Safari Family Photo – Process part 2

This took a little longer than anticipated, but it’s finally finished! So… the final part of the process is by far and away the longest and most tedious. I can kind of switch off my brain a little bit here and just settle in for the long haul. I’m adding contact shadow, detail (like giraffe patterning and cheetah spots), light and occlusion (for volume), and texture. I use line work very sparingly here – usually only for facial features and defining areas that might otherwise lost.

From a compositional standpoint a couple characters had to be adjusted here and there. The painted dog had to be shifted because it’s dark colouring blended in too much with buffalo, but luckily I was able to swap her out with the meerkats. The secretary bird’s look also had to change because… well, it was crap and I didn’t use enough reference for the initial sketch. I also reduced the size of the iguana because it was originally almost as big as the dragons from Game of Thrones.

So that’s it! Hope you enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed working on it!

Safari Family Photo – Process part 1

This isn’t finished yet (maybe tomorrow), but I wanted to post up the work-in-progress to show the general process of how I work and how much things can change from the original idea.

I almost always start with a rough pencil drawing (left) – this can take a few tries, but the sketch is only small, hence why we call it a “thumbnail”. These type of drawings should only take a couple of minutes and often they are barely comprehensible to anyone but the artist drawing them.

The second stage shown here (top right) is just an expansion of the original pencil sketch, but done digitally and more refined. Personally, I move quickly to digital because it is far more forgiving than traditional media for erasing and changing things – again I can be super loose here, sometimes expressing characters as simple shapes that get tightened up as I progress. The original image was pretty similar to the thumbnail sketch, but then I added the cheetah and the water buffalo… and then I got carried away and made things difficult for myself… Anyway, because things became more complex I had to balance the composition. The Lion is central, while the giraffe splits the image diagonally. Either side of the diagonal are five animals, not including the lion and giraffe.

Once the overall composition is complete it’s time to add colour. I tend to use blocks of colour first to get the basic shapes of the characters down and then after that I go in with a different value (tone/shade) and a textured brush to give the basic colour some variation.

I’ll post the rest of the process tomorrow… see you then!