WIP: Knight Bus Catbus mashup

  • SVS OG

    Recently Harry Potter and Studio Ghibli were in my head, and I got inspired to make a triple-decker purple tiger Catbus. Here's my sketch with some initial values. I imagine the light from the open door of the catbus will illuminate the kid and dog. I think there's potential here, but I'm struggling with where the painting will take place (a secluded area, or a town? Right now it looks like a canyon lol)

    I've spent the last 3 days tinkering with the idea, and could use some fresh eyes to help me make it better! Help appreciated!


  • @carriecopa
    It's looking very cute!

    With the bus so tall, it makes me think it could work to change it to a turtle or camel instead, although that would also take it further from Catbus. An elephant bus could be fun, too.

    Well, the Knight Bus and Catbus are both capable of showing up practically anywhere!
    You could also leave out the background and just focus on the characters.

    "You should have a reason for every element in your image. [If] your background doesn't help tell the story I think it's actually a distraction." "Creating a vignette allows the viewer to fill in the blank." - Will Terry

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a background--just that you don't necessarily need one. It could be nice either way.

    You could let the wavy line be trees and bushes and the area above it be the sky. That would help establish that it's night-time.

    Think about who the kid & dog are to help determine the location. Why do they need the bus (rather than other transportation)? Why don't they have an adult to help them? Where are they going? Why do they need to go somewhere ...at all? ...at night? How did they get to where they are now?

    I wonder if you can rotate the kid a little, so you can show some of the face & be able to see their expression. Are they excited, worried, determined, etc.?

    I think this will turn out to be a fun piece.

  • SVS OG

    @miriam Thanks for the insight! After I posted this, I did some exercise (I like to jog in place while I watch Netflix so I can get my steps in for the day) and mentally took a break from the project for a bit while I waited for a response. So OF COURSE that's when I'm inspired! Then I read your post and it all came together into a new composition.

    I normally do vignettes so this is a challenge to create a full scene. I probably should have started with figuring out the setting though, instead of focusing on the character then try to mash them into a background. I know I heard those wise words in one of the SVS videos.

    Thanks for throwing out the idea to change the animal. This is a personal project, I don't have to stick to any rules, even if it did start out as a mashup idea. So my thinking went: knight bus - catbus - triple-decker-cat - triple-decker dog? - The Triple Decker Dog, Dare!

    Here's my new sketch. The original was going for more of a "quiet" scene at night, the start of an adventure. This one is right in the action during the day. I'm picturing a San Fransokyo-like street with pink cherry trees.


  • @carriecopa
    You're right, it has a completely different feel now! I'm glad you were able to figure it out. I love the new environment, it looks great!

  • @carriecopa
    I know this is just the first sketch, so you may be working on this already, but the dog doesn't look as incorporated into the bus as the tiger did. It seems to be sitting on top of the dog more than being part of him. I was comparing the two and trying to figure out what it was, and I think it's mostly the position of the head. The ears come up to a similar place, but if you look at the size and position of the head itself, you can see that the dogs head is much lower, smaller, and comes out and away from the body of the bus, where the tiger's head is more attached to the bus. Also, if you drew in the body of the animals, the tiger's back would come to around the middle or top of the windows, but the dog's would be at the bottom of the windows. It might take some work to figure out, since this type of dog has a longer neck and ears than a tiger. I'm also not sure if I like the wavy line where the bottom of the bus meets the dog's body. It fits the active feel of the 2nd piece, but the straight line on the tiger bus is much more bus-like.

  • SVS OG

    The dog is modeled after a German Shepherd, which has a dark saddle on its back, so the wavy line at the bottom was my mark of where that break would go. The bus part would probably be darker overall? But I'll try it with a straight line and see what works. And I think if I make the head and front legs a bit bigger it will look better perspective-wise and feel more connected to the bus.

    I'm really excited about this sketch, thanks for sharing your thoughts to make it better! I'll post an updated sketch when it's finished.

  • SVS OG

    Here's a revised sketch of the triple decker dog! Really happy with how it's turning out so far.


  • SVS OG

    @carriecopa I really like how this is going. Your illustration is so dynamic and full of life! I would just like to point out one thing: that cyclist in the corner could move a little bit more to the side. I think, for me at least, that it's blocking my view of dog bus and it's also kinda stealing attention from the bus. Overall, I like your design. I'd like to see more!

  • SVS OG

    @carriecopa Reminds me of the cat bus in Totoro!

  • SVS OG

    @carriecopa It's looking really good. I agree about the bicyclist drawing attention from the dog bus though. Dynamic pose!

  • SVS OG

    @marsha-kay-ottum-owen @nyrryl-cadiz

    Thanks for your feedback on the cyclist - I wasn't sure how far to the edge I should put him without him feeling cut off (or maybe I should have him partially cut off?), and wondered if he should overlap the dog a bit to make it clear the cyclist is in the foreground. I thought it should have SOMETHING in the foreground, and a reaction shot of another character would hopefully pull the eye back to the dogbus. I personally like seeing the whole dog myself as well! I don't want to cover up any of his 10 legs since it's such an interesting feature.

    I think this is pretty close to start putting down final lines and some value studies! I appreciate everyone's help!

  • SVS OG

    All right, I did a lot of tweaking to the sketch and ended up just removing the bicycle guy because he's not important. I picked a color scheme and tried out some new brushes. I'm still learning how to make digital art, I'm worried I over-rendered it, but I'm happy with it. I had to call this "finished, not perfect" so I could open up my schedule for the book cover class.

    Thanks again for your input! My idea evolved into something pretty cool with your help! It was a challenge for sure but worth it. Good perspective practice. Flipping the sketch helped a lot to check for weird spots.


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