Saturday, September 30, 2017

Meanwhile, at Alaskaland

A recent commission for a local theatrical production, Meanwhile In Alaskaland:
Meanwhile, in ALASKALAND... is a themed, LIVE storytelling show and fundraiser in Fairbanks. We help bond our community through shared tales of real life in Alaska. Stories are selected in advance from our audition opportunity night or by appointment. In addition to being a fun way to spend a Friday night, you’re helping raise funds for a local charity associated with our theme.

The non-profit selected as a recipient for the month's theme of "animals in Alaska" will be Loving Companions Inc., a local animal rescue group.

Going with the theme of both storytelling + critters, my idea was for a group of regional-specific animals gathered around listening to someone with a tail. The above image is a snapshot taken after a quick concept sketch (done while on a short break at work) so as to get a thumbs paws-up from the client.

The pencil stayed fairly true to the initial doodle, with the exception of swapping out and shifting around a couple species. I personally like the fact that the cat is the only one with his back turned to the viewer, which is commonly exhibited behavior familiar to any cat-person.

A common question I'm asked when doing public demos + show & tells is how long it takes me to do a drawing, and that's always a hard one to answer as the overall process is spread out not only over time but shuffled amidst a constant flow of other projects in the proverbial pipeline. But this one happened in relative isolation, as a priority job, and I did keep an eye on the clock as it were while at least inking the piece: 20 minutes at the most (according to the iTunes soundtrack going in the background). Add to that another ten minutes for the sketch, ten minutes for the pencil and half hour scan/cleanup/shade, plus maybe around another hour spent manipulating the banner text (both my cartoony one and the group's stylized font) and upload time, the whole gig ran just over a couple hours total.

There was a slight amount of tweaking after the scan - most telling in the cat's tail over the beaver's foot, which was a domino effect following the resizing of the cat on the horizontal axis, which allowed for pulling the bird out away from behind the beaver nose (got a little cramped up compositionally at that particular point). Which demonstrate how, in the words of John Muir, it's all interconnected:
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."

And hey whattaya know, I'm still struggling with damned porcupines. Even after the previous couple of renderings (documented processes here and here) they still come out looking either like a mutant hedgehog or some miscellaneous and mysterious rodent. Hence the seperate study (also done while on a short break at work at The Day Job), and some playing around with on-hand office supplies (scented markers... mmm).

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