Otter eating pizza

otter eating pizza

As I mentioned in my previous post about the goat with the watering can, a couple of months ago I came up with a couple of lists, one list of subjects and the other items and actions, and then paired words from both lists in interesting ways, such as ‘otter eating pizza.’ I immediately saw in my mind an otter struggling to get an exceptionally cheesy bite of pizza to separate from the main slice, with his very flexible back arched but his sort arms not allowing him much room for separation. I quickly jotted this idea down as a rough sketch:

I then refined this idea, focusing on otter facial characteristics, the otter’s overall expression, and the details of the slice of pizza, and generally finalizing the details of his pose, fur and whiskers:

Now satisfied with my pencil drawing, I inked this guy and started coloring. My first attempt was too dark, due to indecision on my part about how dark I wanted to make him. I kept going back over the figure with darker and darker paint, and wound up horribly overworking the image. I also forgot to leave a strip of white at the top of his nose to indicate the gleam of the light on his wet nose. Here it is:

On my next attempt, I wound up making a mistake while inking the bottom of his tummy, and the lines got really dark. I wasn’t sure it was bad enough to start over, so I went ahead and added colors. I overworked his midsection again, but it’s not that noticeable in the scan. However, I decided that my inking mistake stood out too much and that I would start agian. Here’s my second attempt:

On my third attempt, seen at the top of this post, my inks were better, my colors were comparable to my second attempt, and I didn’t overwork any areas of the color. It is a pain to ink the same image over and over, but ultimately I’m glad I stuck with it because I really like the concept of the image, and it’s very satisfying to have a completed version of that concept. Thanks for stopping by!

Goat with watering can

watering goat
In my junior year of college I spent a semester at a simulated third-world village in Florida, learning things like how to: cook over fire, filter water, take care of various animals, butcher animals, grow vegetables in raised bed gardens, and lots of other stuff like that. As part of that, we took care of a herd of Nubian goats, which have a very distinctive look to them, and I came away from that experience with a fondness for them. A few weeks ago, i was trying to come up with ideas for things draw and decided to make a list of potential animals and types of people. I made a second list of smaller objects or actions, and then paired them with the items on the first list, resulting in some interesting combinations. Goat with watering can was one of the results. Apparently I failed to scan my initial sketch, but here’s my finished pencil drawing:

Before starting to add colors, I did some google image research on the coloration patterns of Nubian goats, and decided that I wanted a light brown goat with darker splotches and spots. Many of the goats I saw seemed to be darker towards the top of of their bodies, so I decided to paint the body of the goat wet on wet to get a nice transition of medium to light brown. This worked out pretty well, and then I was able to come in and add the coat pattern, and the body shading once it had dried. I haven’t done much wet on wet painting so it was good to do some experimenting.

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Scratching Cat

scratching cat
My wife, Gypsy, and I have a cat named Sushi who will occasionally get an itchy ear. I’ve seen dog’s scratch their ears on a regular basis, but never a cat, so it’s always interesting to me when she does it. While looking for inspiration for more watercolor illustrations one evening, I realized that a cat contentedly scratching her ear would fit the bill perfectly. Here is my initial sketch, done very quickly to just capture the idea:

It took a lot of sketching, erasing, and frustrated sighs to come up with a final revised pencil drawing. I kept making the cat too angular, too stiff, too, just, wrong looking and I couldn’t figure out why. I finally was able to get a sleek, elegant, happy, fuzzy-looking, proportional, anatomically accurate cat sketch that in my option captured what I found adorable in my itchy-eared cat:

I can’t explain why I chose to color her as a ginger tabby, but it seemed more colorful than the gray and white of the real-life Sushi. I felt like the stripes added a nice visual element, and gave her a very warm personality. This is one of my favorites so far.

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Girl and Frog

Girl with Frog

Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by frogs. Their bulging eyes and cool coloration made them stand out to me, along with my inability to catch them. I caught plenty of toads, but frogs were scarce, making them all the more interesting and desirable.They are also remarkably hard to draw convincingly and I did plenty of bad frog drawings in my life before sort of getting a handle on the finer points of frog anatomy. I’m sure that my inability to catch as many frogs as a child as I would have liked played into the idea for this image of a young girl who has caught a massive bullfrog. Here’s my initial sketch:

As you can see, I wasn’t sure whether to have the frog’s mouth open or closed, but overall, I stayed with this basic composition through to the finished image. Next, I added more details, figured out what the frog should look like, what the little girl should be wearing, and all that good stuff.

In my mind I saw this girl sort of as a little farm girl whose front adult teeth have just come in, so they’re very prominent. I also decided she’d be wearing overalls instead of a dress, but would be barefoot. After sitting on the image for a little while, I decided to give her teeth less definition, and make the frog’s head smaller. I also added some wrinkles to the frog’s neck where the girls hands are pressing into it, which help to give the frog a sense of weight and helps to sell idea that these two characters are interacting. Here is the finalized pencil sketch:

Now satisfied with my pencil sketch, I inked the image and made some color choices. I decided to give the girl red hair, and at the last minute gave her a bunch of freckles. The standard “shorthand” in illustrating for freckles is three dots on the cheek and maybe one on the nose, but the people I know with freckles have many, many more than that, and I wanted to try to incorporate that into this image.

Unfortunately, she looked like she had chicken pox or something. I was bummed. It was also clear that I had over-inked her hair, so the red wasn’t really showing through. I decided to re-ink the image and start over, ending up with the image at the top of the post. I made sure not to ink her hair so much, and to not make the line for the frog’s mouth so thick, and then gave her fewer freckles and made her hair a brighter shade or orange. Over all, I think the image is better for it. Well, that’s the story of this image…thanks for stopping by!