March 3rd Thursday - The Mutant Flamingo

  • SVS OG

    I really like the prompt for this month's 3rd Thurs 🙂 A chance to make us draw people and a school setting, always handy for the portfolio...

    My idea is a little crazy, but here goes...the story is that Haven is the daughter of two biologists who work at a lab where they are trying to bring back extinct animals through DNA splicing. This time they tried to bring back the dodo by using flamingo DNA to fill in the gaps in the genome, but unfortunately it didn't work out...however Haven is keen to show off what her parents have created 🙂

    When I first started drawing I really wanted Haven to have a falconer's glove to hold the bird, to show that she knows what she's doing...but once I did it it didn't look quite right...difficult to get the glove to read, but also the bird looked far too heavy for Haven to hold:


    So instead I gave her a motorised bird-perch:


    And here is the value study:


    Does anyone have any suggestions before I take it any further? Any critique welcome 🙂

  • Great idea!

    Love the drawing, the perspective you chose (low point of view) and the characters. You also have a good variation of small-medium-large shapes.

    Maybe you could add a couple of elements to indicate that they are in a classroom or in the school ? Just very simple prompts, e.g. a blackboard, a few desk... Or if they are in the school yard, maybe a fence or a schoolbus in the background ? It would also create overlap and add depth to your image

    Also, the contrast is very similar on all your characters... maybe you should try to increase the contrast on Haven and the bird and decrease it on the other kids and the teacher to have a clearer focal point. I don't know if you have watched @will-terry creative composition class yet but they really insist on contrast being one of the most powerful way to create a strong focal point

    I hope this helps! It's a really great start!

    Hope it helps!

  • SVS OG

    @NoWayMe Glad you like it! Thanks for your thoughts....yes that's a really good point to increase the contrast at the focal points, I think I'll make Haven's dress a little darker in value and try and find other things too. The flamingo is going to be a big pink thing so hopefully in the colour version it should stand out okay 😉

    I haven't watched the composition class, it's on my to-do list and looks very helpful...

    Also a good suggestion to have a few elements to make it more like a school location...originally it was going to be in the corridor as Haven walked into class, but having done it I think it looks like it could be the I think I'll try a suggestion of a fence and maybe some chalk on the ground, something like that.

    Thanks again for the suggestions!

  • The value sketch really made it "pop." Cool idea!

  • Also, I think your bird perch was a strong change.

  • @Dulcie
    I did a value draw over. This is how I would push it to really make the bird and girl stick out.
    b n w.jpg

  • @Dulcie really like this idea and the flamingo is great! I also like the detail of the teacher dropping her book .

  • I think it's really cool - great idea! I would keep the teacher as part of the main focus as I think her reaction is an important part of the story. Good luck! X

  • SVS OG

    @Carrie Thank you!

    @Katrina-Fowler Thanks very much for taking the time to do a draw over! Yes I think you're absolutely right that I should vary the values much more to make Haven stand out, I've done my best to work that in and will see if they need tweaking more once I get to the final piece.

    @Naroth-Kean Thank you glad you like it 🙂

    @jacs Thank you! I agree that the teacher's reaction is an important part, I'll keep her as part of the main action.

    Here is an updated value sketch...I'll see if the values need tweaking again once I get to the final piece, because flamingo pink is quite an attention-grabbing colour... @NoWayMe I'll try to add more school detail in the final piece, not forgotten that 🙂


    And here's a colour study...trying to get the palette tied down before going traditional...


    I don't plan to keep the linework like this, I'd like to replace most of it with the next step is to re-do it in watercolour...

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    Just a thought when I look at it is to have the one head coming down and the little boy in the right corner feeding him the sandwich. The middle head is looking at nothing, maybe bring the stare down to the teacher as well? i do like the muted colors so far.

  • @Chip-Valecek Great points! The bird eating the chubby kid's sandwich... I love it!

  • @Dulcie I love the palette! Glad to hear you will do this one in watercolor! I will do mine in soft pastels this month!

  • SVS OG

    @Chip-Valecek Thanks for the suggestion! I like the idea of the flamingo coveting the sandwich...not sure I can have him reach down that far without having to do a total re-draw..but I will see if I can work in the idea maybe it's licking its lips and looking like it's about to snatch the sandwich in the next scene...

    @NoWayMe Sounds great! Will look forward to seeing how yours turns out 🙂

  • Drawing three headed animals is not easy. The last head on the left seems disconnected. Making it look like is part of the main trunk is essential to give it that look. If I were you revisiting this are will be a good move, try even removing the left head completely.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks @sam-marrero for your thoughts, I'll see if I can improve that part..

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    Here's where I'm at now...running out of time to do any more, but nevertheless would be grateful for any suggestions!

    @NoWayMe I tried adding a playground fence in the background, but it looked messy the way I did it. So I added some hopscotch in chalk on the ground instead. Ideally I'd do more to enhance the environment, but I'm not sure how. @Chip-Valecek I tried to make the flamingo look a little more hungry for the sandwich, like maybe it's about to snap at it.


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @Dulcie thats great, I love the brushes you are using as well. Did you create them?

  • SVS OG

    Thanks @Chip-Valecek, this was a mix of traditional and digital - the texture on the characters comes mainly from acrylic inks used watercolour-style, but then I used Kyle's Real Watercolour brushes for the background and details 🙂

  • love your style! what a great mix of traditional and digital.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks @drawanyways! Very kind of you...I was trying to 'find' my style a bit more in this piece, so it's great that you like it 🙂

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