Saturday, 10 August 2013

Illustration Friday for 2nd August - Hybrid


A bit of a late post of my submission to Illustration Friday this week and the new topic has been announced - Fresh! But I had a busy day yesterday and wasn't in blogging mode.

Ah well, here's what I accomplished and how I did it anyway!

So once again, I started by looking up the meaning for the word Hybrid -


A thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture.
Of mixed character; composed of mixed parts. (src -
My first thoughts being... woah! That is quite a broad topic! So initially I rushed through a couple of ideas including taking elements from the periodic table and creating new words from them.

Src- This amazing dynamic table is by Michael Dayah at

I Lv U (Iodine, Livermorium and Uranium)
WHAt IS Lv (Tungsten, Hydrogen, Astatine)
BaBY CaKEs (Barium, Boron, Yttrium, Calcium, Potassium, Einsteinium) 

And other various strange concoctions. But whilst it was fun,  this didn't seem to be going anywhere that would create a decent illustration. 

I moved on to creating some hybrid animals, after looking at Zorses, Ligers etc. and still thinking along the lines of creating words I put together a Goat and a Sloth to make a 'Goth', and a Puffin and a Skunk to make a 'Punk'. 

However, a subject that has always brought me great interest has been mythology and what does mythology do best? Throw creatures together! Think Griffins, Cockatrices and Chimeras. 

Which is where my first set of sketches towards my end goal came in: 
First attempt at Mythological sketches. I chose to focus in on the animal/human hybrids.
Done in watercolour pencil.
I had recently noticed, everywhere I looked from magazines to blogs to flyers, designers were using circles, they have become really popular and personally I love the way that they look. So the labyrinth that I absentmindedly drew behind the minotaur really sparked things off. I wondered how I could create other circular pictures for animal/human hybrids. Hence the nest for the harpy, the Horseshoe for the Centaur etc.

Pen and ink sketches, the odd faces around the outside are just what
happen when I'm stuck in a rut. 
The next step was to try some more detailed sketching in pen and ink. Centaurs are ridiculously hard to depict when you only have the top half of a creature and so I ended up discarding him. I have a certain stylised way that I liked to draw faces but I felt that this illustration was looking a bit too cartoonish and so I focussed in on the attributes that made these beasts famous. After all, they were legends and could perhaps have been composed from misguided or hypothetical means.

Making use of illustrator for colour and line purposes. The sketch
of the male minotaur in pen was when I had a comic-style idea.

I drew a few of the accessories I had been using to make the circular background from the original designs. I wanted to keep the labyrinth for the minotaur as I think it is a pretty key feature in figuring out who he was as were the horns. The mermaid's tail was what separated her from humans and the Harpy's wings. I sketched in pencil and then over that in pen which when put through a detailed sketch trace in illustrator gave it a lovely monoprint effect.

Putting all the pieces together in Photoshop.

From this attempt I realised that the mermaid's tail would look better if the darker half of the circle was towards the bottom as it would look as though she were rising from the sea. The minotaur's background was steadily fading away and so I changed the colour to a darker brown. 

An addition of words underneath gave it a very graphic feel and as I was looking at my finished image I realised that each of these would each make a good illustration for the cover of a book. And so I made this mock up below. 

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