Monday, November 28, 2016

Fortified Holding Cells: Star Wars LCG - Ancient Rivals

I have another new(ish) Star Wars piece for you today! This piece was spoiled at Gen Con with the early release of the expansion to the Star Wars Card Game, Ancient Rivals. The expansion came was released officially a short time after Gen Con and my blog schedule is finally opening up for me to share it here. Enough yammering, here my piece titled, Fortified Holding Cells...

Fortified Holding Cells
Star Wars LCG - Ancient Rivals
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

That poor unfortunate Talz. It i definitely having a bad day The Talz was on my list of Star Wars aliens and monsters I really wanted to officially paint, so this was a fun piece to receive for sure. I usually jump at any opportunity to illustrate any of the original trilogy creatures. Fun fact: while other of my completely bloodless Star Wars illustrations have been deemed too violent, this one, with splattered blood, bloody hands, and droplets of blood in mid air made it through with no comment. Here is the drawing that I did for this piece...

Fortified Holding Cells
Star Wars LCG - Ancient Rivals
17 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Last, but not least here is a image of the card this painting was created for. It uses the football template so there is some lose of the image due to the chrome of the card, but the important stuff is still there. All in all, it turned out really well...

Fortified Holding Cells in handy dandy card form

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Volo's Guide to Monsters - Dungeons & Dragons - Part 2

Today I have the remaining two pieces that made up my contribution to Volo's Guide to Monsters, the newest gaming supplement to Dungeons & Dragons. If you missed the first three, I shared them on Monday. Here are my remaining illustrations from Volo's: the Morkoth and the Yuan-Ti Broodguard...

Morkoth
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

I think the Morkoth might be my second favorite piece from the book. How can you go wrong with all those tentacle and that nasty beaked face? The Morkoth got a visual update for the book and I was thrilled to be tasked with taking the new concept work and turning it into a finished illustration. I love that the Morkoth collects things and carries it around on their backs. One of the bits of Morkoth treasure depicted in the concept art was a chair, I thought that was hilarious and such a great idea, so I had to be sure to include a chair on the back on my Morkoth (top left corner).

Yuan-Ti Broodguard
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

The Yuan-Ti Broodguard was an interesting one, it needed to be lithe and lanky. I have mentioned a dozen plus times here on the blog, I prefer big and beefy monsters. This does not mean that I was not happy to take on the Broodguard, it just mean I had to fight some of my natural tendencies. I thought giving it some dramatic up lighting would work well for this one. Give it an additional layer of interest. Hopefully it worked.

Below are the drawings that went into these illustrations. Since I was working on five pieces and I didn't think I had the time needed to do these traditionally the painting are digital. It would have been nice to have paintings of all of these, but the final pieces did end up way better by me doing them digitally. At least there are the drawings, get them while you can, they are going fast...
Morkoth
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Yuan-Ti Broodguard
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Monday, tomorrow is a Holiday and the blog will be resting 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, November 21, 2016

Volo's Guide to Monsters - Dungeons & Dragons - Part 1

I am happy to be able to start sharing my contributions to Volo's Guide to Monsters, the newest gaming supplement to Dungeons & Dragons. Volo's is just the kind of project I like - Dungeons & Dragons, monsters, and getting to work with the most excellent art director, Kate Irwin. Kate assigned me some really awesome monsters and this was a really really fun assignment to work on. I produced a total of five illustrations for the book, I will be sharing three today and the last two on Wednesday. Enough yammering, here are my illustrations of the Lizardfolk, Beholder Gazer, and the Mind Flayer Tadpole...

Lizardfolk
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

I think the Lizardfolk was my favorite piece from the book. I have a soft spot for the D&D Lizardmen that goes back decades. I played a Lizardman back in 2nd Edition and after reading the section of Volo's Guide to Monsters that had the player character Lizardfolk I am ready to roll up a new one! Thrilled to have been able to create the illustration for this section of the book. I love to work on scaly lizard people.

Beholder Gazer
11 x 14 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC
 
You can never go wrong with a Beholder of any kind. I was given a tiny little image of an old Gazer illustration and was told to flesh it out and make it cool. I can totally do that! There ended up being two version of the drawing for this one since the first one was found to be a little questionable when it came to the eye stalks. You can see both drawings below and I will go into more detail about this when I share the process and step later.
 
Mind Flayer Tadpole
9.1 x 10.1 - Digital
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Last but not least of these is the Mind Flayer Tadpole. This was the perfect opportunity for me to do a self portrait of myself in a D&D assignment. I have some fun photo reference to share for this one that involve me and a kneaded eraser on my face as a stand in for the tadpole.

Below are the drawings that went into these illustrations. Since I was working on five pieces and I didn't think I had the time needed to do these traditionally the painting are digital. It would have been nice to have paintings of all of these, but the final pieces did end up way better by me doing them digitally. At least there are the drawings, get them while you can, they are going fast...

Lizardfolk
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC
 
Beholder Gazer (Final Version)
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC
 
Beholder Gazer (Original Version)
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC
 
Mind Flayer Tadpole
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Kate Irwin
Original - SOLD
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

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, November 18, 2016

Looking Back: Unproduced "Janus Scout" - 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 (somehow). Here is the design for the "Janus Scout" which was slated to be a part of the original set of Dreamblade back in 2006...

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

Unfortunately, I was never happy with this one, not with where it started and not with where it ended. This one felt like a slow motion car crash the entire time I was working on it. Almost all of this had to do with my lack of experience, both with drawing and using reference. Again, like the Genteel Husk, if I had this assignment to do now, it would be a none issue. I would shoot some reference, work out poses, do thumbnails, get feedback/approvals, do the work, and see it done - straight forward and easy enough. Back in 2005 when I was originally working on this piece I was adrift on the seas of inexperience and my ship was taking on water. In the end I survived, I got the work done, and it was approved. It was all just a lot harder than it needed to be. Here is a view of the entire turnaround...

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

If you are wondering why there are two faces it is because all of the pieces associated with the Janus Corporation in the game had two faces. Pretty neat detail in the game and an interesting aspect of all the Janus miniatures. As far as the miniature never getting made, who knows, these things happen. It could have been that production never liked the design, the miniature sculpt could have not made the cut, aspects of the game could have changed negating this piece, or any number of reasons. We will probably never know and at this point it kind of doesn't matter... except if it was because of my crappy design then I hope I never find out.

This piece went though many variations and had a lot of edits done to it before it was approved. I think these all speak for themselves and why there needed to be additional attempts at the design. Some didn't meet the requirements need to be a common miniature, some were because it was a crappy drawing, and some were because I had no idea what I was doing and was smashing my pencil to paper without any cohesive plan or direction. Enough self deprecating, here are various early versions of the "Janus Scout"...

"Janus Scout" Version 1
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

"Janus Scout" Version 2
12 x 9 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

"Janus Scout" Back Version 1 - 5
12 x 9 - Pencil on paper with digital alterations
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

It might sound like I am being overly negative about some of these designs, please understand it is all directed at myself and the holes in my skill sets back in 2005. None of this should feel directed at WotC and the production staff. I have had permission to share this unproduced work since 2009 and I have never made an attempt to do so. I still cringe at the piece, but it is part of my story and part of the work that I did to eventually be the artist I am today. Everybody has these skeletons in their art closets, it is part of journey. Hopefully this is all taken with a light heart and feels like a good amount of self deprecation - which it is. I still have more art skeletons in my closet to share...

That is 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: www.christopherburdett.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ephant Mon - Star Wars - Process

In April I first shared with you my Ephant Mon painting for the Star Wars LCG. Today I have for you the process and steps that went into making this painting. Like my Wicket W. Warrick painting from last week, Ephant Mon is nearly two years old now. I worked on it at the end of 2014 and now at the end of 2016 I am sharing the process. I have come a long way with my traditional work in this time, so in some ways this is a look back at how I use to paint, and not how I currently paint. To start things off, here is how the final painting of Ephant Mon turned out...

Ephant Mon
Star Wars LCG - So Be It
14 x 11 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Zoe Robinson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

I relied heavily on my action figures to be the reference and compositional tool for this piece. While the painting was to focus on Ephant Mon, I really wanted to add several other characters into the piece that I wanted to paint. To come with a successful composition and arrangement of figures in the painting I set up action figures and moved them around till I was happy. I took a lot of photos and tried out many options. If these figures had been all more humanoid I would have used myself for the reference and acted out the scene, but since most of these aliens were very much not a standard humanoid form the action figures were a perfect solution. Here are some of the photos I used for reference (notice my wedding ring being used to prop up Ephant Mon)...

Ephant Mon reference images

With plenty of reference to work from it was now time to work up some thumbnails. I needed to work out some interior architecture as refine some of the poses, details, value structure, and compositional elements. Here are the final thumbnails I submitted for this piece...

Ephant Mon - Thumbnails
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Option "B" was selected and looking back now, it is the clear winner of the three. While I would have liked to have included a Whiphid in the background it was just not meant to be. Now that I had an approved thumbnail it was time to work up the final drawing for Ephant Mon...

Ephant Mon
Star Wars LCG - So Be It
17 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Zoe Robinson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

The drawing was approved without comment and it was time to paint. As with my Wicket W. Warrick painting I had a very particular mood I wanted to capture that is influenced by Return of the Jedi. The Jabba's Palace scenes were often cast in a blue light and were often smoky and atmospheric. I very much wanted to capture this look and feel in my painting. Hopefully I managed it. Here is my Ephant Mon painting coming together...

Ephant Mon - Process Steps
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

While straight forward, there was a lot of pushing and pulling with this piece to get it to where I wanted it. I work back to front, generally, so I was spending a lot of time on the background figures long before ever getting to Ephant Mon. In that time I was falling in love with them and making them the stars. By the time I got to Ephant Mon I realized that I needed to knock those background figures way back and de-emphasize them a lot. While it is sometimes hard to paint over details and work you really like, it needs to be done and will make for a better painting. As I was pushing back the background I needed to make sure I pulled Ephant Mon into focus and made him the star. Hopefully I did. I worked on this piece and the Wicket piece back to back at the end of 2014. At the time I think I was more into Wicket, but as time moved on, I think I like Ephant Mon the best in the long run. Opinions change and moods are temporary. Here is an animated progression of this painting taking shape so you can better see what is going on...

Ephant Mon - Animated Process
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Here again is the final painting of Ephant Mon and the final production card that it was used on...

Ephant Mon
Star Wars LCG - So Be It
14 x 11 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Zoe Robinson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Ephant Mon 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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dungeons & Dragons - Monsters and Heroes of the Realms - Coloring Book

The Dungeons & Dragons - Monsters and Heroes of the Realms Coloring Book was recently released and I go my hands on a copy over the weekend. Turns out that some of my work created for the 5th Edition Monster Manual was adapted for use in the coloring book! A surprise to me, but never the less pretty neat. Here is a look at the cover...

Dungeons & Dragons - Monsters and Heroes of the Realms Coloring Book

While I had nothing to do with the creation of this actual product, someone converted my paintings into line art so that they can now be colored. My pieces that are used in the coloring book are the Kraken, Aarakocra, and the Salamander, all favorites of mine for different reasons. Really fun to see them turned into line art for coloring. Now to deal with the temptation to color them like I painted them. Here is a look at the coloring pages of my monsters...

Kraken coloring book page
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Aarakocra coloring book page
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Salamander coloring book page
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

There was an unexpected credits section in the back of the book. Not that I was surprised that the original artist got credit, but that there is a thumbnail of the coloring page, the artist that created the original art, and the original publication of the art. They went that extra mile and that is really neat. There is also a mini color gallery featuring some of the original art used in this book, but none of my color pieces were used in this mini gallery. Here is a look at one of the credit pages...

Coloring book page credits page sample
© 2016 Wizards of the Coast LLC

That is 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: www.christopherburdett.com

Friday, November 11, 2016

Looking Back: Genteel Husk - Dreamblade

Today on the blog I am looking back at another Dreamblade miniature design that I have never shared before. This one has bugged me for over 11 years and I might as well go ahead and share it finally and be done with it. Here is the design and miniature for the Genteel Husk which appeared in the original set of Dreamblade back in 2006...

Genteel Husk
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Where to even begin with this one... This was one of the first three designs I was assigned when I started working on Dreamblade, these included the Blight Rat, Pick-Pick (which I still need to share), and the then named Alistair - which eventually became the Genteel Husk. One was a rat monster with a stick, one was a ball with blade limbs, and one was a handsome guy... wait, what?! I was just starting to get my feet under me as a designer for hire and this one nearly took them right out from under me. If I received this assignment today it would be a none issue and I would do the work and it would be done, but 11 years ago was a completely different matter. I was working on my first game, I was learning about the this new game's visual esthetic, I was learning about working with an AD remotely, and I was learning to be a better artist. This one piece, well all three kind of, but mainly this one nearly ended my career in the gaming industry before it even began. Seriously. Somehow I made it through and there was an approved design at the end. Here is how the final turnaround for the Genteel Husk turned out...

Genteel Husk Turnaround
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper (multiple sheets)
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Now that you see the turnaround it should be obvious that this piece was not just a handsome man miniature. It was business on the front and monster on the back. A classic double take miniature. As I said before, I was not prepared for this and I had NO idea what needed to happen for this piece to be successful. Let's say there was a lot of trials and errors as this piece headed toward the finish line. At first my thoughts on this piece were WAY wrong and WAY to weird and silly. There was a lot of back and forth with the art director and a few more attempts at the design before I was anywhere near getting this piece approved. Some of this had to do with me not understanding it needed to be "just a dude" from the front, some had to do with my lack of confidence as a designer, and some had to do with my inexperience as an artist. Eventually, it all worked out. Eventually it was approved. Eventually, I got better, got to do lots more miniatures, and had a lot of fun. Here are some of my bad drawings and early attempts at the Genteel Husk design...

Genteel Husk - Versions 1, 2, and 3
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

It is sometimes hilarious to me how much time and effort I would put into one of these designs to then see the final miniature. Not that the miniature is in any way lacking or bad, they are for the most part gorgeous. It is the amount of fretting over the details I would do, or would be asked to do, and there was just no way for that detail to ever show up in the miniature. They got really really close sometimes, and I guess that is why we did it for each and every piece. Also, maybe it is funnier to me because I never really liked my designs for this one and never felt like I had done a good enough job. I really could have done better... but I was learning and in the end, the AD was happy, it got approved, and it got made. Here is a look a the final miniature for the Genteel Husk...

Genteel Husk Miniature

That is 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: www.christopherburdett.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wicket W. Warrick - Star Wars - Process

In December of last year I first shared with you my Wicker W. Warrick painting for the Star Wars LCG. Today I have for you the process and steps that went into making this piece. The thing about this piece is that it is nearly two years old now. I worked on it at the end of 2014 and now at the end of 2016 I am sharing the process. I have come a long way with my traditional work in this time, so in some ways this is a look back at how I use to paint, and not how I currently paint. To start things off, here is how the final painting of Wicket turned out...

Wicket W. Warrick
Star Wars LCG - Solo's Command
14 x 11 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Zoe Robinson
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

As always this piece started with some thumbnails. I played around with some image of my action figures and worked on some compositions. There was a very specific moment from Return of the Jedi I was going for, so I focused on trying to capture that moment and the emotional response I had to it. Here are how the thumbnails turned out...

Wicket W. Warrick - Thumbnails
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Obviously, option "C" was the winner. Not sure if could disagree with this now and I certainly did not disagree at the time. "B" may have been interesting to work on, but "C" is clearly the winner of this bunch. Now that I had an approved thumbnail is was time to move forward on the drawing...

Wicket W. Warrick
Star Wars LCG - Solo's Command
17 x 14 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Zoe Robinson
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

The drawing was approved without comment and it was time to get to work on the painting. As I mentioned above I was aiming to capture a very specific mood and moment from Return of the Jedi with this painting. I wanted to represent in my own way the moments leading up to Wicket first meeting Princess Leia. I watched that section of the film and looked at a lot of frames from it to get a feel for the color and lighting of that moment. Hopefully, by the time I was done with my painting I managed to get a little of that on screen magic I was aiming for.

Wicket W. Warrick - Reference

I had a drawing, I had my reference, I had a plan, and I had a painting to make. This one came together fairly quickly and was rather straight forward. There is loads of reference of Wicket out there and I was working from images from the movie for color and mood. It was all a matter of getting the piece made and not making a mess of it. Like I said, this was from two years ago now and I was still (kinda still am) intimidated by the materials and I sometime feel that it could all go horribly wrong in a second. Here is the painting coming together in twelve easy steps...

Wicket W. Warrick - Process Steps
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Here is the painting coming together in a animated format. Thankfully there were no gaffs or errors along the way that need to be addressed and I planned out everything in advance. Not a very exciting story of the process, but sometime that is okay.

Wicket W. Warrick - Animated Process
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

I will point out the blood. With all of my Ewok pieces I try to add a bit of blood. Ewoks after all are carnivores and were planning on eating Luke, Han, and Chewie. I see them a competent hunters that take pride and enjoyment in the hunt. It is survival, but it is also something they enjoy doing. There is blood on the top of Wicket's spear and a splatter trail of blood on the log and plants that he is following. Wicket wounded something and now he is closing in on the prey, little does he know he is about to run into a princess.

Here again is the final painting of Wicket and the final production card that it was used on...

Wicket W. Warrick
Star Wars LCG - Solo's Command
14 x 11 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Zoe Robinson
© 2015 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Wicket W. Warrick 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, November 7, 2016

Chewbacca: Star Wars LCG - 2016 Store Championship Kit

More new Star Wars work on the blog today! I say new, but apparently this has been out for months and months and I was only alerted to its release at Gen Con. This Chewbacca piece was created for the 2016 Store Championship Kit and was released at the beginning of the year. Oops! I guess it is fine to finally be sharing it in November. I present to you my second official Chewbacca painting for the FFG Star Wars games...

Chewbacca
Star Wars LCG - 2016 Store Championship Kit
11 x 14 - Acrylic and pencil on board
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Last year I shared with you my first Chewbacca piece that I did for Imperial Assault. I still really like that piece a lot, but always felt it could be more and look more like Chewbacca. When I was given a second chance to paint everybody's favorite walking carpet I really made sure that Chewie looked like Chewie. When I share the process for this piece I will show you just how many times I painted, repainted, painted over, started over, and reworked Chewies head and face on this piece to get it where I wanted it to be. Since this is an iconic Return of the Jedi moment I really wanted to make sure this was Jedi Chewie. I think I got the job done. Also, when I share the process for this post I will talk a bit about how inconstant the actual scene in the movie I am depicting was. Anyway, here is the drawing that I created that goes along with this painting...

Chewbacca
Star Wars LCG - 2016 Store Championship Kit
14 x 17 - Pencil on paper
Art Director - Taylor Ingvarsson
© 2016 Lucasfilm, Ltd. TM Lucasfilm, Ltd. Under license to Fantasy Flight Games

Last, but not least, here is a bad scan of the final production card with all the cropping action you could possibly want. You can also see why there was so much blank AT-ST at the bottom of the painting. The actual card does a pretty good job in capturing the look of the painting, even though I feel my own images of the painting do not. Gotta love a painting in person.

Chewbacca in handy dandy card form

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