Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Flightless Sea Roo

Last Friday on my Twitch Stream, we did the tenth 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 Flightless Sea Roo. And below are my steps to create it as well as the community submissions.

We started with the prompts of my original 2000's era linocut print titled 'Extinct' as well as a Sea Lion, a Kangaroo, & a Penguin (I went with a baby--but others used different species).

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 drawing with mechanical pencil on a sheet of copy paper to try and reimagine the beast. I wanted to use the bowling pin silhouette of a penguin body, but tie in the legs & ears of the Kangaroo and arms/feet of the sea lion. The first attempt was fun, but too static, so I redrew it in more of a kangaroo hopping position and opted to use penguin feet and add sea lion feet to the tail to look more like flippers.

To the left you can see my pencils as well as the Photoshop scan with adjustments in proportions and replacement ears pasted on––all  tinted to easily see the breaks in forms.

After I was happy enough with my above design, I printed that piece out on copy paper 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 Flightless Sea Roo. I used a Copic Multiliner 0.7 SP pen to ink the art. Most of the work was in trying to keep the subtlety of the pencils--including the face, soft short fur, and slight tonal shifts. 

I finished the inks faster than I expected so I was also was able to scan the inks and flat the colors. I went with the baby penguin palate for the creature, adding subtle warm areas to the fur, inner ears and spots to harken back to the sea lion and kangaroo. I added only one color hold (areas where I want the ink to be a color other than black) to the spots on the hind haunches.

For these Draw The Extinct pieces I have a  template with background and border already established, so it makes some of this color prep work all the easier. I then signed off of Twitch and wished everyone good luck with their pieces.. .

And over the weekend, I used the dodge and burn tools (with a stock photoshop texture brush) to render the piece. Below you can again see the final rendered colors with a border and type applied in this final version. 

But, as this is a community event, I wanted to share all the other entries posted in the Discord. 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!)

Amy LeBaron


Brett LeBaron

Capt. Nemo



Evil Cartoonist*





Nate Pride*





Sleepless Ninja

Steve Sketches*



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