How I cre­ate… beasts through the ages

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Ini­tial sketch

I wanted to in­cor­po­rate three dif­fer­ent life phases of the owl bear and the grif­fin. So I started sim­ply by ob­serv­ing an­i­mals that live near me. I learned that an­i­mals tend to play with each other dur­ing their in­fancy. Dur­ing their ado­les­cence the play­ing turns to fight­ing – and it hap­pens all the time! They tend to be calmer when they’re fully grown adults.

Colour rough

Dur­ing the early stage of mak­ing a colour rough, a com­mon ap­proach is to fo­cus on the mid­dle of the com­po­si­tion: in this case, the two fan­tasy beasts’ teenage years. But this made the com­po­si­tion un­com­fort­able to read. So I changed the main fo­cus to the lower part of the im­age, where the beasts are still in their in­fancy. This suits the book’s theme, which is about nur­tur­ing baby beasts.

Fi­nal stages

I want to keep the val­ues in­tact. So rather than us­ing a frontal light­ing scheme, I use light­ing that orig­i­nates from be­hind the beasts. This en­ables me to de­fine the sil­hou­ette of both beasts clearly. I want the viewer to be able to read what’s hap­pen­ing in this cover very clearly, so that when this book is dis­played in the book­stores the sil­hou­ettes of the play­ing baby beasts are ob­vi­ous.

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