Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Claws and Robbers - Commission

I recently undertook a commission for an author, Susan Rae Glass and her new book Claws and Robbers. The brief was to create a illustration to for one of her books characters which would show both the supernatural side of the book and the Police connection, that would be used as part of a pack given away with signed books. This is how I went about it…

After some discussions in the pub (where all the best discussions are held) regarding Susan's ideas and how they could work, I headed home and worked up some very rough ideas in black and white (and in this case blue) so that Susan could decide which was her favorite. I always think this stage, where I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do just looks like scribble or finger painting but apparently Susan saw past that and chose the middle idea.

Once I knew where the painting should be heading I could rough out the background and the main subjects body. I tried a few ideas for this but then I started reading "Claws and Robbers" and it was immediately apparent that the character should in a relaxed but alert pose, instead of crouched.
Once I'm happy with the rough shape of the character I always try to get the head/face right as this will help me develop the character in my mind and give him personality. After that the rest is relatively easy. At this point I was relatively happy with the pose and the head but something wasn't quite right. Later I worked out that the left hand side of the face was too fluffy and the left eye wasn't quite in the right place.

Once I had corrected the problems with the wolfs head I could get down to fur, fur and more fur. Thankfully I managed to go though most of my fur painting learning curve while painting my previous wolf so this time things ran far more smoothly and took half the time. It just goes to show that the adage "practice makes perfect" is alive and well.
One other change I made was to move the wolf to a better position as I needed to keep in mind that I had both a background and a title to add to the painting.

Speaking of backgrounds, here we are! I cannot express how much the thought of painting all those police officers in riot gear filled me full of dread. Particularly as I needed to make it fairly obvious what they were without drawing too much attention away from our wolf. I'm afraid they do somewhat remind me of the scary skeletal spacemen from Dr. Who, spooky!

And here it is, the finished article. I had some fun playing around with the text to give it that finishing touch and I was so happy with the result that a copy is now hanging on my wall.

If you would like to purchase a copy of "Claws and Robbers" you can do so on Amazon at

… or you can follow Susan Rae Glass on Facebook and purchase one of her fantastic signed books directly from her with a "MET" pack which includes a post card sized print of my work at

… and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page where you will see work in progress shots and news often weeks before it hits my blog.


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