Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Rhino in a Mini Skirt... and a Lesson in Animal Character Genders

Here are some orthographic studies I did of a white rhinoceros:

A realistic color study of a white rhino:

And a character, Rita the cheerleading rhino:

Lesson Learned: When characterizing wild animals, make sure that you note the gender differences within that species. In my research, I learned that female white rhinos can weigh up to half a ton less than males, and they also have a less pronounced shoulder hump and shorter horns than their male counterparts. This information helped me to make Rita look more feminine, and I will also need to keep those gender distinguishing characteristics in mind when I go on to design the guys that play football for the Rhinos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pre-Christmas Caribou... and a Tip for Painting Snow

In my Wildlife Illustration class, the module on antlered ungulates provided a great opportunity for me to prepare for the holiday season by learning to draw reindeer. My research taught me that, in the wild, they are called caribou... only domesticated caribou are called reindeer.

A little character, Rosemary the Reindeer
(created in Adobe Illustrator):

 I think I will re-work Rosemary the Reindeer later on to dress her up for Christmas!

Anatomy studies of caribou:

A color study (painted in Photoshop):

Lesson Learned: Snow doesn't have to be white! When painting snow, think about all of the different colors that can be reflected in it. For my color caribou study, I added areas of orange and blue to the snow. These sunset colors reflected in the snow help to create a mood for the piece that is much more interesting than if the snow had been plain white.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Spectacled Bear... and Why the Obvious Solution is Sometimes a Good One

For my Wildlife Illustration class, I did a study of the Andean Bear, also known as the Spectacled Bear, because of the white rings around its eyes.

Here are the orthographic studies I did to learn the animal's anatomy:

And here is Spencer the Spectacled Bear:

Lesson Learned: Since this type of bear is known as the "Spectacled Bear," my immediate thought was to make a bear character wearing glasses. At first, I thought the idea was too obvious and non-creative, but once I started sketching I changed my mind. I think that the look of the bear with the white face and shaggy fur actually works really well for this older, more sophisticated bespectacled character that I created. Glad I went with my first instinct!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Planning a Picture Book... and a Lesson in Making Kids Look the Right Age

I've been working on an illustrated picture book for a story called "When You're Older," written by my friend James Littlejohn. I've been sketching for months now, and here is a little sneak peek of the picture book in progress- a mini storyboard of the overall layout of the book.

I'm still trying to decide what to do for the cover. I'm thinking of maybe showing the boy standing next to his mom and dad, but all you can see of his parents is their legs... to show that he is really little. What do you guys think? Any cover ideas?

Lesson Learned: Little kids have huge foreheads! The lower you draw the eyes on the head, the younger your character will look. In my original sketches, my character looked about 9 or 10. Then, I made his body shorter and increased the size of his forehead, and voila... he turned into a 3 year old!