Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Foxilisk

Last Friday on my Twitch Stream, we did the thirteenth 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 Foxilisk. 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 Red Fox, Snake, and Bird (I went specifically with a Black Rat Snake & Eagle).

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 keep some of the silhouette of the original print, and that meant keeping the fox's head, but this time really emphasizing the tail into it's whole body. 

I also wanted to bring in more of the bird (eagle in my case) than just the talons, so I added some wings. To the left you can see the scanned pencils (drawn on two different sheets of copy paper––the wings were on a separate piece) assembled and then digitally colored to help me see the forms a bit better. 

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 Foxilisk. I used a Copic Multiliner 0.7 SP pen to ink the art. I spent most of my inking time on stream working on the fox and eagle bits––and I saved the snake scales until last, which also meant I ran out of stream and had to do them after the broadcast was over. 

After a meal and some down-time, I got back to finishing the above inks and scanning them to color the flats on Friday night. The colors were mostly established by what each creature naturally is, but I made sure there was some adjustments in hue and value to get it to all work together.

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 left the flatted colors for the rest of Friday and all day Saturday before returning to them to finish the piece on Sunday. And when I did, I was disappointed in myself. I felt that the transition between fox and snake was lazy. most of it happens behind the wing, and I should have done more to blend the attributes of each species together.

So, I went back into my inks and added a scale-like texture down the face and around the eyes (similar to the coloration of the original lino print). I then rescanned the inks and lined them up with the flat colors to start the final render.

To get all the highlights, shading, and texture I used the dodge and burn tools with a stock photoshop texture brush. 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!)


Capt. Nemo

Roaming Witch*






Pendrake (wip)


Nate Pride*





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