Another private, portfolio-expanding piece that possibly little to no sense. I often wonder how many illustrators use models, how many use search-engined image reference, and how many just use their wits and anatomy training. I went with the last here, and perhaps it shows – I don’t know. Technically, I took a different approach to the one I usually use: Instead of taking a principal piece of reference and working outward from its inherent tonality, I created my own by using fill layers with different transparency and different blend modes. Its a much more naturalistic way to work, as these colour layers work the same way glazes do when oil painting, and you can work straight from a monochrome initial layer.
The two birds are shoebills. Alright, they don’t grow quite to these dimensions, but they’re quite creepy-looking, ruthless birds that stalk the swamps of East Africa. Other influences on the image are the Mursi tribesmen, who decorate their bodies with paint and have intricately-wrought ceremonial headpieces. Another huge influence is obviously the ubiquitous photo-portrait series by Pieter Hugo entitled “The Hyena and Other Men“, the imagery of which was so potent its turned up in the unlikeliest of places since 2007.