Tag Archives: beasts

Aardvark and the Dandelion, for Monday Artday

Aardvark & the Dandelion Wine, 8.5 x 11, Copics with digital background

Why the Aardvark Has a Long Tongue.

A very, very long time ago, before humans destroyed the delicate balance of the Earth, there were many astounding biological innovations we can only imagine today.  One such innovator was the dandelion flower which grew its own spigot so that all the creatures of the forest could enjoy its spirited liquids. (Also dandelions were way bigger.)

The aardvark, a curious creature with claws made for digging and ears made for hearing, was one of the dandelion’s most ardent admirers. However, due to his oversized claws, he was unable to manipulate the delicate handles of the spigot. So the Earth did what she did best back then (before corporate “persons” bent her to their will and made her into a grotesque parody of herself). She gave the aardvark a long and agile tongue, well able to bypass the spigot mechanism within and enjoy a bounty of dandelion wine. (The aardvark also used his new tongue to hunt in termite mounds. But that came after, of course.)

This one is starting to look a bit glassy-eyed and might pass out soon. Which is good, otherwise he wouldn’t leave any for the next guy! This illustration was created for the “Drunk” topic at Monday Artday.

And now, a slideshow:

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Hooray for sticking with one color family! I did do a bit of extra correction in paint.NET, particularly closing the mouth partly and cleaning up a few messy spots. Most of the ink was done with a teeny 0.05 Copic multiliner, though I did go back at the very end and thicken some lines with a 0.2. Apparently I am on a bit of a kick with long-snouted creatures. This will come as no surprise to those folks who visited during my “big nose” phase which, now that I think of it, may not have been a phase at all.

If you get a moment, take a peek at Topsy-Turvy Trees, the illustration blog of Nei Hatsumi. I know there are a million art blogs out there, but she’s really great but little known, so I thought I would share. I think sharing contributes to a great community. :)

Thanks for stopping in!


Reference aardvark photo from ARKive. Reference dandelion photo from Paul Franklin.

Bilbies and the Corn Cob Pipe, for Illustration Friday

Bilbies and Corn Cob Pipe, Copic Markers, 9" x 6"

In exchange for keeping the cottage free of insects and slugs, Cachimbo* the Corncob Pipe Maker always left a row of fresh kernels on a new pipe as a treat for his friendly rare green bilbies. The mom, an 8-yr old named Daisy, always let the little ones go first. This little one is Jade. Her brother Jasper is napping at the moment after having spent the morning chasing down a spider. (He got it.)

Several missteps with this one. I mean really, a brown and pink pipe stem the same color as the floor? A bilby too close to the color of the wall? Yikes. I always think I know what colors I’m going to use, but then sometimes I get a wild hair and grab something different. Ah, well. My last post is a recent favorite, the Shrew Hare Urn, in case you missed it! (I stuck to my original colors and it worked out just like I hoped.)

Another slideshow with lots of sketches. You will see I tried a few different tacks with the color of the main bilby. I really should have stopped messing with it about step 12 or 13. And a better composition would put the baby facing in toward mom.  Next time! ;)

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Not going to bore you with details about the steps (but feel free to ask anything in the comments!) I will add more details for the next one I really like.

Thank you for visiting! You guys are the best.


*Cachimbo means “pipe” in Portuguese (according to an online dictionary).


Steampunk Wombat and Cat, Copic Markers

Steampunk Wombat and Peterbald Cat, Copic Markers 8.5 x 11

I wasn’t sure whether to call him Steampunk Wombat or Aviator Wombat. He has asked me repeatedly to simply call him Taz, his given name. (Actually, I wasn’t sure if I should even call him a wombat, since his appearance has strayed somewhat from species norms. But that’s ok.) Along with Taz today is his good friend Hastings, a reserved yet wily cat.

Because my last post’s piece suffered in the sketch stage, I have included some extra sketches. Here goes:

Steampunk Wombat Sketch 1

Mostly wombat shaped. Reference is an un-attributed photo on this page, which must be Australia’s version of the Franklin Mint.

Steampunk Wombat Sketch 2

A much-needed friend (adding interest to the composition, hooray!) Reference is Sir Mauri Vilendor, hailing from a Lithuanian Cattery. (Ah internet, what wonders you still hold!)

Steampunk Wombat Sketch 3

Now that’s a sketch. I decided against an ocular device obscuring one of the wombat’s eyes, and I didn’t leave enough room for a dandy-ish Victorian scarf or suit, so I went with aviator-ish goggles and a curious yet stylish pipe. Very happy with this sketch, I must say. Slowing down at the sketch phase = good. It also means the sketching takes all of one evening, leaving the rest for a subsequent evening.

Of course it also suggests that taking more days for sketching might be better still, but I must work up my patience slowly.

Steampunk Wombat Initial Ink

Recently I’ve been doing an initial ink in a color other than black. They smudge less when erasing pencil lines, for one thing! But they are also somewhat less final.

Steampunk Wombat Masquepen

Steampunk Wombat Color 1

Steampunk Wombat Color 2

Steampunk Wombat Color 3


Steampunk Wombat and Peterbald Cat

The background is white because I could not decide on a color. Probably peach or something dark. I did some digital backgrounds to test.

Aviator Wombat and Peterbald Cat Peach

Aviator Wombat and Peterbald Cat Purple

Leave it white? Any preference?

Oh also, new banner! Thank you so much for dropping in.


Cat Ship for Monday Artday

Flagship Nepeta Cataria, Copics with Digital Background

And so it was at Monday Artday that the bi-weekly word was “Flood”. I thought I would do a ship prepared for a flood. And then I started murmuring “cat ship” under my breath. And it sounded like catsup (also ketchup), but I did not care. I was going to put a crew of dogs on the cat ship, but in the end of course it was a cat ship. For cats, man.

It started with a cat.

Cat Sketch for Cat Ship

I did look at many cat and ship photos, but used no particular photo extensively. Along the way, these happened:

Cat Ship Sketches 2 & 3

Cat Ship Inked, Cat Ship Frisket

Cat Ship Progress, 3 & 4

Cat Ship Progress, 5 & 6

I could have stopped here. I thought about it. I’m not sure I have a handle yet on when to stop adding stuff. I think this is a common problem among artists, even ones much more experienced than me (of which there are many)! This may suggest I need to do some minimalist type beasts. (Perhaps a platypus, as suggested by Gay McKinnon!) Who knows what might happen!

Cat Ship Color, 7 & 8

I messed around with a lot of backgrounds before settling on, uh, more digital clouds. I need a new bag of tricks! Or maybe just one new trick. No, actually I am really pleased with the texture and color of the clouds in the final version. But I am a tad irritated they are digital and not Copic. Alas! I hope you enjoyed your tidbit of ancient cat history. Thank you so much for taking a peek!

Shouting Fox for “Vocal” at Illustration Friday

Shouting Fox, 8x10 Pen and Ink

Illustration Friday again! Hooray! This week the topic is “Vocal”. A couple more incarnations (in chronological order!):

Fortunately all three of these great quotes include the “AAAAAHHH” that makes it work with the wide open mouth.

When I read the topic for this week, I thought I would search yawning animal photos for ones that looked like they could be shouting. That led me to this great specimen:

The Ninety Degree Yawn by Andrew Salveson

Which led to these:

Shouting Fox Sketch

Shouting Fox Ink


Shouting Fox Frisket

Shouting Fox Color 2

Shouting Fox Color 3

Shouting Fox Color 4

I deliberately left a much finer outline than my normal, because I am usually too heavy on the outline. In this case instead of the 3.0 I probably could have gone with a 5.0 multiliner, but I decided to stop here. Of course the frame and text are digital, and the rest is Copic markers, multiliners and Micron fine liners. The font is Bolton Light.

Thank you for stopping in!

Re-Imagined Album Cover, Asia in Copic Markers

Re-Imagined Asia Cover, Copic Markers

It’s Re-Imagined Album Covers over at Monday Artday. My first thought was artist Roger Dean, because I like his strange creatures and alien landscapes, and I knew he’d done a boatload of album covers. I settled on this, Asia’s self-titled debut album, so I could do my first sea serpent. Thank you, Roger Dean!

Side by Side Asia Covers, Roger Dean and Cindy Dauer

I stopped short of a handmade font because I haven’t done many and I didn’t want to muck it up. I could have done it on a separate sheet but I felt like I’d taken this project as far as I was going to take it. The frame and font (Carmenta) were added digitally.

His name is Horace. If you want to know why he looks mildly irritated, it’s because the damn sea urchins get all camouflaged against the sea floor, and tickle poor Horace as he swims past. This usually causes him to shoot straight up out of the water and amuses the urchins very much. By the time he hits the top of the water he is no longer surprised, merely annoyed about forgetting to avoid the sea urchin bed again. I can’t give you any information about Roger Dean’s serpent, however. That one is a mystery.

And here’s how it went:

Re-Imagined Asia, Sketch

Re-Imagined Asia, Ink

Re-Imagined Asia, Frisket 1

Re-Imagined Asia, Color 2

Re-Imagined Asia, Color 3

I was really worried about the colors at this point. Too many colors! And the red planet idea was not so good. But it worked out.

Re-Imagined Asia, Detail 4

Re-Imagined Asia, Detail 5

Re-Imagined Asia Cover, Copic Markers

I wasn’t quite happy with the sky, or the planets, but decided to put down the pens at this point. I am pretty happy with doing something a bit outside my usual style. Not a ton outside, but a little. Thank you for visiting!


Stork and Chameleon for Illustration Friday

Stork and Chameleon 8x10 Copic Markers

She rather liked the company, if you want to know the truth. Other storks were so… tiresome, always talking about the latest bugs they ate, always trying to outdo each other. Lucille preferred to spend her days hunting for snacks and shiny objects in a plodding, unhurried manner. The chameleon was welcome to tag along, even if she had to pretend he wasn’t. In her mind she named him Douglas.

Swamp is the word at Illustration Friday. I believe I have veered somewhat from my normally goofy characters, though I suppose making them pink and purple helps. Considered adding leaves or plants, or some flying bugs, but didn’t want to busy it up too much. I am pretty pleased about the wood stork. Inspirational photo came from For the Love of Florida photography blog (last updated 2008!). Undecided about the color scheme. I was going to do a blue swamp, with only shades of blue, and you can see how that worked out.

And now, progress pics! By next time I may have figured out how to post a slideshow, which I think is a cooler way to view progress pics. No plans on videos though. But then again, I don’t own a cell phone. (Unless you count the pay-as-you-go one that has been sitting unused for eight months because I can’t be bothered to look up the code for adding minutes.)

Stork and Chameleon Sketch

Stork and Chameleon Ink

Stork and Chameleon Color 1

I thought this was pretty cool and I tried to decide whether to leave the trees or the animals white. But then I couldn’t do it. Arrgh!

Stork and Chameleon Color 2

(The eeek, why did I pick these colors stage!)

Stork and Chameleon Color 3

Stork and Chameleon Detail 1

Stork and Chameleon Detail 2

Thanks so much for visiting!

Miscalculation Leads to Llama-Cat, Copic Markers

Miscalculation Leads to Llama Cat, 8×10 Copic Markers

Miscalculation, for my second Monday Artday submission. My main regret with this is that I didn’t take the time to create some eye contact or other communication between Figgy and the Llama-Cat. Also, maybe there should be some indication of magic at the end of the wand. (I added some silly sparks digitally in a version at the end of this post.)

Figgy was captured here in a bit of a state of shock right after the event. You might expect the same of the Llama-Cat, but she didn’t seem very bothered. Of course it’s several months since the events pictured above, and the two are (usually) great friends, sharing a love of buttered croissants. Also repeated viewings of Milo and Otis.

Many work in progress pics:

Llama Cat Sketch


Llama Cat Ink

Llama Cat Color 1

Instead of my usual swirls, I kept the masquepen down the whole time and did messier swirls. I don’t love it as much as the kind with the curly-q ends but I am trying to expand my toolkit!

Llama Cat Color 2

Yes, this is the point where I say yack! These colors are not working! Mainly the clownish blue and green stripes on the robe. But I have learned to stay the course through these stages.

Llama Cat Color 3

Llama Cat Detail 1

Llama Cat Detail 2

Llama Cat Detail 3

Llama-Cat with Digital Sparks!

This was fun. More full figures (rather than heads only), a different color palette (for me), and some general silliness. Thanks for dropping in!

IF Shades, Wombat and Chihuahua

Wombat and Chihuahua Copic Ghosts

I’ve been meaning to do a wombat for ages! So my choices for Illustration Friday “shades” included – wombat with sunglasses (shades) or a wombat in front of window shades or in shades of a particular color, or a wombat ghost (shade). My first wombat is a wombat ghost! His name is Nigel. And he wouldn’t be complete if he weren’t haunting the place with his best friend Gabriel the Chihuahua (also a ghost).

Their friendship is a tale of incredible mystery and adventure, but we’ll have to save that for another time. Suffice it to say they met their untimely ends together during an escape attempt from a trio of American kidnappers in Venice sometime in 1974. They haunt the Venetian tavern where they lived with a quiet Irishman for  eight years after being won in a dice game from their former owner, a globetrotting Tasmanian.

I am not sure they look entirely like shades in the final above. But how about 2 scans ago:

Wombat and Chihuahua, Somewhat More Ghostly

I can’t decide which I prefer. The background is definitely unfinished in this one, but I could have left the critters alone. Let me show you the whole process:

Wombat and Chihuahua Sketch

Wombat and Chihuahua Color 1

Wombat and Chihuahua Frisket

On Nigel here I went over frisket with three shades of gray then peeled off the frisket. On Gabriel you can see the Masquepen (frisket) in blue, with no marker yet.

Wombat and Chihuahua Color 2

Gabriel colored with 2 grays and one gray-purple so the ghosts would not be quite the same color. I suppose I could have left the eyes white. That’s rather ghostly.

Wombat and Chihuahua, Somewhat More Ghostly

This would have been a stopping place for the figures, but the wall and tabletop need somehelp.

Wombat and Chihuahua Color 3

Wombat and Chihuahua Copic Ghosts

I don’t know, the more I look at them, the more ghostly they seem, though they did not need the extra thick black outline. I can say with certainty I have never drawn a wombat ghost, or any animal ghost, before this challenge. And though I do get a kick out of steampunk trend-wise, I don’t have much enthusiasm for the whole zombie thing. But ghosts, that’s totally different! Right? Thanks for coming!

Photo inspiration from Wombats! and Chihuahua Pictures.

Umbrella for Monday Artday with Copic Markers

Artemis Umbrella, 9" x 6" with Copic Markers

My first challenge for Monday Artday! The challenge: “Umbrella”. An interesting creature Artemis, and I do love the flowing locks of an Afghan Hound! But I wish I’d used a larger piece of Canson 150 lb. Fanboy Drawing Pad. See, I haven’t found smaller than a 9×12 pad and my scanner only does 8.5×11, so I have to choose between not scanning, cutting the paper down slightly and wasting the edges, or cutting it in half and doing two 9×12’s.

I have been doing Illustration Friday since October 23rd, 2011, and I could not love it more (I missed a few, as to be expected). Well actually, I could love it more if spammers didn’t link there but otherwise, it is such a great thing I can hardly stand it and I cannot thank Penelope Dullaghan enough for creating it.

However, in my continuing quest to DO LOTS OF ART, I have been looking for another challenge in case I need a content nudge between each IF topic (as my goal is 2-3 new art posts per week). With all my bouncing around to the hundreds of artists at IF and their favorite links, I ran across Monday Artday a few times, and finally took the plunge.

In any case, here are some Artemis Umbrella progress shots:

Artemis Umbrella, progress sketch & frisket

Artemis Umbrella, color 1 and 2

Artemis Umbrella, 9" x 6" Copic Markers

Some things I like (she was too small to go overboard with detailing), and some less so (her right arm is odd and the angle of the umbrella/parasol is off and the cropping is not ideal). But otherwise not too bad. I didn’t mess with the background after peeling the frisket. Oh! I used a masquepen recommended by Mardi Speth and holy cow, so much better than a brush or other struggle. Thank you, Mardi!

Thanks for stopping by! (Tactful) criticism always welcome!