I Am The Walrus

walrus sm

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, busy with a side project which is taking up most of my personal art time. Have been ill with the post-EGX lurgy this week so I thought I’d take a break and do one of my favourite things in art- creature exploration :)!

Hit the jump for some process sketches!

Its actually been a while since I last did this properly, I got out of the habit and the process is kinda intense,  and can be hard to get back into casually without pressuring myself too much.

Untitled-1 sm

I start by getting familiar with the anatomy of the animal. The aim here isnt so much getting perfect copies from ref as much as trying to find the rhythm of the animal, the gesture of its parts. Getting accurate proportion studies is useful too, depending on how you want to push the creature, it can be handy way to check your assumptions.

When I’ve been doing a lot of this creatures all start to blur together, makes the process much faster. When you know the basic building blocks of say, a carnivore and herbivore, it’s just a case of extrapolation. Carnivore with a big snout, carnivore with a small one, that kinda thing.

If you ignore the huge blocky toothy snout the walrus skull is a bit like a seal skull, handy for understanding such a strange shape. I like to look at the head first as it tends to be the most important part for telling you who your creature is, both in terms of personality and species/breed.

bodies Next I look at bodies. Again, it’s more about finding the gesture, but I also try to correct myself when I push the proportions too far without intending to. Once I feel comfortable I push further. Sometimes pushing too far can rob the creature of its essence and make it look like something else, once I hit those limits I get a better idea of where this creature sits.


Next I start to push. I have no real set style in my head as I’m pushing here, I’m drawing walruses tonight for a daft game idea I had, but I’m not thinking too much about that here, I’m still trying to figure out what makes a walrus a walrus and seeing how far I want to push the extremes. I tend to sit somewhere in the middle of anatomical and graphic, sometimes I think I don’t go far enough one way or the other, but that’s all part of the fun :)

Untitled-6The guy in the middle here felt about right, he has the sad walrus eyes but there’s still space for them to have goofy expressions-  that triangle shape where they live is exploitable too, could be different colours, could be less wrinkles or more wrinkles. Could be higher or lower.

walrus smFrom that I did a quick lil’ snooty walrus, the position of his/her right flipper is a bit too flexible and anthrophomorphised, perhaps, but I kinda dig the design.

From here I’d push further to see what kinda characters I could get from this base, or move on to playing with colour. For the purposes of the silly game idea I had, moving to colour would be fine as a snooty walrus would fit quite well.

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