Chinchillas are adorable. The first time I saw one, I wanted it as a pet, and that desire hasn’t changed (though I’ve never actually had one as a pet up to this point…sad face). Their big ears, fat, furry bodies, and naturally happy and peaceful expressions make them stand out to me among the rodent population, much in the same way that a pizza stands out to me on a table filled with vegetables. A while back, in an attempt to come up with illustration ideas by paring words from 2 different lists, I came up with the combination of chinchilla and coffee. This is my initial rough sketch of that idea:
As you can see, I tend to do my rough sketches on the back of discarded paper that is laying around. I usually regret this later, but when an idea strikes, I just reach for whatever is around! I liked the way this looked, so I redrew that image on nice card stock, refining my initial sketch and adding lots more details. When comparing this sketch with the rough sketch, it’s immediately evident that I used photo reference from google images to work out the details of the face, ears, tail, and how those features interact with the body in terms of placement. When drawing animals, photo reference is extremely important! I also changed the cup from a mug to more of a nice teacup. Chinchillas are picky about the elegance of their coffee cups. Here is my refined sketch:
After finishing my refined sketch, my life got so busy that I wasn’t able to return to it for a few weeks. At that point, I decided that there was too much going on at the center of interest (which I would argue is the face/nose) with the whiskers, coffee cup, and steam from the coffee, so I decided to just erase the whiskers and redirect the steam away from the face. This gives everything more room to breath, so to speak. This is my updated sketch:
The inks for this one were really weird, primarily because I wanted to do the eyes in watercolor, so I only outlined the eye shape in ink. I had this inked chinchilla with lifeless eyes staring at me from my art table for several days, and each time I saw it, I was a little more convinced that it just wasn’t going to look right even after I added the colors. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. After adding colors, I used white out to add some highlights to his nose, the right edge of his head and body, and his coffee cup. I think it turned out pretty well over all.
If you ever have questions about anything I’ve discussed here or just about art in general I’m more than happy to answer them. Just post your questions in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.Thanks for stopping by!