Monday, September 20, 2010

Illustration Friday - Acrobat

 "Acrobat" was the 'Illustration Friday' word this week and I knew from the start that I wanted to do something with animals. At first I thought of doing some sort of animal circus, but since I've been reading up on dog training, I instead decided to go with an all dog acrobat troupe. The first sketch that I did showed several dogs performing various tricks - balancing on a ball, tightrope walking, and doing front paw-stands, but at the time I made this sketch, I had just watched Disney's Dumbo and I love the scene with the pyramid of elephants, so I decided to do a new sketch, this time a dog pyramid. You can see my first two sketches below. On the right are the dogs performing various acrobatic tricks and on the right is the original version of the dog pyramid. I scanned this second sketch and then, feeling that the pyramid was too narrow and columnar in shape, I did a new sketch, adding some additional dogs and spreading them out a bit.

To the left, you can see my new sketch, with an early treatment of the sky in the background.
Since I was coloring the image using digital watercolor, I needed to erase the areas of sky behind the dogs, otherwise they would show through the coloring on the dogs. In this screen shot, I've begun to erase the background sky areas.

In this screen shot, I've begun to add color to the dogs. You can still see my digital pencil sketch, which I had on a separate layer.

In the left image, I've inked the dogs, using Painter's leaky pen brush. When I got to the stage that you see in the above right image, I thought I was finished, but as I looked at the image again, I realized I wasn't happy with the sky. There was too much green in it and I didn't like the cloud behind the little dog at the very top, holding the pennant. I thought he might stand out more, if he were standing against a darker sky. I also felt that the grass under the ball should be darker. The very last thing I decided to do was to give the dogs an audience, a little kitten, looking perplexed at their silly antics.
The finished illustration - "The Acrobats"


  1. I like the beagle-ish dog best.

  2. I really like your illustration! Great sense of balance and grace :)

  3. Heisann!
    A solid work from your hand. It has humor and elegance ;:OD)
    Have a nice week...

  4. This is very cool, I like all the different breeds.

  5. OK, this is great work you have done. The colors are perfect and so much fun and balance going on here. Great..

  6. Really great Vincent, my favourite is the dog who has just escaped getting a paw in his eye:)

  7. This is a wonderful bunch of acrobats! They make me smile, just like a trip to the dog park! :o)