Monday, October 03, 2011

How Would You Hibernate? - Illustration Friday

This week, the word challenge for 'Illustration Friday' was "Hibernate." In announcing the challenge, the host of the site provided this quote from Anais Nin: 

"You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death."

Hibernate detail
This is not how I picture hibernation. First of all, I don't think of it as a restless condition.  Restful, yes, but not restless. An absence of pleasure? I suppose that would be true if you define hibernation as withdrawing from life. My idea of hibernating is to stay in bed, which can be a most pleasurable thing to do, especially if one has a good stack of books at the bedside. I suppose my idea of hibernation is probably closer to the concept of cocooning. In other words, not going anywhere, staying inside surrounded by the things that comfort you. 

When I think of hibernation, I always think of bears. So, in my illustration I have depicted a bear, cozy in bed with a couple of stacks of books. He's not quite ready to hibernate yet, he wants to spend some time reading first. I've also given him a pal - down at the foot of the bed, is a little mouse with his own blanket and pillows and even his own books (see detail at right, click on images to see them larger).

I created this image in Corel Painter 12 and I worked in a slightly different manner than I have in the past. First of all, I spent more time on my pencil sketch. I did a number of sketches until I got the bear looking just right. Once I had the bear the way I wanted him to look, I tightened up the sketch and made a cleaner drawing. In the past, I've inked in my drawings, but this time I decided I would keep the sketch visible and not use any ink pens. Another thing I did that I don't usually do was to create selections so that I could paint in areas while protecting others. I created the selections by creating new alpha channels and painting the areas I wanted to protect in opaque white on the alpha channel.  Once I had the areas painted that I wanted to protect (think of this as applying a frisket mask to watercolor paper), it was easy to load and save these areas as selections. 

First sketch
Second Sketch
Third Sketch
Fourth Sketch
Fifth Sketch

Final Sketch

Starting to paint, I protected certain areas by using selections created from alpha channels

Screen shot showing selection
Almost done. I completed the illustration by adding some darks and some colored pencil details


  1. What a lovely image and thank you so much for sharing your 'work in progress'. I am just taking a 30 day trial of painter 12 with the view to buy but I think i may be already too used to photoshop... mind you I have only touched the tip of the iceberg with all that Painter offers (that might be half of the problem :))

  2. nice illustration Vincent, how are you liking painter 12? It crashes a lot for me. I'm still using it, but using photoshop too, more often than before.

  3. Great work, thank you for showing us your working process :)

  4. Great illustration, really glad you included the detail shot with the super cute little mouse, that is one of my favourite bits:)