Monday, October 31, 2022

Building a Monster - The Saga: October 2022

The most excellent Michael Bielaczyc continues his Sagaborn (and other old-school RPGs) zine and has included me in his monster-packed October issue. And to make it even cooler, the zine is FREE! As I have already mentioned, it is a monster-focused issue, and Mike and I share the process of us collaborating on creating a new monster. This was a fun article to work on, and I think the way it is presented shows the organic way we work to create something. Speaking of, here is the finished monster created for the issue, the mighty Thm’thc’kr (Thim’thick’kur), or is it the Stelagfright or even the Stelagbite, or it could even be the Braun’flarrik, or maybe the Staggering Rock Mite.

The Thm’thc’kr / Stelagfright / Stelagbite / Braun’flarrik / Staggering Rock Mite

Did I mention that I am on the cover too? My interpretation of the Maya rain diety, Chaac, is the lucky monster on the October cover. I have always liked this piece, and it is great to see it getting some love.

While I will leave the process and discussion of how we went about making this particular monster, I wanted to share the visual steps that I created for this article, which just so happen to be the exact steps I take for all client and personal work that I make. If you have visited the blog before, you are likely familiar with these steps. First off, the thumbnails.

Following the thumbnails, I created the line art for the selected thumbnail.

And with the line art completed, I proceeded to render the final piece.

© 2022 Christopher Burdett

And with that, we have a new monster. There is a bit more to it than these images, but you will need to get the completely FREE October issue of The Saga to learn all about it. And there is a ton more in the issue than making this monster!

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:

Friday, October 28, 2022

Illuxcon 2022 Recap

IX was last week, and I am still wrapping my head around the best five days of art I know of. This was year fifteen of IX, which is hard to believe. I started attending fourteen years ago with IX 2, and save for one year when there was a family emergency, I have been in attendance. I wouldn't miss it! Over the years, I have been an attendee and displayed work in the Showcase, the now nonexistent Weekend Salon, and the Main Show. Some of the great things about IX are that art is the focus, it is low pressure (compared to larger conventions), and you are surrounded by artists, collectors, students, and mixes of all three.

GoggleWorks, where the MAGIC happens!

IX 2022 was the first event that made me feel like things were 'normal' again in a COVID world. While we needed to wear masks in all IX spaces (acceptable and expected), the rest of the time was mask optional. Reading, PA was definitely living in a post-COVID world, as there was little to no sign that we were still living in the shadow of a pandemic, which is good - as long as we are all safe. Over the past two years, I have spoken about COVID a lot on this blog because it has profoundly impacted the quality and conditions of my life and that of my wife, friends, and family. We have lost many, and sadly since my wife is an ER nurse, we have had a very different experience. I repeat all this because this year at IX, it finally has felt like the veil has lifted and that some semblance of normalcy has returned to our lives. And I ate up every single second of it.

We saw so many faces we had not seen in a long time this year. Many others are finally feeling safe as well and are returning to events. It was a truly and utterly enjoyable time. For fourteen years, I have praised IX and the work that the Wilshires do to make the event special, and I will continue doing so. It is not lost on me that over these years of attending, I have gotten a bit older and wiser, though I am feeling the age more than the knowledge. I can't stay out like I used to, and sleep is vital for me to function. That meant this year, I had to have some early nights, and I missed at least one dinner to nap so that I might enjoy the evening and still be at the booth the next day. It is not lost on me that at the beginning of IX, I would run around taking photos all day and writing a massive blog post with loads of images for EACH day. Now I can barely get any pictures of the row I am set up on, and I only release a single recap post a week, or longer, after I return home. Not having a laptop anymore has some effect on this. The other significant aspect is that I feel part of the community, not as an outsider looking in.

I wasn't tied to the booth as much as last year with the launch of the Grand Bazaar, but I spent a lot of time joyfully spreading the word of Ethra. I realized that I stood for eight hours straight on the Saturday of the event and didn't bat an eye. It was a super busy day, with loads going on, and I had gotten a lot of rest. It was exciting to see so many new faces at IX this year. There were a good number of new artists and new to me artists. The volume of new art that I could see was just the nourishment my soul needed. Once again, I have returned home with many ideas and plans for the future. I am ready to do ART again!

While I love the Main Show, this will likely be my last time in it until the completion of book two of the Grand Bazaar. I need to focus on working on the book and will need to cut corners where I can. Also, the available new work will likely be limited until the next book's completion. I had to do this leading up to book one, and after this year's IX, I knew it was that time again. I will still be at IX, and you will still be able to see what I am doing in the Grand Bazaar, but you will find me in the Showcase for the next few years.

I will talk more about numbers and such when I recap all of 2022 in two months, but IX was a good show for us again. As of the show's close on Saturday, I had hit my sales numbers for all of IX last year. In addition to good sales, I had two large sales after IX, making IX my second-best event ever, falling behind Gen Con this year. But more on this in a couple of months. For now, let's look at some images, and I will share some additional thoughts.

Beginning last year, we stopped at the Natural Bridge at the beginning of the second day's trek to IX. We didn't know what to expect last year, but this year I knew there would be giraffes!

Very hungry giraffes!

They were nice enough to allow me to get some reference images. You could feel their tongue in your hand and their hair if they dropped their mouths into your palm, but they would jerk away if you moved your hand to get a better feel. I can respect that and be grateful for this unforgettable encounter with some beautiful animals.

The elephant's enclosure is large, and there is a lot of buffer around it, but I could still get some nice images.

The danger kitty was very active and put on a show for us.

I begrudgingly left the animal behind, and we headed to IX. The start of any show is a mess as all my stuff needs to get into a building from a trailer any way it can. So there is usually a pile of stuff spread out in my booth, getting in the way of me setting up my booth.

Fun fact: More time is spent getting from the previous image to this one than from this image to the next.

And like magic, the Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia takes shape!

I found a +5 axe of thrashing!

It is not a convention without a stylish blazer.

As with most IX appearances, I drew a lot of Magic the Gathering artist proofs.
Like, a LOT.

For the artist-proof art jam, I decided to bring some markers with me and I did a selection of color proofs. If you know me, I prefer to work in grey and black ink on the APs, so this was a bit different and a lot of fun. Is this something you would like to see more of from me? Is this something you would be interested in from me? Leave a comment below!

While at IX this year, I produced my favorite or all favorite AP drawings. It was on the back of a Bribe Taker, and the prompt was to do a Star Wars bribe taker. After a few moments of thinking, the path forward was clear.
I get around this year and look at other floors and everyone's art. I just failed to take any photos. Next year... for sure!

A significant highlight of IX 2022 was talking to Eric Wilkerson’s students about art, my career, and the Grand Bazaar. It was a full-circle experience where I found myself offering advice and answering questions to the next generation of artists. Like so many did for me when I started attending fourteen years ago.

For most of IX, I thought I would sell out of the Deluxe Editions of the Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia, but for some lucky humans out there, I have returned with the three last copies. Once these are gone, they are gone forever.

I am an adult, and I can do what I want.

One last artist-proof drawing.

Strangely, I can take loads of photos of IX after it is over. It is so strange after the show comes down and the walls and art is gone. After I am all packed up, I join those that remain and help tear down the floor I am showing on. You can never have enough hands Sunday night, and thanks to those that stayed, we were out of there in record time.

And thus ends another IX. The drive home is a lot less fun than the drive up, but this year we meet up with friends as we all drove home and had one last meal together. Also, we picked up some much needed flat files for the studio. These have been on the bucket list for a long time and now I have them and they are great. More on the flat files and a whole lot more another day! For now, we look ahead to 2023.

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:

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Gathering is the Magic Clip: "Christopher Burdett wants to steal the Beebles!"

At Gen Con, I had an excellent opportunity to speak with the folks behind the upcoming documentary about Magic the Gathering, The Gathering is the Magic. It was a lot of fun and always a good time to talk about art, monsters, and more.

The Gathering is the Magic - A documentary about how Magic the Gathering brings people together, fosters friendship, and inspires with art and storytelling.

One of the questions I was asked during my interview was if there was any element, aspect, or thing in Magic that I would want to have been mine, what would it be? It was an easy answer; I would love to be the king of the Beebles! Jeff Miracola's freaky pick bear monsters have always been such a visual and tonal outlier to the rest of the game, and I love them for that. And they seem to be eternal, as they continue to pop up repeatedly over the years. So yes, if I was to rewrite history and get to have something become mine in MtG, it would be the Beebles.

For the love of Beebles!
I informed Jeff of this fact at Gen Con so he wouldn't feel like I was coming for him when he saw this.

That's all for another exciting Thursday on the blog! Hopefully, I will be back tomorrow with some thoughts and images regarding IX 2022. Until then...

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

Friday, October 14, 2022

Magic Artist Jam - IX Live Drawing!

Next week at IX, I will be participating in a live drawing jam where a group of artists works on Magic the Gathering artist proofs while answering questions and having fun. In the first jam, I will draw with Matthew Stewart, Jarel Threat, Ralph Horsley, and Bob Eggleton. I could not ask for a better group of artists to draw with.

I hope to see you in Studio 411 from 10:00am – 12:00pm next Thursday, October 20th!

In addition to participating in the live drawing jam, I will be offering my artist proofs for the Bribe Taker from New Capenna Commander for the first time! I will have copies for sale, as well as a few that I will be taking to the drawing jam, which will also be available to those at IX. Fear naught, after IX comes to a close, I will put the proofs up for sale on my store.

Please be aware that, at this time, I only have the bordered version of the card. The borderless version is still being produced and will be to be soon.

That's all for another exciting week on the blog. See you back here after IX. Until then...

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Augmented Reality Test of the Monsters From The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

As mentioned in July and September, the day job had us doing some testing and experimentation in augmented reality (AR). While we have moved on to doing tests in Blender doing 3D modeling and animation (more on this soon), we will likely swing back to more AR work soon. What I am sharing with you today was the final major test with the AR software. I isolated a selection of monsters from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia and presented them at their 'real' size. This will allow the viewer to walk among the various monsters to experience them at their intended size in a 3D space. I added a small sign at the monster's feet with its name and size in standard Grand Bazaar cubits (feet). While I did several tests, this video was the final and most successful demonstration of the experience. 

There was an issue with the first several tests of this concept. While the monsters were placed on the ground plane in the software, they would be levitating above the ground when the experience was initiated. Eventually, I determined how much before the ground plane they needed to be set in the software for them to appear standing on the ground.

As mentioned above, this is the final AR experiment I have to share with you at this time. In a few weeks, once IX is behind me, and several other things are checked off the list, I will share with you the animation test I have been working on. 

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog. See you back here possibly on Friday, if not after IX! Until then...

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

Monday, October 10, 2022

See You at IX Next Week!

Things have been quiet on the blog because I have been a tad busy. That said, I wanted to remind everyone that I will be in the main show of IX in a week and a half. I hope to see you in Reading, PA, from 10/19 - 10/23 for the best five days in imaginative realism art!

Come see me and a ton of other amazing artists!

I have been digging through my archives and flat files, and I will have art never seen before or not available for a while. This includes paintings, drawings, and more. I will have new work from Magic the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia!

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: