I’ve been working on a dummy book involving tigers, lately and it’s been hard to arrive at a style of illustration for this on that I’m happy with. It’s a story with a slightly more dramatic turn and so my usual stylized look didn’t quite fit the bill. Still, I didn’t want to lean fully realistic, so I’ve been doing a little experimenting.
Zoo sketches, lots of reference studies, lots of false starts. This has led me to the conclusion: tigers are very complicated.
On the one hand they’re lean and mean predators, but on the other they’ve all got that baggy tummy pooch, and those fuzzy wuzzy mutton chops. It’s a subtle balance of rough and fluff.
I also gave a lot more thought to color in this one than I usually do – I wanted the changes in color to match the changes in tone and mood. I may have overdone it in the orange department, but hey, a tiger’s gotta tiger.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve been working a lot more on illustration lately and less outdoors – that gives me a lot fewer exciting stories of bugs and toxic plants to blog about, so I apologize for being scarce.
Christmas somehow managed to come again and I somehow managed to get behind schedule again on my Christmassy doings – these cards need to go out pretty soon and as you can see they’re somewhat in the less-than-finished state.
In case the cards weren’t indication enough, I’ve still got Yellowstone on the brain. Although, I’ve got to say,what I’ve learned about winter in the park sort of takes the warm and fuzzy out of painting animals in the snow. Once you see a video of coyotes and wolves fighting over a frozen buffalo carcass in an ice river, there’s no going back – that’ll be my next Christmas card set. The carcass series.
I was organizing my old sketchbooks recently when I ran across some early sketches of this little baby crocodile I’ve been drawing for awhile -you may have seen him on the blog before, here.
The funny thing is that in my head, I’ve been drawing him the same all these years. But looking at my first sketches, the intermediate scribbles, and what I’ve been sketching recently – they’re all totally different. I can see my art evolving in front of me.
I thought it’d be fun to post a through-the-years look at my little croc.
These are the oldest sketches I’ve got – and the subsequent paintings that came out of them. I was super proud of the detail and rendering in these – now, looking at them, I can see I was overdoing it on the details to make up for wobbly anatomy. Whoops.
This marks the second round of sketches and illustrations – he’s getting a little more pulled together, a little more consistent.
And here he is at the present – and aren’t I a proud mama? I hope he keeps growing – who knows what he’ll look like next?
It’s Easter, therefore – bunnies.
And I know what some of you are thinking – “Jaimie, also…Jesus.”
And you’re absolutely right, but consider this: God made bunnies AND I am better at drawing them than Jesus.
Happy Easter, everyone!
Another page from Rosalie’s book. I mean from the dummy book – although “thieving from the cutting board while I’m trying to make dinner” is certainly a page in Rosalie’s book of tricks.
This month I’ve been working on getting together a new dummy book to send out – and at the risk of playing favorites and being a bad cat-mother, this one features my cat, Rosalie. The hard part about painting a subject that exists in real life is that occasionally, just when you think you’ve completed your painting, the subject herself will jump in your lap, curl onto her belly and reveal to you that you’ve recorded her tummy markings incorrectly. You’ll fix them, of course (for the sake of accuracy) only to be reminded on a separate occasion that you also misapplied the markings on her toes. Of course, it’s unreasonable to expect a cat to sit still long enough to actually model for her own picture, so you’ll have add those details in by memory.
Is it really there? Or is fear enough reason to run and hide?
Had a lot of fun with the details on this – the grass, the modeling on the rabbit’s face and ears, the shadows across his fur – but the bird shadow gave me trouble. It kept wanting to run into the line of the rabbit’s ear and confuse the shape of everything. But I think in the end I wrangled it well enough to get the idea across.
Well, I finally got it scanned. I had a lot a fun with the colors on this one, trying to take a rabbit’s natural coloring and push the saturation a bit. This is the first large scale acrylic illustration I’ve done in awhile – in some ways it proved easier and in some harder. The details were much quicker to add – I had fun with patterning the fur and ground textures, which is something I don’t think I would have though of if I was working in slow-drying oil. The fast dry time made me a little bolder, I think. Of course, it’s harder to get subtle gradations between colors and values – so a lot of those details were put in as a way to blend one area to the next more naturally. All in all, it was quicker and less fussy than oil, and I will definitely try it again. There are some more bunnies coming, too, so brace yourself for that.
Another start to a rabbit illustration to go with the first – I just can’t get enough of swirling grass. It’s satisfying to paint – very zen. I was out in the field once and a little vole hopped out of this little swirl in the grass and now I always watch for them in there. I don’t know if rabbits do the swirl thing with their nests – I tried to google it but a half hour later I was just looking at pictures of baby rabbits and I’d forgotten what I was looking for in the first place. That happens a lot.