Theros Beyond Death
14 x 11 - Digital
Original - SOLD
 © 2020 Wizards of the Coast

The drawing was approved, and it was time to paint! This felt like it would be a straight forward painting, and much of it was, but it did go through some updates and revisions before I submitted it and after. Here is a look at the painting process coming together, and you should quickly see some of the significant changes as the painting takes shape.

Shimmerwing Chimera - Process
 © 2020 Wizards of the Coast

I got this painting to a point I thought it was done and showed it to my in-house art director, Dear Wife. She was immediately on me to make the rock formations in the background larger to better fill the space. It made a world of difference and really helped the piece. We both agreed that it was now done, and I submitted it. Production had additional things they wanted me to update. First, they missed the openings in the rock formations that appeared in the thumbnails and drawing for this piece. The gaps were more in keeping with the Theros world, and they are visually more interesting. Second, they wanted the crab claws larger and more noticeable. There was concern that the right claw in front of the body was getting lost and would be all but gone when printed on the card. Third, to help with the claw issue and to add more interest, I was asked to throw some blue into the starfield. These were all easy and straightforward updates to make, and in the end, they made the painting better overall. Once again, this shows the importance of Art Directors and having an excellent objective eye. Here again is the final painting for the Shimmerwing Chimera and the final production card.

Shimmerwing Chimera
 © 2020 Wizards of the Coast
Shimmerwing Chimera in handy dandy card form

That's all for another exciting Wednsady 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, February 1, 2021

Stinging Lionfish 3D Shadow Box by Leon Phillips

If you are a Magic the Gathering artist, and even if you aren't, and you have participated in the Gen Con art show, you have likely crossed paths with a man with a welcoming smile and a bag of gifts. Leon Philips spends his downtime from being a teacher to create unique 3D shadow boxes of Magic the Gathering cards. When Gen Con rolls around, he hands them out to the artists in attendance that is the artist for the cards he used. Before I was ever an MtG artist, I knew of Leon's work and was amazed by the work and creativity on the shadow boxes. I still clearly remember the day Leon came to my table with my first shadow box. It was an unexpected honor, and I was thrilled to receive such a wonderful and gracious gift. I have received several of Leon's work over the years, and I display them in a place of honor. 

With Gen Con 2020 going online, it meant that many of the expected in person elements of Gen Con would not be happening for at least a year, if not more. One of the first things I thought of was that I would not be seeing Leon this year. Not because I would be missing a potential gift, which is fantastic, but because seeing him and having a few minutes to talk has become part of my Gen Con experience. And yes, I love seeing all of the shadow boxes he brings with him and gives out. I was more than surprised when I received an email from Leon last year after the announcement that Gen Con was moving online. He had no intentions to stop his shadow box production and was curious if I wanted to receive the fruits of his labor. The answer was, of course, a resounding yes, so I answered his email and promptly forgot all about it with all that 2020 was throwing at me. 

Jump ahead many months. One day as 2020 was coming to an end, I thought of Leon's email and wondered what came of the shadow boxes. I assumed that life and the challenges of 2020 affected him as it has the rest of us, and the boxes weren't happening or would be delayed to a future date. The last thing I would do his contact him, asking where my gift was! Well, I didn't have to wonder too long because I recently received a fantastic package from Leon. While I love all of his creations and think they are all perfect, the Stinging Lionfish I received is tremendous and might be my current favorite. It has so many layers, and the 3D effect is lovely. Photos will never do it justice, but here are a few.

I hope the photos give you an idea of how impressive this piece is. To make this all even more unique, Leon sent an extra special gift. He has spent some of 2020 working on puzzles and escape rooms, and he had an additional puzzle box to send along with the lionfish. You might have noticed the wording on the card, but it is different from the actual card. When the shadow box is placed on the puzzle box in the correct spot, you hear a little click, and the box opens. This was such an unexpected surprise and makes it all more special and fun. Here are some images of the puzzle box.


A HUGE thanks to Leon for all of his work and creativity for all that he does for the Magic artists at Gen Con. You are one of the reasons that Gen Con is such a fun and exciting convention to be a part of.

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: