Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Totem Card Project - Leopards and Thylacine Cards

Here are two pieces I'd worked on prior to attending a summer art show, but didn't get to touch up in time to bring with me. They are for the Totem Card Project. First up is the Leopards Card: leopard (Panthera pardus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and snow leopard (Uncia uncia) - (click for full)

I wanted to try using acrylic paint (which I haven't used full-scale in years), in a different style than my usual (LOTS of hair-detail) - but I struggled with this a lot. Apparently my acrylics are too heavy-bodied for fine detail work, plus I need practice. It's mostly acrylic, with some pencil and Micron pen, on illustration board. Suffice it to say, it was quite a learning experience, though an enjoyable one; leopards are among my favorite animals of all!

There are many variations in the various spotting patterns and coat colors of these cats, though I tried to go with more typical colorations for these.

Close-ups (though I tried to make sure it looked good at actual card-size; bear in mind this will be printed much smaller): snow leopard, clouded leopard, leopard.

Next, here is my card for the Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) - (click for full)

Having had enough of a time struggling with my leopards card in acrylics, I went back to my usual style (symbolic & stylized) and my favorite painting materials (gouache on watercolor paper). I love to paint skulls, so I added one in, to symbolize the fact that it is considered extinct, though I secretly hope there are some hidden and alive somewhere out there. The eyes are empty for that reason, too. Additionally, the skull provides a definite "up" direction - so it has, for totem deck purposes, a "reverse" if it is drawn from the deck upside-down.

I looked up hundreds of references for the thylacine, and did it in my own way, with a little bit of artistic license, as I'd seen - and enjoyed - in some other cards so far. Funny thing - the creature looks different in every photo! Sometimes the head looks long and narrow, sometimes more rounded and doglike, sometimes more like a kangaroo's; I went for an appearance that sort of averages them all. Please note that this was not meant to be completely scientifically accurate.

It's mostly gouache on Strathmore watercolor paper, with a bit of pencil and Micron pen. Slight touchups in Photoshop.