Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Salamalican

Last Friday on my Twitch Stream, we did the third community draw-along event #DrawTheExtinct where I posted an image from an old block print I made with a few animal photo inspiration prompts and the idea to create an imaginary extinct animal. I worked on my piece live on my Twitch stream while viewers worked at home and then on Monday we shared our finished pieces. 

Here is my finished Salamalican. And below are my steps to create it as well as the community submissions.

We started with the prompts of my original linocut print from a piece titled 'Extinct' as well as an Orange Salamander, a Pelican, and a Frog's eye. I named the creature 'The Salamalican'. I told the viewers that they could use any combination of the inspiration prompts––they could make their version as cute and cuddly as a pocket pet stray kitten, as monstrous and deadly as a giant kaiju destroying cities, or anything in between. I also wanted this to be an excuse to get their pencils moving. I invited all skill levels, because I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't have to be good at something or pursuing mastery of it to just simply enjoy the act of it...and art is no exception.

On the Friday stream I started with mechanical pencil on a sheet of copy paper to draw the creature. Then I decided I wanted some minnows in his mouth, and on a separate sheet of copy paper on a light pad I drew his meal as well as one in his hand. The image here is after I'd scanned my pencils and edited the two drawings together (tinting them to help me see the different bits) in Photoshop.

My main pushes for the new design were to make sure the gullet felt like a flexible membrane instead of just a jug-jaw and that the 'S' shape of the body was clear to read and anatomically believable.

With the pencils scanned and adjusted, I printed out the image and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. Using a lightpad, I was able to see through the surface of the bristol as I inked the Salimalican. I used a Copic Multiliner 0.7 SP pen to ink the art. 

Most of the inking was pretty straight forward other than the texture on the gullet. I kept looking to my pelican reference for texture guidance.

On stream, I not only finished the pencils and inks, but was able to scan the inks and proceeded to the color flats.

The color selections were pretty straight forward when looking at the reference photos, it was just a matter of using different layers to establish where those color areas started and stopped: The main skin vs the beak, the gullet vs the minnows, etc.

Below you can again see the final rendered colors with a border and type applied.

But, as this is a community event, I wanted to share all the other entries posted in the Discord (some are works-in-progress I've been told). I awarded a prize and we voted together on a few more (prize winners marked with *) on Monday's Twitch stream and we all enjoyed seeing what each other had done. I hope we get even more participants next month (first Friday!)

Wicked Goblin King*

AU Tiger

Evil Cartoonist

Captain Nemo

Evil Cartoonist



Vern NYC


Nate Pride*



Pagan Celt


Evil Cartoonist

Flannel Wizard

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