January 19, 2012

Brave new world

Just before the new year I finally made the time to try painting traditionally for the first time. This is something I have been thinking about and worrying about for most of 2011. Having primarily only rendered in pencil and then working digitally I never really had the time or courage to try my hand at traditional paint media. Even though I thought I was going to die in the early stages of the first painting I was able to make it through none the worse for wear. This is how my first traditional painting turned out...

Myopic Thrasher
11 x 14 Acrylic on board
© 2011 Christopher Burdett

I had hoped that these years of working digitally would transfer over just a little when working traditionally. I was pleasantly surprised that in fact I think some had. Here are some images of how the painting progressed, I was so focused on the figure I forgot to address the background until very late in the painting...

Myopic Thrasher painting progression part 1.

Myopic Thrasher painting progression part 2.

I am of course hooked how. I quickly got to work on my second painting while prepping several more for when I finish the second one. I know it will be a while, if ever, before I attempt to work traditionally for a client. I know my digital work is more refined and I know I have a lot to learn in regards to painting traditionally, but I am personally very happy with how my first paintings are turning out. For now I am going to be making these for myself and for personal projects... speaking of personal projects, here is my second painting, a Bugbear...

9 x 12 Acrylic on board
© 2012 Christopher Burdett

Bugbear painting progression part 1.

Bugbear painting progression part 2.

People have said for a while now that my digital work felt traditional to them, so I figured it was well past time to see if my traditional work feels digital! As I said, I know I have a lot to learn about working traditional, but as I am only two paintings in, I am trying to stay objective and optimistic that maybe there is some hope for me after all.


  1. Keep it up, Chris. I know exactly where you're coming from here, just making the transition myself. Basically, if you can paint at 80% the quality level that your digital work is at, it is probably worth making the switch permanently. That 20% gap will close soon after you start kicking lots of work out and perfecting your process, and any difference is more than made up for by having that original. That's my current thinking anyways! :)

  2. Your first traditional painting?? It looks terrific, Chris! I started with traditional painting and then switched to digital, now it's even harder to go back, but I'm trying. keep it up =) Having a physical piece of art is worth a lot. Storage is a problem you think about later ;D

  3. Looks great, and very cool move, Chris !! Would've never guessed that your career didn't start traditionally? I'd love to see you in oils..!? Glazes over an underpainting make it shine like a stained-glass window!! Hell, I'd like to see everyone back to the serendipitous chess match that is traditional, even though it has it's draw backs in time.. You've kept your pieces smaller though, so that will help.. Cheers, and good luck to new ventures !!

  4. Quite the beefy post, Chris! Loving all the progress shots :) Hard to believe these are your first traditional pieces ;) They look awesome, man!

  5. Nice, man - congrats! Great to see how your process changed after only one painting too. I learned to paint digitally as well and have thought about switching, but in all honesty I really just love not having a messy work area and having to store bulky paintings. Glad it's workin' for ya!

  6. Great pieces Chris, you're picking it up quick! Are you planning to do traditional work for clients as well? Sometimes I miss the smell of pigments and solvents, the feel of a brush on a real surface, and having an actual painting to hang on the studio wall. But, after 14 years of illustrating in various traditional mediums, I don't miss the mess, cost of materials and shipping, or the storage problems. Still, I imagine the siren song of real paint will call me back again one day... and your enthusiasm makes that song a little louder.

  7. Thanks everybody! :D Going to try to keep at it as much as time allows. At this time I am not planning on doing client work traditionally, but you never know what might happen at a much later date. Glad to hear I am not wasting my time on these! :D