Initial animal research and Studies
Updated: Mar 17, 2019
For my project I am going to have to do research about a number of woodland animals. For some animals I will need to be more acquainted with them than others as they will be the ones appearing most within the graphic novel (main characters).
At the moment I plan to do initial studies of all kinds of animals that will appear and then delve more into whoever will appear in the narrative test (zine) that I plan to make. I hope that through doing these initial studies I can also narrow down and refine the style for the graphic novel.
At least two of the main characters will be badgers, Catkiller and her child, Scratch. I have researched badgers before, during my Spatial Practice unit in second year, so I am already aware of their behaviour and well acquainted with how they look. Though this time I am trying to do more than create a cute depiction of them. As this project is aiming towards a 150-200 page long graphic novel (eventually) I will need to create characters that are distinguishable from one another whilst of the same species. This will be a huge challenge for me as I have not done character design of any kind before and need to think about stylising the characters in a way which means they are instantly recognisable but also not too over complicated in design/detail.
I have started all of my animal studies by just looking into the animal in question. For example here are badgers. I have looked up reference images as well as videos of their behaviour and have just done a few sketches to reacquaint myself with how they look, as well as to get myself thinking about how to stylise the badgers and to what extent I will stylise them.
As with badgers above I have looked at reference images and videos of foxes and started to do a few simplified sketches. The fox character in the story is called Truthful Sly and is a very elegant and able animal. Already I am trying to emphasise the animals sleek body and playing around with different digital brushes to see what kind of fur effects I can get and how the line art will affect the images. Foxes are definitely an animal I am going to need to do a lot more studies of, and research into as I am already having a hard time working out the anatomy.
Another main character we have is called Stonepecker Crow, who is unsurprisingly a crow. He will be the main antagonist of the story and we will see him horrored and unhorrored. At the moment we plan on having him be lame in one leg so I have looked up some reference videos to see how this would affect him, and it does not seem to be an encumbrance.
Below I have done two more fleshed out drawings looking at crows with pretty simple colouring. I have done them with two different digital brushes, one creating a more graphic style, reminiscent of traditional comics and the other being far more painterly. The painterly style is what I find slightly more pleasing though I do think it is unachievable to do a whole story in this way. These drawings are also way more detailed than the initial studies I have done of the badger and fox, with crows being small and with more noticeable details such as their feathers and delicate beaks I found it hard to simplify them to the same extent.
When going forward I will need to be aware that the level of stylisation I chose will have to apply to all scales of animals, from adult deer down to mice.