Octopus for Dinner



  • Found some time to get involved in the February Challenge "Octopus"... I thought about creating a dad with multiple arms being dad to kids but that was probably taken. Then I thought about my experience as a kid when my grandfather came home with a little octopus that he was going to cook up that night. I remember that little guy (I was only about 😎 trying to get out of a large bucket. Anyway, I tried to think of food and an escaping octopus. That is probably taken too but here are two versions from me... Which do you like best and how could the initial drawing be improved?0_1518749302796_octopus surprise 800w.jpg and 0_1518749499074_octopus fine dining 800w.jpg and then revised this morning... 0_1518804881423_octopus-fine-dining-revised-800w.jpg



  • I would never say that an idea was "taken". Any idea should have so many variations that it would be impossible to do them all so don't be afraid of that.

    As for the idea's that you made, I would say that the bottom one is my favorite due to the gesture and composition of the piece, but I think a better story needs to be told. Not to be sexist, but when I imagine someone picking up a live octopus it probably wouldn't be a feminine hand covered in expensive jewelry. A female hand would be fine, but I would imagine that the hand would be attached to a chef or sailor. Also the octopus looks like it has a fighting pose (old bare knuckle boxer style) but he looks really afraid. I think it would look cool if he was holding a fork to ward the hand away, or if you want to avoid a confrontational image then maybe it is try to camouflage itself with a piece of food. Try to explore your ideas as much as you can and make variations of them in thumbnail form, look for how other artists have explored similar ideas and try to benefit from their experience and knowledge .



  • @gary-wilkinson thanks for your reply. i did several sketches before these. these were the best two that i picked from the sets and refined for this post. the second image was more of a fine dining setting and yes, this octopus was running scared. i used the female hand gesture because it was more elegant and graceful in the setting. maybe if i tweaked the octopus to be more hidden behind the bottle of wine??? and the image of the little kid and sandwich... the octopus holding the fork was meant to look like he might be using the fork as leverage to pull himself out and away from the bun... never thought of using the fork as protection... thank you, michael...



  • @late2theparty Ahh so the hand is not reaching for the octopus, but rather reaching for something else and the octopus is try to avoid being seen? I can understand that a bit more now then. I'm guessing the octopus is part of a much bigger story and this part is in the early stages of escaping. Have you thought about if the hand could be pulling back as though it just touched the octopus by accident and realised that it is alive (although such an elegant hand would be less likely to pick up food without utensils)

    For the second image, you mentioned about using the fork as leverage to get itself out of the bun, but it's tentacles should be pretty adapt at pulling itself out of things. Also from that angle the boy is unlikely to have spotted the octopus I would guess. How about if he was lifting up the bun and spotted the octopus under/inside it.



  • @gary-wilkinson i see where you are coming from... maybe on that second image i have the hand daintily holding a piece of shrimp or something... like the person hasn't noticed the octopus fleeing... the fork was just something interesting to me to add to the scene... might detract from it... i will see about adjusting this one as well... thanks again...

    *side note... love your caricature work... done a few in pen and ink over the years... never painted them... yours are great...



  • @gary-wilkinson ... thanks for the suggestions. I revised the one drawing and posted it above this afternoon. I think this makes it clearer as to what is happening in the image. thanks again...



  • @late2theparty I LOVE number 1! It captures that emotion you felt as a youngster in a way that is much appealing than a kid watching an octopus squirming in a bucket 🤪 but gets across the same emotions. I really like the point of view, too.



  • @bichonbistro thank you Patty. the 1st one is my favorite too. i will probably end up painting them both in the end. there were so many other possibilities that came out of this month's challenge. i have a bunch of other thumbnails to work on sometime too...



  • 0_1518969454833_octopus fine dining - 1280w.jpg and here it is 98% finished I think. Any thoughts or suggestions from here? Thanks in advance 😉



  • @late2theparty

    Hello! Wow, impressive work. The food on those plates looks so vibrant and decadent. In case it's of help to you, the thing that comes to mind as potentially improving the piece is clarifying your light source. The highlights on the food on the plates seem to imply that there is a very bright light source, perhaps directly above the food? Perhaps also backlit a bit? Also, the bottle seems to suggest that the light source is coming from one side of the bottle, as opposed to the top. Either way, the intense lighting that is playing off of the cuisine would probably shine more brightly on the table, creating more dynamic and clear shadows from the dishes, bottle, glass, etc.. Then the question might be, where does the shadow from the hand fall? Would there be more highlights and shadows on the hand and arm?

    I think tightening up the light source might then lend itself to more clear detailing of the octopus, which at this point seems less rendered than the rest of the piece to me. I'm looking at your wonderful artwork on a small phone screen, and it seems that has helped see some of these things. Although I imagine you may do this already, maybe pulling back to see how to better integrate the various parts of the illustration is helpful?

    Thanks for the chance to learn from studying your piece. Looking awesome so far.



  • @kathrynadebayo thank you. i think you are probably right about the light source... i think i can adjust this without rendering everything over again. i used several reference photos (female hand, plate of seafood, bottle and wine glass) to build this image. my initial sketch has more contrast to it... maybe i just got caught up in the details... i haven't pulled back from it like you mention... but i will keep that in mind. should be a no brainer since i do this with acrylic and watercolor all the time... not used to working digital yet i guess. thanks again for the insight... i will adjust this and repost... stay tuned...



  • @late2theparty a little more top light and details added...

    0_1518984141285_octopus fine dining - 1280w2.jpg