Monday, May 9, 2011

What I gave my mother for Mother's Day

Image: A small, tan-colored bunny whines at his mother –a large, gray rabbit– while pointing to three other bunnies: an ochre female with white paws who looks on curiously, a white male with large brown spots who trembles with anxiety, and a completely white male who is rolling his eyes.

So, yeah, I sketched this in pencil, colored it on the computer, printed it, and gave it to my mother. It was wonderful to hear her laughter echoing through the house!

"But why bunnies? It hardly seems your area of expertise!" Well… Flashback: Frank is shown as a stringy teenager showing a drawing to a woman with thick arms. He says, "Hey mom, look what I made for–" "EUGH!" reacs the woman in revulsion. "Vermin!" 
No reason.

Artist's notes

Argh! I hate drawing stringy teenagers! And yes, I know rabbits don't have thumbs!

Now that I've got that out of my system, I can tell you that I was trying to go for the "every hair of his fur is visible" effect that I created for the Twitter drawing. Of course, I soon realize I was going to run out of Mother's Day and not have the drawing finished. What you see here is actually the result of a series of happy accidents.

I started coloring the drawings in Fireworks –trying to imitate what I had done with the Christmas Story epilogue–, but due to the way I had drawn the mother rabbit, it was impossible for me to find a brush the right size to color her effectively. I therefore fell back on my tried-and-true method of hand vector tracing.
Having her vectorized allowed me to add some computer-calculated shading to her which, while it wasn't exactly what I wanted, did save me some time. I touched it up in fireworks, but unfortunately, you could see where the computer-calculated shading ended, and mine began. I decided to use this to my advantage and made it the individual locks of fur. I the repeated the process for the whining bunny.

For his siblings, I did the coloring entirely in Fireworks. While doing his sister (the one that looks curiously in his direction) I lost the color I was using due to a slip of the mouse. Since I had been applying it with a 60% transparency (to allow the underlying paper to still be visible), I couldn't just select it and use it again. But I looked at what I had: the toes had been left white, as had the finger tips. This was a valid coloring for a bunny! I fixed her up (i.e. erased the color from the few toes that had received it) and left her like that.

Of course, having done that, I couldn't have the little rascal be a solid color, so I gave him those spots. I still wonder about that decision though.

For the rest, I have to express my gratitude to Dirk Tiede for posting his study of paws; I hadn't understood how they worked until now.


  1. You captured some pretty good expressions on them. I like the right one best.

  2. The third youngling from the left (the spotted one) at first looked like something off of a doctor's office poster, (to my semi-colour-blind eyes) the brown patches seeming to be muscle and the white to be bone. (I'm hoping that sentence isn't as hard to read as I think it is, given information-cramming.)

  3. Yes, I get it: the color is so dark it looks like a skull. As I said, the color was more of a dubious afterthought than a design decision. You can see what he looked like before I colored him.