August 3rd Thursday

  • SVS OG

    I think I’m ready to actually post something on this now… First off, really love this brief! I flipping well love character designing so this is a lot of fun (though still not easy)

    I haven’t gone for a particular ‘theme’ for my set so far…though I was very tempted to go down a Victorian London route, a bit vintage steampunk…and I could still go there, since what I’ve done so far are mostly animals which could be any time period.. …this is just my instinctive reaction to the brief so far.


    Some thoughts on the characters…

    Scarecrow - for my scarecrow I imagined him a bit like an aristocrat crossed with a tramp…the straw bits poking out reminded me a bit like frills, so I took that and ran with it. So he’s meant to be a contradiction, looking slightly fancy but messy.

    Cowardly Lion - I had a dog once which was huge but a big wimp. I pictured the Lion as a bit like a massive Golden Retriever… I know he’s meant to be brave really, but at the moment he definitely doesn’t realise it.

    Kalidah - I read Lee’s link to the various character descriptions here: …and oh my goodness how could I turn down the idea of drawing a bear crossed with a tiger!?! I had to try this…though actually I’m the least satisfied with this one, l should probably re-draw.

    Flying Monkey - I drew this one first, loved the idea of drawing this. I pictured this monkey as having a bit of gargoyle and chimpanzee in him, possibly a bit of vulture too.

    So there we go - any critique or suggestions would be very welcome!

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    Really like the flying monkey design. I know its still a sketch but the I had a hard time reading that the Lions paw was on the side of his face at first. I think it may be the tangent of the top of head and top of paw.

  • I do really like your twist on the flying monkey with the gargoyle and love the idea of you pushing this into a specific era/time... although I think Gargoyles would be more medieval rather than victorian, but fun nonetheless. The cowardly lion and the monkey are in a very similar posture and shape/size, so I would try and adjust that slightly, maybe even by opening the wings more like he is about to take flight. Good start - looking forward to seeing more. 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @Chip-Valecek Thanks very much for the feedback! I will try and improve the lion, I might change the pose completely, I wasn't completely satisfied with the three-legged look it had. Will see what works...

    @Lisa-M-Griffin Thank you for your thoughts! I think I will adjust the lion first since that one seems to have more issues to fix. Yes I'm thinking of whether to do some more of the humans, eg Dorothy, coming from Victorian era London...Trafalagar Square has huge lion statues that I thought could tie in well.

    I did a new Kalidah sketch, because looking back I really don't think I hit the spot with the first one:


  • SVS OG

    I added a Dorothy to my line-up....I looked at Victorian clothing reference and tried to make it different, though it's come out kinda conventional Dorothy with the braided hair and ribbons. I'll give it some simmering time and have a think... the end I'll have to do an X-Factor job and eliminate the worst character to create the final four 🙂 I still need to try and improve lion and scarecrow...


  • SVS OG

    I'd like to ask you all for some help in deciding which characters to take forward...I've done a couple of options for Dorothy and Scarecrow and updated the lion, hopefully to make his paw position a little clearer (not had quite enough time to re-sketch him yet...)

    I can take forward two of these sketches to join the others - which ones should I choose? (any other critique/suggestions welcome as always)



  • Pro SVS OG

    All options are very nice, but if I would personally choose number 1 for Dorothy and number 5 (with modifications) for the scarecrow. The second Dorothy looks like she is carrying a basket of laundry, which is a bit puzzling. I like the dog peeking up from behind her, though if you use that pose for the dog you would need to find something for Dorothy's hands to do that makes sense with the story or gives an appealing silhouette.
    I like the interaction with the bird for the scarecrow, but his other arm gets lost over the figure. Maybe you could bring it out like in the other version, for better readability?
    Great job overall, and looking forward to the final!

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli Thanks so much for the feedback! That's really helpful. I thought #2 Dorothy might not make sense on its own... I was originally inspired by this reference picture (because I loved the tall lace-up boots!) ...I did #1 Dorothy but then wondered if she was too cute/not different enough. So I wondered if I could do a scruffier Victorian Dorothy, who's been put to doing work, and I wondered if a wicker basket of laundry might fit. But obviously it didn't quite come across (and maybe I should just keep it simple)

    I will try and modify #5 Scarecrow to make the silhouette better... Thanks again for your thoughts!


  • SVS OG

    Here's where I am now......For once I did the colour stage entirely digitally, as an exercise to see if I could apply whatever I learned from copying Benji Davies' work recently.. I feel like I know the dry media digital a bit better now. Also loving that I discovered the pastels! That might be worth it on its own. But doing the fur on the tiger digitally...that was frustrating (and took a long time, I re-painted the whole tiger as the first time didn't go so well)

    So it's pretty much finished - but if anyone has any suggestions to improve it would love to hear!


  • Pro SVS OG

    This is looking very good, and, although I prefer your traditional work, it is a good take on digital too! Fur is challenging and, even though I used to have a solid process for it, I found out that I have forgotten most of it because it was (is) so complicated! What helped me this time round is looking up a lot of Zootopia art. In the renders I liked best, the artist mainly painted the shapes as if they were not furry, and then just added a minimal suggestion of fur on top of the volumes - very simple and very effective.
    One simple suggestion here could be to add a slight gradient to the background, from dark on top to light on bottom. It is done a lot in character lineups, to give a suggestion of spotlight and make the characters pop more. Also maybe you could refine the folds on the scarecrow's pants - they do not seem to fully describe the volume below.
    But overall it is a very nice piece, and full of charm!

  • @Dulcie really like that scarecrow! amazing good luck

  • SVS OG

    @thuraya! Thanks so much, glad you like it!

    @smceccarelli Thank you so much for those suggestions - really helpful! I added a gradient, hadn't seen that idea on a character lineup before, but I'm really pleased you suggested it. I worked on the scarecrow's jeans, you were quite right about that... (fabric folds are definitely something I want to improve) ..still not happy with that bit though.

    Oh I want to get the Zootopia art book sometime, it's on my wish list and I've seen some lovely work already from that film. The first time I did the tiger, I did lots of lines and it was just not good. Then I remembered someone here saying to paint fur like smoke, paint it in clumps...thinking that way helped a lot better. The fur on your monkey looked so soft and real yet not overdone, so your minimal suggestion of fur method worked really well (I will try that next time!)

    Yeah I think I'll go back to my 'usual' traditional/digital hybrid method next month (not sure I have a 'usual' yet but that is closest to it). But on the plus side, I'm pleased to have made a piece that I don't hate! 🙂

    Here's the final:


  • SVS OG

    @Dulcie Beautiful work as always Dulcie. I really enjoy your color palette and the way you have handled the lighting here. It's very pretty and has a modern yet old fashioned feel that I find very comforting and appealing!

  • SVS OG

    Ah @Rich-Green that's a really lovely comment - thank you. I love the idea of making things that look old-but-new, mixing things up a bit, so I'm really pleased that some of that comes across.

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