Thursday, September 5, 2013

IF Friday LUSH: She Drinks Like a W(RH)INO!

     Yay! It's Illustration Friday again! This week's Topic is LUSH!  Now normally I think most Children's Illustrator's would interpret this word synonymously with Vivid as in Lush Colors of something or another.... Not Me.  I go right for the obvious... A Drunk! lol. 

     Sometimes I feel like the black sheep of my industry as I'm not really a Mr. Rogers equivalent of an artist, as what I imagine most parent think of when they think of children's illustrators... and to be honest, I've met several "Leave It To Beaver" 1950's nuclear family types in this industry... very lovely, very nice people.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with it...
Now, me: I feel like I am more like Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady character from his hilarious and witty murder mystery novel series.  The main character, Cora Felton, is a national famous writer and constructor of a syndicated puzzle column.  She's also the star of a commercial for a very popular children's breakfast cereal.  She has a very clean image with her cardigan sweaters, straw sun hats with ribbons and her gardening gloves. Hall describes her as having Cornflower Blue eyes and an award winning smile when he mentions her cereal commercial. In all actuality, Cora Felton wears an very old and tattered red "flapper" dress with cigarette burns in it.  She swears constantly, drinks like a fish and passes out in bar telephone booths.  Not to mention she is super nosy and pokes her nose into every murder investigation in the small town in which she and her niece, her column editor, live in. 

     Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of the book series, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the movie Clue.  It's murder. It's intrigue and best of all, it's HI-LARIOUS!  My point is I think I share some of Cora's career image contradictions.  I swear a lot, don't dress well and love some rum on every occasion.  I don't exactly always fit the notion of the lifestyle and children's illustrator may be expected to live by.  I was never a by scout, even though I always wanted to be... I make do collecting lapel pins and iron on badges in my adulthood... at least that's what Freud might say...

     Anyway, I get off topic... Lush a drunk and when I think of drunks... I think of Winos! lol.   But then I thought it would be funny to have a Rhino Wino... A W(RH)INO!  I, of course, started with more reference research.
I do have to say that even though most artists will tell you that the Horse is the most difficult animal to draw and caricature, I would say, in my humble opinion that the Rhino is a very close second.  I also researched how I would personify the animal into an iconic pose that would read instantly as wino and rhino together simultaneously...

     At first I concocted this composition where the rhino was sitting at a cafe table drinking bottle after bottle of wine.  But how to make her seem drunk... But, of course!  She would be "cheers-ing" herself!  I thought it might be cute that since she is drunk, at least make her a happy drunk which is kind of counter intuitive to the usually personified grumpy disposition of a caricatured rhinoceros.  I loved the idea that she would be so drunk that she would clink the wine glass on her own horn creating a festive and fun "Cheers To Me" moment.  I decided, after drawing this composition that something was still not working... it was the pose. I loved the concept and the character but not the pose...

     I ditched the idea of having the table, chair and cafe scene scenario for something far more simple and ultimately a better pose that reads exactly the way I wanted it to.  I wanted her to be standing as in making a toast. Her body language exudes confidence and fun. I liked the idea of her holding the bottle as well. That pretty much sums up the concept behind my solution to this week's challenge.  As per usual, I have included development and WIP screen shots to show some of my creative process.

     So until next time, pour yourself a glass of your favorite poison and relax... because it's Friday! Cheers to You!
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 

  [Thumbnail Composition]

 [development sketch]
[development sketch]

 [Final Sketch]

 [Inked Illustration]

 [WIP Screenshot]

 [WIP Screenshot]

 [WIP Screenshot]

 [WIP Screenshot]

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