Saturday, March 1, 2014

High Society Grizzly

I just started taking an awesome online art class by a guy who used to work for Disney.  Chris Oatley is the instructor and it's very inexpensive.  Check it out here: Chris Oatley's Magic Box.  He's also got a lot of inspiring podcasts.  The guy is so positive that I'll turn the podcasts on just to brighten my day sometimes.  Anyway, our first assignment is to choose a famous portrait (I chose Lord Ribblesdale by John Singer Sargent) and draw an animal in the fancy portrait clothing.  First, we sketch lots of reference photos to understand the anatomy of the animal.  Then comes the character sketches.  Finally, we do some color comps.  The first color scheme is taken directly from the original portrait, then we experiment.

At first, I sketched a cartoon bear in the exact same position as Lord Ribblesdale.  To me, it was okay, but I wanted to add more story and more fancy stuff to the bear, so that's what I ended up with on the right.  My classmates liked the last version, so I started painting.

I let my imagination run a little bit wild here.  I wanted to tell more story instead of just having the bear looking at his watch for no real purpose.  I got to the point of Smokey the Bear's Evil Brother, where I imagined my diabolical bear, backlit by a campfire, lighting up his cigarette and then getting ready to drop his match in the dry brush below.  Some day, I think I will finish the Evil Bear picture, but when I got feedback from my class, and then watched another online tutorial, I discovered I was kind of doing the assignment wrong.  It was a hard decision, but I decided to scrap this direction and start over.

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