How I create… beasts through the ages
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.
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.
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.