Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Even MORE Recent Artist Proof Drawings

Today I have for you even more recent artist proofs that I added drawings to their backs. If you want to get any of these, just head to my store. These are from January or earlier, as I am still slightly behind with things. I have more from February, and at this rate, I will be sharing them in March. These are going to a new collector I have enjoyed working with. He wants Star Wars, and I am MORE than happy to draw Star Wars. I have some exciting pieces to share soon that I have been working on. But that is for another day, today I have some Return of the Jedi goodness with a two-up Jabba scene and Ree-Yees. 

Jabba the Hutt on his dais has always been a favorite subject of mine, and I love depicting it.

While I don't generally do multicard images currently, the collector reached out ahead of time and we agreed to move forward with this one. Here are the two cards seperately so you can get a better look at them.

Jabba the Hutt, Salacious B. Crumb, a Gamorrean guard, and a Jawa for you Star Wars enjoyment.
 
Ree-Yees is my favorite Gran... though there have not been many others.

Lastly, here is a little bonus for you all. I have never shared how I build up the drawings on the back of the artist proofs. It all starts with layering grey markers up as I refine the drawing before inking it and putting in the black.

A rare look behind the curtain of the artist proofs being drawn. And yes, I do draw them at an angle.

That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog. See you back here after Pensacon! Until then...  

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

Monday, February 20, 2023

Pensacon 2023 Guest Announcement - AND IT STARTS FRIDAY!

I am THRILLED to announce that I will return as a guest to Pensacon this week! Pensacon starts this Friday afternoon, February 24th, and runs through Sunday the 26th! I will be bringing the Grand Bazaar back in all its glory as well as a few surprises. This is the TENTH Pensacon and my seventh appearance as a guest at Pensacon, and I could not be happier to return. We LOVE Pensacon, and we always have a fantastic time there. Last year was AMAZING, and I hope that this year is as good. I do not have enough good things to say about Pensacon, and I hope to see you there!

I will see you at Pensacon from February 24-26, 2023!

In addition to myself, there will be a TON of amazing artists, guests, and vendors at Pensacon 2023. It will be SO much fun, and there will be many amazing things to see and do. This is the year not to miss.

The panel list has yet to be announced, but I expect to be a part of a few panels - or not, we shall see in the coming days! I will update the schedule here on the blog once it is posted unless I am already headed to the con. Again, if you are in the gulf coast area and want to have a super fun con experience, then I highly recommend Pensacon!

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

Saturday, February 18, 2023

BLOG-a-versary - And then there were Fourteen

Yesterday, fourteen years ago, on February 17th, 2009, I started this blog to chronicle my journey as a monster artist. My journey had already begun, of course. 2023 marks my twenty-fourth year of being a professional artist making monsters. In nearly a quarter of a century, I have checked a lot of goals off my list, but some still remain. The remaining ones may never get checked off, but that is okay. I have done so much more than I ever imagined possible. The creation of The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia has more than made up any dreams to work on a specific product line or with a particular artist. It has been a crazy journey, and I have shared nearly all of it on this blog. The ups, downs, successes, and most definitely the failures have been recorded and documented here to help others and to hopefully shed some light on the realities of being a working artist.

The current piece from book two of the Grand Bazaar is on the table in my studio.

Next year will be a big one for me, but there is plenty that I need and want to do before I can think about that. I hope you are enjoying the ride. It has been a labor of love to keep this going and posting as regularly as possible. I imagine there will be some lean times ahead, especially as book two gets closer to completion, but that is a few years out. I have some more meaty posts planned, and they will be along when I can make the time to write them. Thank you all for hanging around and digging through the archives of posts. And as always, if you would like me to speak about a particular topic or talk about something specific in a blog post, all you need to do is leave a comment on the blog or reach out to me on social media.

That is all the time I have today. I must get back to making art!

That is all for a surprise Saturday post 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

Friday, February 17, 2023

Kickstarter Roundup - Black , Fritz, and Colin

Today on the blog, I wanted to point out several current Kickstarter projects that I think you all might be interested in. They feature fantastic art by incredible artists, and if you have not already checked it out, you should do so NOW!

First up, we have Steven Russell Black's Drawings of the Major Arcana Tarot. Steven shares: 

"I'm raising funds to create my first Tarot Deck. The cards will feature my dark and surrealist take on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The funds will be used for my production time on the set as well as Printing and shipping. I've made a first big stride before coming to market here as the first 8 cards and all design work is already finished. Just need this kickstarter to help see it to the finish line."

If you are unfamiliar with Steven's work, you owe it to yourself to check it out. He is a fellow toned paper renderer, and I love his work so much. This is another great project from him, and I would very much like to see it made a reality.

Next, we have Tawny Fritz's Stargazing: Coloring the Zodiac. Tanwy share:

"Stargazing: Coloring the Zodiac will be a softcover gold foil stamped book, perfect bound at 8.5"x11" inches, with over 24 pages printed on 80 lb paper. The name of each Zodiac sign will be printed on the bottom of the page facing the art, so you always know which Celestial Being you're giving life to! Each image was hand drawn by me using micron and Faber-Castell pens. Each Zodiac drawing is printed twice, so you won't have to worry about messing up your favorite sign.

...When I was 3 years old, my Mom caught me drawing smiley faces on the linoleum floor under our kitchen table. She slid a piece of paper under the pen and I have been drawing faces ever since. I love exploring the human condition through drawings of fantastical and mythological femmes. I believe we are all connected on a cosmic level and this coloring book is meant to show how perfect each person in this universe is, no matter what labels or flaws are ascribed to them. I hope you find solace and peace while coloring the pages of this book, and I invite you to take a moment to consider what makes each person both unique from as well as similar to the rest of humanity."

I have known Tawny for years, and I adore her gorgeous line work and images. She has a unique voice and style, and I am always thrilled to see what she is working on. If you love beautiful art and coloring books you simply must go get one of these.

Lastly, there is Brian Colin's Vast Grimm: Into Oblivion. This is an Infinite Black production, but our friend Brian and his Creature Curation are heavily involved. They share:

"Vast Grimm is a stand-alone, art-filled, punk-fueled OSR role-playing game about the few humans remaining in a universe being consumed by growing parasitic w├╝rms. Are you a MAnchiNe ravaged by war, pieced together with remnants of bots and the little flesh left of your body? Maybe you're a twisted biochemist shoving needles into your arms in hopes that this next fix will be the one that saves you and what’s left of humanity? Or perhaps you are a soul survivor, like a cockroach, doing whatever is necessary to stay alive even if it means the rest of your Legion must perish. This is a game about survival, no matter how gruesome things get, humanity must survive."

Boy, oh, boy, does this not look and sound amazing. I have resisted the siren's call to this game for a while, but I am hooked now. It looks great, sounds awesome, and the playtests I have seen look super fun. You should really check this out if you are looking for some bleak space RPG excitement.

And you need to act fast! This campaign ends later on the day this post goes live!

That is 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, February 15, 2023

Monstrous War-Leech - Magic: the Gathering - Process

I have for you today the process and steps that went into my Monstrous War-Leech painting for the Magic the Gathering set, Dominaria United. This was my only contribution to any of the Dominaria United sets, but I got to finally work in the 'home' realm of Magic and design and paint a cool monster, so a win-win. Here is how the final painting for the Monstrous War-Leech turned out.

Monstrous War-Leech
Magic the Gathering - Dominaria United
14 x 10.2 - Digital
Art Director - Zack Stella
 © 2022 Wizards of the Coast

This time, the assignment called for a gigantic leech-like monster to be riden by a Homarid. The leech monster is about to devour a dead animal in the swamps of Dominaria. While there was an initial design of the leech, I was able to flesh it out and make it my own. The Homarid is, of course, a classic Magic species, and it was fun to do one of those. Lastly, I got to design the dead monster, which I decided would be a weird Dominaria alligator beast. While I would usually do a photoshoot before getting to work on an assignment, with a request like this, there was not much I could glean from real world photos I could take. I had plenty of supplied references, so I got to work on some thumbnails. Here are the thumbnails that I submitted.

Monstrous War-Leech - Thumbnails
© 2022 Wizards of the Coast

It was requested that the relationship between the creatures needed to be clear: the Homarid was riding the leech, which was about to eat the dead thing. I think that comes across clearly in all of the thumbnails. Looking back at them, I would have been happy to do any and all of them, but I am not sure "A" would have been the first I would have painted. It turned out that "A" was the one and only one I got to paint! There were no edits, requests, or changes required for thumbnail "A" (which is always nice), so it was time to get started on the drawings. After several years of not having enough time in my schedule to give the drawings the time and attention I prefer it was nice to dig down into this piece and have some fun. I produced a rendered drawing for the piece and a tonal study. Here are the drawings that I created for the Monstrous War-Leech.

Monstrous War-Leech - Drawing
Magic the Gathering - Dominaria United
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Zack Stella
Original - SOLD
 © 2022 Wizards of the Coast
 
Monstrous War-Leech- Tonal study
Magic the Gathering - Dominaria United
14 x 11 - Pencil and paint on paper
Art Director - Zack Stella
Original - SOLD
  © 2022 Wizards of the Coast

The drawings were approved, and it was time to paint. This one had a relatively quick turnaround, and it was nice that it came together quickly and easily. This was the third of three back-to-back Magic assignments, and by this time, I was ready to have a break and get back to the Grand Bazaar. Here is the Monstrous War-Leech painting taking shape.

Monstrous War-Leech - Process
© 2022 Wizards of the Coast

As I said above, this was a straightforward and quick one. There is a straight line from the thumbnail through the drawings and to the end of the painting. Very little changed along the way, save for a few minor tweaks, and the piece ended about where I expected it to. A lot of work over decades has allowed me to have the finished painting in mind as I am creating the thumbnails. Colors may evolve and change, but form, composition, and lighting are there from the beginning. This workflow has saved me time and stress over the years. It might not work for everyone, but it has helped me. Here again, is the final painting for the Monstrous War-Leech and the production card.

Monstrous War-Leech
Magic the Gathering - Dominaria United
14 x 10.2 - Digital
Art Director - Zack Stella
 © 2022 Wizards of the Coast
 
Monstrous War-Leech in handy dandy card form.

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, February 13, 2023

MORE Recent Artist Proof Drawings

STILL playing catch up on the blog with more recent artist proofs that I added drawings to their backs. If you are interested in getting any of these, just head to my store. These are some older ones from last month. They made their journey to Japan safe and sound. Grogu has been very popular in Japan lately, and they have been fun to draw.

Grogu is enjoying using the Force to bring some snacks his way.

Grogu, tired of using the Force, decides using his hand to get the cookies is just as good.

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, February 10, 2023

Arkham Horror: The Labryunths of Lunacy - The Return of the Faceless Abductor

I recently noticed that an old piece I created for the Call of Cthulhu card game expansion, Silver Twilight Lodge, had made a return appearance. And when I say old, I mean over a decade. This piece was originally released in 2011, so I likely painted it in 2010. For a painting this old I still like it a great deal, and I know I was figuring out a lot with this piece. I produced this piece at a formative time when my skill set was advancing rapidly. While it might not look like it now, this was a piece at the cusp of my abilities. It was not met with much enthusiasm either. I believe this image received two 'likes' on Facebook at the time, and one of those was me. For many reasons, it is nice to see this piece pop back up. Maybe, just maybe, this time around, it will get some love. For its return, the card was included in a new Arkham Horror card game expansion, The Labyrinth of Lunacy. To start things off, here is a look at the front of the box for this new expansion.

The Labyrinth of Lunacy, an Arkham Horror card game expansion

This piece was called initially Nightgaunt, as that is the type of monster it is. When it was released, it was given the title Faceless Abductor which I am sure made more sense in gaming terms and added more spice to the game. No matter; it is nice to see this one come back around for a second look at the world. Here is the final art for the Faceless Abductor, as it was in 2011 and in 2022.

Faceless Abductor
Silver Twilight Lodge - Call of Cthulhu Card Game
(and now The Labyrinth of Lunacy - Arkham Horror Card Game)
9.3 x 6.9 - Digital
© 2011 Fantasy Flight Games

Lastly, here is the new card for the Faceless Abductor. As I never played either the Call of Cthulhu or Arkham Horror card games, I do not know if the monster stats are different or how different the game mechanics are for their monsters. Either way, here is the new card in all its glory. RAWR!

Faceless Abductor in new handy dandy card form

That is 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, February 8, 2023

Bribe Taker - Magic: the Gathering - Process

I have for you today the process and steps that went into my Bribe Taker painting that was for the Magic the Gathering set, New Capenna Commander. This was my only contribution to any of the New Capenna sets, but it was the first time painting a Rhox, so I will take that as a win. I have wanted to paint a big rhino monsterman for years and I finally came to be. Here is how the final painting for the Bride Taker turned out.

Bribe Taker
Magic the Gathering - New Capenna Commander
14 x 11 - Digital 
Art Director - Dawn Murin
 © 2022 Wizards of the Coast

The assignment called for a massive intimating Rhox, who appeared wealthy from their corrupt business dealing. He was to be surrounded by riches, decadent beverages, and the trappings of his position. The Rhox also needed to look mean and powerful, as if they could back up anything they did with their own might and strength. This needed to be a Rhox you didn't mess with, but you went to with plenty of coins to get what you needed. I was on board with all of this! I knew what the piece needed, so I got to work on a photoshoot and some thumbnails. Here are the thumbnails that I submitted.

Bribe Taker - Thumbnails
© 2022 Wizards of the Coast

While I still like what is going on in options A and D, I understand why they chose option B. Yeah, I would have enjoyed painting option A a great deal. Oh well. While option B was selected, I was asked to reduce the tilt of the dutch angle a bit, and to crop in closer to the figure. They were all easy to address and so I submitted an updated thumbnail.

Bribe Taker - Updated thumbnail
© 2022 Wizards of the Coast

Oh? Did I mention something about reference? I did share this many months ago, but it is always fun to share again. Here is the primary reference image for this piece. We tried a lot of lighting options, compositions, and arrangements, which left me with a lot to work with. I never needed the visual information needed to complete this piece. I will share some of the Easter eggs in this piece further into the post. Make sure you return to this image to see what I am referring to. 

I am a Rhox, taking your bribes!
Photo by Achsa Nute
 
Now that I had an approved thumbnail, I was ready to start work on the drawings. After several years of not having enough time in my schedule to give the drawings the time and attention I prefer to it was nice to dig down into these pieces and have some fun. I produced a full rendered drawing for the piece as well as a tonal study. Here are the drawings that I created for the Bribe Taker.
 
Bribe Taker - Drawing
Magic the Gathering - New Capenna Commander
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Dawn Murin
Original - SOLD
 © 2022 Wizards of the Coast
 
Bribe Taker - Tonal study
Magic the Gathering - New Capenna Commander
14 x 11 - Pencil and paint on paper
Art Director - Dawn Murin
Original - SOLD
  © 2022 Wizards of the Coast

Reference, thumbnails, and now drawings, this leaves only one thing left to do... PAINT! This one did take a while to figure out. There were some edits requested from production regarding the first version I submitted. That said, I did enjoy this one coming together, and it offered me a lot of challenges along the way. Here is a look at the Bribe Taker taking shape in paint form.

Bribe Taker - Process
© 2022 Wizards of the Coast

If you watch carefully, you will see a point when the glow of the drink is very bright and casting a lot of light on the armor and Rhox's face. This was the version I turned in. It was felt that it was too much and making the Rhox look as if it was all made of stone. I get that, but I did love that green glow. I removed the glow on the face and added some warm tones to the armor so that all the pieces read clearly and as separate materials. Once I did this, it was approved. You will also notice that the torn magical document floating to the right of the figure has been handled as a completely separate element and was done last. This was because there was concern from production that this element might be removed later, as it is a weird thing to have in the image. It stayed and was actually much easier to paint as a separate element.

I mentioned Easter eggs in this piece earlier. Going from left to right: 1-large gold egg-shaped item is actually an emu egg I gifted to my wife. It is sitting in an antique flower cup we use as a display stand for the egg. 2-behind the egg and mostly obscured is a chrome rhinoceros I bought years ago 'because it will be awesome reference.' This was my first time using it, and I was so happy to have it! 3-far right, you will notice a spiked ball. This is the Blufferfish I painted for the Unfinity set. I had painted the fish long before this one, and I didn't see any issue with a little nod to a previous card. The only problem is that due to a lot of things outside a lot of people's control, the Unfinity set came out long after the Bribe Taker was released. So I had to keep my mouth shut about it until now. It also helped that in the bordered version of the card, it was cropped entirely out.

And with that all wrapped up, so goes another look at what goes into one of my digital paintings for Magic the Gathering. If you have any additional questions, leave a comment below. Here again, is the final painting for the Bribe Taker and the production cards. 

Bribe Taker in both bordered and borderless card form.

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, February 6, 2023

The Arrival - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

I am thrilled to share another new piece from The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. This illustration is for Book Two: The Completed Circle. As the final piece I completed in 2022, it is the first to share in 2023. This piece will be the second central environmental plate of the book and depicts the band of heroes arriving at the Grand Bazaar as their adventure continues. As this is an ancient story, we see the Grand Bazaar in its early days. Only several hundred years old at this point, the tenting hasn't been completed yet, and the Grand Bazaar is just a shadow of what it will eventually become. As a side note, this was the piece that I was the least looking forward to doing and went through MANY iterations before I came up with this composition to tell the story. Through the work I put into it, it is now one of my favorite pieces I have done for the books, and I believe it marks a moment of skill improvement for me. I wish you could see this one in person, as scans and images do not do it justice. I present to you with The Arrival.

The Arrival
The Grand Bazaar of Ethra Dalia - The Completed Circle
16 x 20 - Pencil, ink, and acrylic paint on paper
Original - Available soon
© 2022 Christopher Burdett
 
The Arrival - Drawing 
16 x 20 - Pencil on paper
© 2022 Christopher Burdett
 
This is the second of three larger pieces I am currently working on. Once they are completed, I will move back to a pair of connected character illustrations, which will be followed by the first of two huge pieces that I have planned for the book. Always more to do, but as long as I stay focused, they will all get completed. Here is a look at the sketch for The Arrival to show where it began.
 
The Arrival - Sketch 
Digital
© 2022 Christopher Burdett

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.

The Arrival - Process
© 2022 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, February 3, 2023

Rule of Law - The Return of the Gnome Blacksmith... Wait, WUT?!?!

There are a handful of third-party modules and supplements that feature reprints of some of my work, the third of which I am sharing today. I have been aware of them for a while (as most seem to have been released in 2017), but I recently tracked them all down as best I could to see what was used and if I could obtain a copy. Unfortunately, these particular products do not have physical versions or are no longer available (more on this below). That said, I investigated to see if I could get details and screenshots of my work in the various products. Today I have the third and final of these 5E supplements, Rule of Law. To start things off, here is a look at the cover.  

Rule of Law. It would appear that this, like the supplement I shared last week, is not legit and was created in violation of ownership and copyright.

From what I have learned in the past week, there are individuals out there taking D&D content, grabbing art from wherever they can find it, slapping it all together, and putting the product out there as if it was theirs to do so. This is why, yet again, I have a piece I made for Paizo showing up in what looks to be a third-party D&D product. Which it is not. The Paizo piece in question was from 2010 and created for Pathfinder Companion: Gnomes of Golarion. I made several Gnome-related pieces for this book, with one of them being a blacksmith. Here is that old, old, OLD piece I did for Paizo, Gnome Blacksmith (so many things wrong with it, so many things that could have been done better).

Gnome Blacksmith
4.7 x 7 - Digital
© 2010 Paizo Publishing, LLC

I have no idea how the licensing works with WotC, D&D, and third-party products, but this is NOT it. As mentioned above, this was done in violation of a few copyright holders and is just not cool. My art was likely stolen from DeviantArt before I deleted my account... due to the rampant theft of art on that site. Who knew it was a feature and not a bug. Here is a look at my art on the page of this product.

Gnome Blacksmith hanging out where he does not belong.

Unlike the previous suspect product I shared, this one got my name correct. Which is at least something, I guess. This is all sad to me. Yes, making a book is hard and takes a lot of work, but it is not impossible and has been done by countless people. Go make your own thing. Stop stealing other people's work and passing it off as yours. Here is a look at the credits page - which is a little funny to me as it is all stolen, and yet they took the time to credit those they stole from.

At least they got my name correct in this one.

That is 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