Friday, September 12, 2014

Korrok, Slavemaster from the Eighth Plane (John Dies at the End)

Here he is! It's been a lot of work and a big struggle to complete it but I've finally finished my painting of Korrok from John Dies at the End written by David Wong.

"With a tiny change in your brain chemistry, I could make you a child molester." -Korrok


I tackled a lot of stuff I don't normally go after with this piece. Korrok may be a monster, but it felt more like I was painting a landscape because he's just a big somewhat ambiguous form, so there wasn't any real anatomy to nail. Just like the last two paintings, I tried my best to fit as many details straight from the text as I could, but this was definitely the most challenging of the 3 in that department. There was just so much going on, and the scene was so specific I had to cut some things I would have liked to put in for the sake of having a good painting overall. Still I knew that what was most important with this piece was to illustrate the huge scale of Korrok as well as showing off all his disgusting bits. For the fans of the book, I hope it lives up to the image you had in your head while reading.

For anyone who's interested in how the painting process went for this piece, here ya go! By the way, there's some more words after, so scroll to the bottom for the blog post wrap-up.
1 - Sketches
 Really wanted to make sure I went with the best idea, so I did a bunch of variants...
2 - Chosen Sketch
...ultimately settling on this sketch.
3 - figuring out forms/ refining composition
 It's best to figure out all of you compositional problems with a rough sketch before laying down all the detail.
4 - adding color
 Trying to figure out a rough color palette so I don't have to make it up as I go.
5 - refining color options / experimenting

6 - final color study
 From here I decided that I liked what it was so far, and this gives me a really good road-map for the rest of the painting
7 - painting begins
 I dive right in, painting in the form of the eye and starting to add some detail in just to get a feel for how I want the whole thing to look in the end.
8 - laying down texture
 I knew I wanted this thing to be really gross and nasty looking, so I spent a lot of time laying down texture over the whole body of Korrok...
9 - building up more texture
 ...seriously, lots of time layering up all that texture, a lot of which comes through in the final image.
10 - adding form, details, foreground
 So I have my flat, textured form, now it's time to carve into the mass with highlights and shadow, I used multiply and overlay layers to keep some transparency so I didn't lose all of the texture work.
11 - up the lighting, adding form, more details
 The piece was looking too muted so I made it brighter, more carving out details, lots of layering to get things just right
12 - more detail, hue shifts
All of this layering took a LOT of time, I basically spent the whole painting noodling over area after area. I also wanted the colors to shift here and there so I apply that here.
13 - starting the eye
 I looked up a bunch of different reptilian eyes to make sure I got the details right. I wanted the eye to be the focus, so nailing the detail and color was muy importante.
14 - eye refining
 Just rendering out that eye more, adding all the love and care Korrok deserves <3 br="">
15 - light & texture adjustments
Decided there wasn't enough texture, so I added more, and light, I added more of that too.
16 - darken background...oh, and more detail
I wanted the piece to read more dramatically, plus Korrok is in a cvery dark room surrounded by shadow men, but I decided I didn't want to cover up all of that detail with blackness that most people probably wouldn't be able to tell what it was from this far out. So instead of smoke and shadow-men I made a dark background to emphasize that idea. This was one of those areas where I had to decide between being faithful to the text by adding in everything or giving the painting what it needed. I may have to make it up to the shadow men one day, they deserve some love too right?
17 - detail, starting catwalk
 From the start, I knew the catwalk would be the very last thing I painted. I rather paint over-top of a huge mass than painting painstakingly around one. It would've taken a lot more time and effort to paint in the catwalk first. Why hassle yourself? Also, keep that on a separate layer, also muy importante.
18 - catwalk support, tiny figures
From left to right, it's the masked fat-man, John, David and Molly.
19 - Final tweaks made (final image)
And there you have it!


It's been about 4 months since I started my John Dies at the End series, and with this painting the series will come to a close for now. I'll be leaving for Illuxcon in a couple days and I'll be shopping my artwork around (including these 3 JDatE paintings!) and then after that I'm going full-force into working on a Magic: the Gathering portfolio, because I'm tired of not working on Magic already!

I want to sincerely thank all of the people who've spent time checking out these hopefully enjoyable paintings of a definitely awesome book. Including everyone who posted such kind words over on the thread I made on the Cracked.com forums. You guys were awesome!

And a special thanks to David Wong himself for writing such fun material for me to work from. Make sure to check out the source material John Dies at the End and it's sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders. They are a beautiful blend of humor and horror.

Click here to purchase a print of Korrok!

Monday, August 18, 2014

NEWS! I've added a shop page to my site!

I've decided to add a shop page to my site! I've got quite a few products that I've worked on in the past few years and I wanted to have an easy place for people to find where to buy what I've worked on. So click the following link to buy the deck of playing cards I illustrated for CollegeHumor or the shirts I've designed for Cracked.com...

Like this one!


 CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY SHOP!

And of course, there's a link to my print shop as well for anyone who wants to hang some of my art on their wall. I'll make sure to post shop updates as I add new products to the list. Coming soon is the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual as well as my George R. R. Martin Tshirt for Cracked. Keep an eye out!

Monday, August 11, 2014

"The Rise of the Wigmonsters" a 'John Dies at the End' painting

Over the course of the past month I've been working on my 2nd John Dies at the End painting, this time featuring the ridiculous and horrifying wigmonsters as they attack the audience in a Vegas ballroom, interrupting a show put on by Dr. Marconi.
The Wigmonsters
I decided to do something a little different with painting this one. Instead of posting process shots on my facebook page like I normally do, I exclusively posted my process for this piece on my own thread on the John Dies at the End sub-forum on Cracked.com. So if you're interested on reading up on how this piece developed I encourage you to check out the thread HERE.

If you'd like to purchase a print of this piece you can get one on my InPrnt shop HERE
http://www.inprnt.com/gallery/mike_burns/wig-monsters/


I go into detail on each step of the piece on the thread but I figured I would post the step-by-step shots here as well for anyone who doesn't want to scroll through a forum page. I hope you all like the piece!
Initial Scribble












Final Image
The next and final piece in my John Dies series will be featuring Korrok. Keep an eye on my thread if you'd like to follow along!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Male Pattern Badness" T-Shirt Art for Cracked

I am very excited to announce that yesterday my very first project has been released on Cracked.com! A couple months back I was asked to take a Photoplasty contest entry by Darren James and turn it into a fully illustrated T-shirt design which can be seen below...

My artwork for Cracked T-shirt design "Male Pattern Badness"

"Like looking directly into the sun, some art is so powerful, so blisteringly glorious that it sears itself into your retinas and stays with you long after you look away. It reminds you that even if the rest of your life is full of wretched misery, you were at least once in the presence of magnificence and it hurt a little. This shirt is one of those arts. Also, if you looked at the image above without any protection, you're pregnant now, with a baby named freedom. You're welcome."

-The Lovely Cracked Staff

That is the actual product description for the shirt in the Cracked Dispensary, where you can buy the shirt. I couldn't have written it better myself. When the time comes for me to publish my own art book, you can bet I'll be asking Cracked for a quote. I've been a huge fan of the Cracked website for years now. They have some amazingly interesting articles dripping with a thick layer of humor, so if you like learning and laughing at the same time seriously check them out.


If you're interested in buying the shirt for yourself or for a friend, it's available in Small-2XL for Ladies and Small-3XL for Men. So what are you waiting for? 


Also! In case you needed more incentive, Cracked is currently running a SALE on ALL OF THEIR SHIRTS, so check out the link HERE for the promotional code to get 15% off from now through 4th of July Weekend!

I've got more work for Cracked to be released so I'll be back to post about those when the time comes. Until then, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My One Fantastic Interview with One Fantastic Week, and a Wig Monster

Wig Monster from John Dies at the End
The guys who run the web show One Fantastic Week recently interviewed me for their monthly viewer interview! If you've ever wondered what it would be like to ask me questions and then me answer those same questions then this is perfect for you. This was the first interview I've ever done and I tried to make it as helpful (with links to different resources and artists I like) as well as informative.

You can check out the interview HERE!

One Fantastic Week is a weekly web show hosted by Sam Flegal and Pete Morbacher, and every week they talk about their weekly adventures in the art world as well as talking about various art topics and interviewing different artist guests. It's a pretty great show to listen to while working.

You can find all past episodes HERE.

As for the above drawing, it's a preliminary sketch for my next John Dies at the End painting. Just wanted to figure out the design of the creature before I place it in a scene.

Friday, May 30, 2014

George R. R. Martin Portrait Process

When I started this piece, I knew I wanted the image to have a design fitting for a Tshirt, so it had to have an interesting silhouette. I didn't want it to look like it was just a rectangle pasted onto a shirt, I wanted it to look like it belonged.
1. Initial Sketch
1. With my sketch I established the overall shape of the portrait, as well as a base color to serve as a suggested shirt color. I was trying to make sure I had all of the features where they needed to be so that things wouldn't look wonky once I started painting.
2.
 2. Here I start to give the face some form, I'm working in broad strokes, trying not to think about detail for now, I want the bigger shapes to work on their own first.
3.
3. Punching up the values with an overlay layer. By saturating the blues I'm trying to give it more of an icy cold feel to it. I knew from the start I wanted to give him bright, glowing, blue eyes like the wights / white walkers are described as having, and I was following the visual cues from the show. Also started blocking in the beard, again broader strokes first, detail comes later.
4.
 4. Hey, it's starting to look like George! Here I added in the rims of the glasses, brightened up the eyes and started laying in the fine beard hair details. Now that it looks like the right person, time to rough him up a bit...
5.
 5. Snow. He had to be covered in snow. This was pretty much a requirement if I'm going to make him an Other. I thought icicles hanging down from his visor would be a cool touch too. I tried to make sure it didn't look like the ice was melting, because after all he isn't emitting any heat, he's a source of cold. I also start working on the fur-line.
6.
 I wasn't entirely happy with the fur the way it was, so I thought back to the show, and looked up some photos of good-ole Ned Stark, and took a close look at how his cloak worked. I saw the fut didn't actually completely encompass his neck, but instead, it came to intersecting leather straps in the shape of an X that keeps the cloak on the shoulders of the wearer. Much happier with the change. In order to get the leathery texture, I downloaded some photos of leather from CGtextures and placed them over the straps to make them look real, and from there I added hand painting to keep it from looking too photo-like. I was having trouble painting both sides of the fur cohesively, so I copy pasted and flipped the one side onto the other, you can see their identical above.
7.
7. Even more snow. Seriously, every inch needs to be covered, these guys are from a place called "The Land of Always Winter". I also covered up the fact that I mirrored the fur by adding the snow on top, I'm pretty happy with how that worked out. From here I just kept adding more and more detail, including the little gem that I saw usually accompanying the hat George is always wearing, I thought it gave another interesting element to the piece.
8.
8. At this point, I decided to do some end of the painting level adjustments to really make the piece pop more, especially with the eyes. Also, since I didn't bother masking out the piece in the beginning, I had to do it at the end, the red area shows the part that is masked out. Everything that isn't red is part of the actual printed image if it were to appear on a shirt.
9. Final Painting
9. After some consideration, while I still think the painting would look awesome printed on a Navy Blue shirt, I decided that for showing off the image online, it looks much better on a black background. It just makes everything pop out more in my opinion.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my process of how I turned George R. R. Martin into a White Walker. I know it doesn't happen that way in the books but I hope that other readers can enjoy the homage.

And a sincerely warm thank you to George R. R. Martin for creating my favorite world to get lost in  and explore. I can't even begin to add up all the hours I've spent enjoying this story.

Buy a print of the above piece on my InPrnt shop! CLICK HERE
Buy a print of the above piece on my InPrnt shop! CLICK HERE