Note: Want to support the arts? This calendar is made possible by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art (patron levels start at very low amounts!): patreon.com/tanaudel. It is also supported by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: ko-fi.com/tanaudel.
For this December’s calendar, it’s all about getting the mail through. And while the art is not Christmas-themed, there are 25 animals, so you could use the colouring version as an Advent calendar.
25 is a lot of animals, and I was tired. After I’d committed to the idea, I realised I could only think of about 5 plausibly fairy-tale adjacent creatures (it was late!). So now my notebook contains a list of animals made as I remembered their existence (eventually more than 25).
I decided to stick with flowers instead of stars, since I’d drawn starry animals last December (A Crowded Sky).
Then I shifted to Procreate for the rough sketch (to keep in practice with the program, and it does remove one scanning session). You can just see, below, that I put rough scribbles down (and numbered them!) before drawing the animals. I wanted to keep a plausibly-deniable fairy-tale quality to the animals, so I sketched most of them loosely from memory, then consulted a bit of reference to correct the more obvious errors and angles.
At this stage I was still considering big flowers — not as big as around September’s chairs, but still quite large and cheerful.
But I’d been doing a lot of standard five-petal flowers lately, and wanted to mix that up a bit — and possibly add some shading again. You can see me playing with both ideas here.
I printed out the digital sketch and used it as a guide for inking the animals.
Once they were done, I started at the top left corner and began to fill in the flowers. I drew these freehand, although I did occasionally refer to the sketch.
To keep a reasonable mixture of flowers, I alternated 2 flame-shaped trios (and long sprigs of leaves) with one five-petal flower (with stray leaves). This helped distribute shapes and colours (although I wouldn’t have minded having added another yellow flower between the snake and the cat).
I was eyeballing the distance between elements, and occasionally the spacing drifted — for example, I was working looser at the top left of the full page, where I started. In the image below, near the sheep’s front foot, that sprig of leaves brushes one of the flowers near it. On some projects I would later bump those elements around individually on the computer, but I don’t mind the rustic crowding here — it does look more hand-drawn.
And I really like this dense, all-over pattern — especially after the very open chickens of November.
I scanned those lines, cleaned them up in Photoshop and Inkscape, then added colours and texture in Photoshop. Anyway, here are the underlays, without the lines.
And here (for personal use) are the printable versions — two pre-coloured and one to colour in yourself. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or by buying me a coffee or two through Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/tanaudel. Both are greatly appreciated!