For this installment post of the Endangered Kingdom meets Splotch Monster Island series, I thought I'd also do a simple sneak peek into the process behind the creation of one of these pieces. In this case, I'm focusing on the Addax. The image above is the final product, though it could still use some cleaning up in Photoshop. Anyhow, the images below show the sequential order of the process, beginning with the first steps and ending with the final touches.
1. I began by looking at multiple images of the Addax online, merging several poses and angles to get the desired presentation of the animal. It's important to note that I also had to sort through some papers with pre-made watercolor paint splotches beforehand, after finding one that I wanted to work with, then decide on a good angle for the paper. Making art is all about making many decisions, usually many little important ones that contribute, in the end, to a greater whole. I liked how there seemed to be a ledge, or a cliff on the orange, center splotch, and I could imagine an Addax standing on it in some way. I also included the materials I used to draw and add color with as well, in each shot. In this case, a regular number two pencil and pink eraser were all that I needed.
2. Next, I traced over my pencil lines in ink, using black Sakura Pigma Micron pens, first going over it all in a 01 thickness, then an 05 to trace the contour edge, or shape of the Addax. This is a consistent method I've been using since I first began this series. Finally, I erased any remaining, visible pencil lines gently, using a pink, rubber eraser.
3. Now it's time to bring out the color. Since the Addax has a lot of off-white, I had to compensate by using similar tones, layering colors from light, to dark, only adding color subtly in areas that needed an accent. The face and neck region of the beast was where the most color was needed. I used Prismacolor markers, Faber Castell gray-tone brush pens, and Chromatix acid-free colored markers on the Addax. None of these materials are cheap, so it's good to subscribe to shops' mailing lists. For instance, I got the Faber Castell markers with an online Michaels coupon, for half off. The Chromatix were a bargain find at the local Marshalls, again, for half the price, and I love them. Just keep those eyes open and pay attention to these things. It pays off in the end.
4. Now the fun's just getting started. As always, I have virtually not a clue as to what a Splotch Monster will look like other than its basic form. I look at it and simply take it from there. I liked how the two lines shooting out from the top of the orange splotch mirroed the antlers of the Addax, so I decided to go with something like an alienish antelope. Adding things like spots and stripes to Splotch Monsters not only add more visual interest, but also emphasize the edges of things, such as limbs, or body contours.
5. Once I complete one Splotch Monster on a piece of paper, I'll riff off of the first one and go from there. In this case, as with all the animals I've worked on in this series, I really wanted the Addax to interact in some way with the creatures in the image. One of the ways that's happening is by having the beast stand on the big orange monster. Still, how else could the Addax be more a part of the scene here? Well, sometimes a little bit of humor can go a long way, and I decided to make the blue splotch into a character with green grass growing from its head, much to our endangered friend's delight. You can see the expression on the blue one's face in a profile view, and can tell he's not exactly happy with the situation, but is begrudgingly going along with it all anyway.
6. Finally I made the yellow one completely alien-like, with four buggish eyes and three golden, wiggly arms. Still, there is a human-like quality to the creature, as it stands there at the left-hand side of the image, surprised at the complete audacity of the Addax grazing the grassy hair of our bemused blue friend. One of the things I do before I call an image finished, is I stop, take a breather, maybe walk away for a minute or two, then come back to see if it needs anything else. Most of the time, as in the case with this one, it most certainly does, and while at first I thought this last image (above) was finished, there were definitely more than a few final touches that I added, which made a big difference in the end (see the uppermost image).
In the meantime, you can see the Endangered Kingdom version HERE.