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Practice Early, Practice Often

I've plotted out the all ages book I have planned for next year and am reasonably happy with the direction its heading.  I've been working little by little on the main character designs for months now.  Recently it dawned on me that the majority of this book is going to be taking place in an African wilderness type setting and there are a lot of animals showing up in the book.  It would be in my best interest to start practicing how to draw some of these animals.

I've filled a page up with lions and a page of bongos so far, and I plan to do at least a page for every other animal that shows up in the book.  Animals like the lions and bongos I'm starting to doodle at school and in the margins of everything because they're going to be coming up a lot.  I want this to be my best pencilled piece to date and so I need to make sure I'm comfortable with not just the main characters but all the other parts of the environment as well.  My biggest artistic focus for this project will be creating a believable setting.  The animals are going to be a big part of that.

I'm happier with the lions at this point, but I was probably more aware of their appearance going into these exercises.  I've just been image searching the animals and doing quick sketches from as many different references as I can.  My hope is that by drawing what I see over and over I'll begin to work out the patterns that make an animal look like a lion (or whatever the animal in question may be).  I want to be comfortable enough with their shapes that I can caricaturize them in the actual book and keep my animated style without sacrificing too much in the way of structural accuracy.

And as an aside, the scanner seemed really weird as I was getting these pictures for the Curve.  Hope that's nothing.

- Jon O

Reader Comments (2)

Jon, I love the new ideas. Keep em coming. I just wanted to compliment your charcoal animals, i think. Anyways, love the way the lines differ. They speak to you more. You should try to incorporate this medium in a short story.
Lata gator

December 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKara J

Thanks Kara! I've been having a blast with the animals, and you're totally right about needing to experiment more with my art when I'm trying to tell a story.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon O

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