Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Illustration Friday - Winter

This week's word for the 'Illustration Friday' challenge was "Winter."  It seems an appropriate word for the wintry weather we've been having here in Indiana.  Christmas eve brought us another inch of snow on top of the six inches that were already on the ground.  The snow is beautiful, but it does make getting out and about a bit of a chore. One of those things that has become more difficult is walking the dog. Our dog, Poppy, doesn't seem to mind the snow, but for some reason, when there is snow on the ground she tends to pull harder on her leash, walk faster and zig-zag back and forth. I think the snow must somehow change the way the scents linger on the ground.  Either they're better preserved and she's getting a smell overload, or they are dampened down and she is having trouble picking up their trail.

One thing that she doesn't have trouble spotting or sniffing out are the squirrels and we have them all over our neighborhood and in the nearby park.  Whenever she sees one, she slows to a stop and stares for a moment before she slowly and stealthily begins to stalk it. If the squirrel makes a dash for a tree, then Poppy will lunge after it dragging me along with her. Because I witness this repeated on nearly every walk, I decided to do a comic scene of a dog chasing a squirrel down a snowy mountainside, only this squirrel has the advantage of being on skis.

I made several sketches before I arrived at something I was at all happy with.  I had trouble getting the squirrel the way I wanted him.  The first attempt didn't even look very squirrel like. He looked like some sort of a cat / squirrel mutant hybrid.

The next squirrel was better, but he appeared to be going to much off to the side.

Here is the final sketch that I ended up working from. The main difference is that I brought the squirrel over more toward the center and opened up his legs more and made his skis point toward one another.  I still wasn't 100 percent happy with him, but I had already spent more time than I wanted on it, so this one is what I went with.

Here is a screen shot where I'm working on the fur texture on his face. The image was created in Corel Painter and I primarily used the gouache brushes, a few of the chalks and pastels for texture along with some of the sponges. In the final stage, I added some detail with a leaky pen brush.

The background was heavily influenced by a background I saw in a "Casper the Friendly Ghost" cartoon which I had recently watched (yes, I still watch cartoons!).


  1. Enchanting! So well done.
    We got a lot of snow in Pennsylvania too.
    Winter has just begun!

  2. Very nice! I love how you included the process :)

  3. interesting process and great final pic.
    Have a happy new year :)

  4. nice work Vincent, love the jutting line along the slope

  5. I love the final illustration-but it was really so fun to see the process too. Thanks for sharing!! Your drawing makes winter look like fun! SO colorful and lively-when I always think of winter as drab and dark--well done!!