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.


Unknown said...

I love your work. I am an atist and I am doing some Thylacine drawings for my next show. Actually I am pretty obsessed with them. Your drawing is really great and inspirational. Thanks!
(I am posting this from my band's account, my name is actually Christina)

S.M. Bittler said...

Hi Christina! Wow, thanks so much for your very kind comments! I really appreciate them. Do you have an art archive online?

Guely of Sweden said...

Incredible good work! Finally somebody who has "big cats" among his profile interests and delivers! Love the Thylacine! Some jaguar perhaps?

E-J said...

Love your thylacines. It's a gorgeous image.