I’ve always been able to do technical drawings, but would like to get into cartooning. For about a year, I’ve been practicing sketching, using whatever source images were at hand. This one was the cover image of a music post on YouTube. It was late and I was drawing as fast as I could, moving the pencil while listening to the song.
For some reason I kept thinking about the original image and my three-minute version of it. Not only about the sketch but about the scene itself.
It’s a tender scene of an elf and some kind of mythic, vaguely equestrian animal. The elf is sitting on a log or rock and touching the animal’s face.
Working fast, I made errors in the elf’s shoulder, and the creature’s neck and body. I liked how the creature’s hair and ears came out. Eye content between the elf and the creature is good. I got the apparent horizon completely wrong.
I went back for a second take, this time in two sessions totaling about fifteen minutes:
I didn’t try to draw the whole scene; this was an exercise in drawing the relationship between two characters.
In the second sketch, I got the elf’s legs wrong; the right leg is both longer and stronger than the left. In both sketch versions I forgot her pointed ears that are visible through her impractically long hair. The arms and torso came out all right. I missed her belt and satchel strap.
The creature’s head is a little too small and the jaw too short. The sturdiness and curvature of the neck look about right for a real vertebrate. The sense of eye contact came out right, though in the source image she is leaning in towards the creature. I got the forelimb musculature wrong, and kind of exaggerated the armor plate. And while the horizon is better, it’s still a bit too high. And in both sketches I should have included her sword and the log she’s sitting on.
So that’s enough about my sketch; let’s look at the source. As a science-fiction fan, I love imaginative takes on other worlds:
What is the relationship between the elf and the creature? Are they equals in some endeavor, like Han Solo and Chewbacca? Is she communing with a wild animal? Or some kind of livestock? Or some other relationship I didn’t even consider. Maybe they are shape shifters, and one has changed into another form to go on a quest. “OK who’s going to be the steed this time?” Lots of possibilities, since I don’t know the story the painting is based on – if it is based on a story.
We can make some guesses about the ecosystem from the creature that lives in it. It has some kind of plate armor on the front. Armor is metabolically costly, and it’s only on the neck and breast. What is it armored against, and for what mode of attack?
This is a large, powerfully-built animal, but what does it eat? Very few animals have an overbite like that. Sharks come to mind. Also its eyes seem positioned for stereoscopic vision, which is more common in predators. Is the armor for protection from its food?
The ears are oversize and appear to swivel; this creature needs to be aware of its surroundings for some reason. And are the feathery appendages under the armor plates also a sensory function? Does it need to escape or avoid some kind of predator behind it?
Having gotten a little more control of the pencil, I plan to do more sketches with more than one character in them.