Friday, December 9, 2011

A Punk-Rock Zebra... and a Lesson in Animal Prints

For last week's assignment in my Wildlife Illustration class, I studied the Burchell's Zebra.

Here my character, Zoey the Zebra:

My orthographic studies:

And a realistic color study of a Burchell's zebra:

Lesson Learned: When illustrating an animal with a patterned coat, draw the stripes (or spots or patches) on the animal like you would draw a tight-fitting patterned piece of clothing on a person or a pattern on a vase, a bowl, or any other rounded object. Be sure that the pattern follows the curves of the animal's body, so that it does not flatten out the form of the animal's body. 

Also, when designing a clothed character of an animal with a patterned coat, keep the clothing simple! Since the animal has a pattern all over its body already, solid colored clothing will help to keep things from looking too busy. For my zebra character, I played up the fact that her stripes reminded me of tattoo sleeves, and I put her in a leather vest to give her a punk-rock look that went along with her mohawk-like mane.