Animal Character Illustration

Another challenge set by Lisa Bardot’s Character camp was to create unique animal characters.

Here a few that I came up with.

Mr Bear was always a complete gentleman.
Meet Captain Douglas, a most courageous spitfire flying duck.
Mr and Mr Mouse were this years pearly king and queen of the gutter.

Shelter Dogs Prints

I am a patron of an animal rescue centre based on the Greek island of Crete. Takis Shelter was founded 4 years ago by a local DJ Theoklitos Proestakis. Using his own funds he created a safe refuge for stray and abandoned animals.

The work he and his volunteers do is truly amazing. I was inspired to offer more help than just my monthly donation, so asked if they’d like any artwork created free of charge.

They have been considering selling merchandise to generate more income. Taking care of nearly 200 animals is very costly. Without patron donations they would struggle to stay open.

Here are a couple of designs I’ve created.

My Nuts…!

I’m still getting to grips with Procreate, so when ever I’m not doing client work I try and learn something new by taking part in Skillshare classes.

The latest was ‘Illustrating in Procreate: Draw a fox!’ by Mel Armstrong.

Mel walks the viewer through her digital painting process for creating a stylised fox character in Procreate.

Having recently drawn some foxes for another project I improvised on the subject matter. I like to regularly walk around the local in-a-city nature reserve and last autumn stopped to watch a pair of squabbling squirrels. They seemed to be arguing over a pile of fallen acorns. The comical exchange had me giggling to myself most of the day. And was the inspiration behind this cheeky little character.

I’m new to using so much texture so this class took me somewhat out of my comfort zone. However, it was enormous fun experimenting with the different brushes and I learned some great new tips and tricks for using the program too. All in all a fab class and a lovely introduction to using texture. 

Stylised Animals

I wanted to try drawing animals in a more stylised way. I have a tendency to draw as I see, yet a desire to create something more relaxed and abstract.

My first choice of animal was a Fox. A little while ago I rescued one that had been hit by a car. It was wandering aimlessly in and out of the traffic and I was worried it would either get hit again or cause an accident. Placing him in the passenger seat of my car wrapped in my sweatshirt I drove him back to my home. Where the RSPCA collected him and he thankfully made a full recovery. I’m presuming it was a male fox of course. I didn’t get that up close and personal with it. 

I started with some sketchbook drawings. Using different photo references I drew several poses. Simplifying the fox anatomy into basic shapes, then creating a silhouette outline of its main characteristics. Then I used photoshop to digitally paint each one, arranging them into a repeat pattern using the Textile Designer feature.

I was pleased with the results and had a go at a few more woodland animals.

#ourplanetweek

Our Planet Week was created by a group of amazing artists on Instagram to help raise awareness for our world’s ecological crisis.

Prompt 1: Flora and Fauna

If we carry on the way we are….. exhibits will be all we have left.

I chose to characterise the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean in this illustration, having spent many happy times there.

The bell jar represents not only the potential future of our wildlife, but the frailty of its existence beneath the strain we thoughtlessly bestow upon it.

The number twelve symbolises zero hour on the doomsday clock. We are currently on a second away.

Moth Balls

Last week autumn was on its way, this week the sunshine is back. Wanting something cooler to wear I reached for an old favourite from the back of my wardrobe. A lightweight cotton dress that is comfy to wear and easy to style up with accessories. To my horror it was full of tiny moth holes. 

This illustrated print design and accompanying repeat pattern was inspired by my discovery. Whilst researching a natural moth repellent online, I got distracted by the pretty moth pictures. Totally seduced by their phenomenal beauty, I just had to draw them.   

Using a fine black liner I drew the moths on paper first. Then working with Illustrator’s ‘image trace’ tool, I created vectors from the scanned-in drawings. And finally I added colour using the ‘live paint’ tool.

Moth half drop repeat pattern

Beatle Mania

Beetle Mania surface print

This design was inspired by a movie my twins and I recently watched. The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. We had enjoyed the originals together when they were kids and recalled the scarab beetles. 

Watching films together was a past time we favoured most weekends when they were children. Friday nights in particular we would have dinner on our laps in front of a movie of their choice. We visited the local DVD hire shop so regularly they knew our first names. 

It was a great way to connect with one another and encourage conversation. And meant I could sensor what they watched. Sanctioning age appropriate genre when they were young and introducing cult classics and my own favourites as they grew.

Today we still share a love of movies. 

Beetle Races hero repeat surface pattern
Dance the Beetle support repeat surface pattern
Beetle Mania mini collection

International Cat Day

If I was an animal I would be a cat. Fierce independence and zealous curiosity are traits we share. Along with playfulness and spontaneity. And although dominance and laziness (particularly when it comes to house work) are feline attributes I would rather not identify with, I regrettably do. Just wish I had the same freedom. 

Challenging myself to draw using only the blob brush tool, Illustrator was my design weapon of choice for this artwork. 

Lets Dress Up

Taking my cat illustrations a step further, I though it would be fun to dress them up and accessorise them depending on their behaviour.  

Hapless Harry spends hours sitting by the pond in his owners garden, just staring at the fish. His little head bobs round and round as he watches them circling the small raised water feature. Quite happy just observing, never attempting to snag its occupants.

Hapless Harry

Irritable Issac’s owner is a French Canadian musician, who enjoys a daily bike ride. He waves goodbye to the bad tempered cat as he cycles off down the street each morning. I often wonder if it is his absence that makes Issac so moody, or does the cat just long for a ride in the basket of his owners vintage bike. 

Irritable Issac

Pretty Pepper adores lying on the warm bonnets of recently run neighbourhood cars. Favouring those that have been freshly parked, leisurely swapping from one to the next, up and down the road all day. 

Pretty Pepper

Audacious Audrey spends all day following the sun around my garden. And she doesn’t even live here.

Audacious Audrey