Sunday, October 25, 2009

This is a Pika.

Last year I watched 'Kung Fu Panda' and found that the sensei, Shifu, was a red panda. Red pandas are relatively rare, but my theory is that this animated film sparked interest in the conservation of the animal. All of a sudden I saw red pandas at zoos and my natural science center. Not a coincidence, in my opinion.

So my idea is to read up on animals that are threatened with extinction and create a cartoon version of them. I found this little guy, a relative of the rabbit, called the Pika. The pika thermo-regulates quite well so he doesn't hibernate in the winter. Pikas live in the Rockies on the highest elevations, necessary because they are so warm internally. Global warming is causing them to seek higher elevations to find the cold. The pika really is the canary in the coal mine that is our environment.

I don't have the clout of Dreamworks Animation, but I do think it's good practice to find an animal, do reference sketches of it (see above), and start the design process. My favorite sketches are the ones that abstract enough so you're left with a few basic shapes. I chose my favorite and gave it the color treatment. This painting took about an hour, maybe a bit more.

I plan on finding new animals and going through this process each week, kind of a break from projects I'm working on.

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