Friday, September 23, 2011

Green Tree Frog... and a Lesson on Anthropomorphism

Last week, our lesson was on Reptiles and Amphibians. I decided to study the Green Tree Frog:

Orthographic Drawings:

Wildlife Illustration:

Character Design (Lilly the Tree Frog):

Lesson Learned: Pay attention to the details when anthropomorphizing animals. When designing the ballerina tree frog, I first asked myself- what do I need to include that will define this character as a tree frog? I decided that the essential elements to make it look like a tree frog are the skin and eye colors, the structure of the head and placement of the eyes, and the toe webs and pads. Then I asked myself- what humanlike characteristics does this animal have that can help me to anthropomorphize it? I decided that the hinged elbows and knees, humanlike muscular structure of the arms and legs, and the ankle bones are all aspects that I could work from to help make this frog more human-like. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Martina Koala... and a Lesson on Preliminary Sketches

For my first Children's Book Illustration 2 assignment this semester, I was assigned to interview a classmate and then come up with an illustration that somehow relates to 3 bits of information that I gained from the interview. I interviewed my lovely friend Martina, and from her responses I decided to illustrate these three points:

1. If she were an animal, she would be a koala.
2. Two words that describe her are: ridiculous and dramatic.
3. If she could go back in time, she would go back to when she was 5 years old, because she loved it.

So, here is my illustration of a ridiculous/dramatic koala in kindergarten:

Lesson Learned: Even after you have chosen the final narrative and composition for your illustration, sometimes the concept development can go even further. When I was refining my original sketch for this illustration, I placed a sheet of tracing paper over the original so that I could re-draw the koala's head in a different position and make the blocks look like they are starting to tumble. As I was drawing, I accidentally shifted the tracing paper a bit to the side. With the original drawing visible underneath, this created the illusion of animation- like the koala's head was moving and the blocks were falling. This sparked the idea to create this illustration as vector art, so that later I can go back and animate it in Flash! I plan on creating simple buttons (the blocks tumbling, Martina roaring, her classmate's head turning) that will transform this into a fun, interactive illustration! 

So next time you start working on refining your sketches and other technical aspects of preliminary work, don't put your brainstorming to rest. You never know when a new idea might come up if you stay in a creative mindset throughout the entire process.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Largemouth Bass... and a Lesson on Animal Anatomy

Well, I have finally entered into my final semester at the Academy of Art University! I can hardly believe it.

For the first assignment in my Wildlife Illustration class, we had to study and draw a specific species of fish. I chose to illustrate a largemouth bass (Greg's favorite fish). I had to do 3 orthographic drawings in pencil (skeletal, muscular, and exterior), a size scale illustration, a realistic illustration in the fish's natural environment, and an illustration of a character I created based on the fish I studied.

Close-ups of the color illustrations:

Lesson Learned: Understanding the anatomy of an animal can really help when drawing it in poses that you do not have exact reference for. If you understand the way an animal's body moves, you will be able to depict it more believably from viewpoints that you do not have exact reference for.