Thursday, March 27, 2014

Personal work: What Real Wolves

Ok, I can already feel my parents getting nervous over this one, so let me just say: this is not autobiographical.

It seems to me that there's some unspoken rule that every illustrator must have at least one Little Red Riding Hood drawing. So here's mine. I tried to get away from the cliche depictions of LRRH, although I'm sure I'm not the first to put her in a hoodie.

This is just one of those compositions that popped into my head and I got started before I could talk myself out of it. I drew exactly three thumbnails.

Three. Don't be like me, kids. Draw more thumbnails. Next I took a quick photo reference.

Sadly I completely forgot to take any in-progress shots of this illustration. Here's the almost-finished version I had yesterday:

I really struggled with drawing the wolf's claws, because wolf paws on their own don't really look menacing. So I looked at drawings of werewolves and rat paws. (gross)

At this point, it occurred to me, "does this wolf in a suit look silly instead of sinister?" Nervous, I posted the piece on Deviantart, asking for opinions. I quickly received some insightful comments. People suggested increasing the dimpling of the sweatshirt fabric underneath the claws, to make it look more like he was gripping her. Also, to make the wolf a lot more beefy looking, to lower his head and lengthen his muzzle, "so that it looks more like a beast is wearing the suit and less like a wolf head placed on top of a man's body."

In other words: the painting was strong in my strong areas (drawing girls) but weak in my weak areas (drawing scary things). 

Sometimes I know that, but I still need someone to point it out to me.

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