Walking my dog, I see lots of squirrels. My dog has a squirrel obsession, so we often end up following them. I would never let my dog catch a squirrel (at least not intentionally) but I do let her 'be a dog,' and engage in her instincts by allowing her to track them up into a tree. Once the squirrels are safely sitting in the trees above us, my dog is perfectly content to sit beneath the tree and stare up at them for as long as I will allow her to do so. Some of the squirrels are quite brave and will climb part way back down the tree to check us out. I always have my camera with me so while my dog is fixated on the squirrel, I try and take pictures of them.
One thing I notice while standing under the squirrel-laden trees is how many acorns and leaves are scattered about on the lawn. So, when I read that this week's 'Illustration Friday' challenge was the word "Scattered," I decided to do something with squirrels and scattered acorns.
I started out by doing some sketches based on a couple of the squirrel photos I had taken. At this point I wasn't sure in what direction I was going to take this image, but I kept sketching. As I worked on it, I decided I would do an image of a mother squirrel who has discovered that her son has scattered their acorns all over the floor of their den.
I finally decided I would put clothes on the squirrels. You can see at this stage I also decided to change the position of the mother squirrel's arms.
I thought the female squirrel looked too young and not at all like the mother of the other one, so in order to age her, I gave her a few extra pounds and put her in an apron.
At this point, it was just a matter of shading things in. I created the image entirely in Corel Painter 12. For the most part I used the 'Real 2B Pencil' brush, but for the background, which I created on a separate layer, I used the 'Real Sumi-e Wet Brush.'
I decided that I wanted to make the mother appear to be backlit so I added another layer and created some darker shading. Once I had the shading the way I wanted it, I collapsed the various layers I had created so that it would be easier to do blending and smoothing out of the overall image.