My Big, Fluffy Howling Coyote
Ever wondered how an artist takes an idea from concept to creation? Well, I don’t know how other artists do it but here’s a peek at how I went about building my first howling coyote.
I often just scratch designs out right on a piece of steel but in this case, since it was a commission for a client, I wanted to get the position just right. I searched online and looked at hundreds of photos that popped up under “howling coyote” and came up with a basic sketch.
This one was a real challenge for me. I worked hard to figure out my angles and get a general sense of the shapes I was going to need to create. Ultimately I had this to get me started:
From this sketch I created my first howling coyote… or my first attempt, I should say. Looking back, I’m pretty sure there were some wolves mixed in those photos because my first attempt was not the scrawny creature I was expecting. He was about the healthiest looking “coyote” I’d ever seen.
I was really happy with the outcome, but the more I looked at it the more he looked like a big, fluffy dog begging for a treat. Or maybe he saw a butterfly. I don’t know, but he didn’t have that scrawny Wile E. Coyote look I had in my brain. I wanted angles. I wanted coyote angst. This created a bit of a dilemma for me. I really liked this dog, but I really needed a coyote. I wasn’t sure if he could or should be modified or if I should start from scratch. When I woke up the next morning I new what I had to do. This big doggy was going under the knife.
Jon is amazing at identifying the characteristics that make something unique so I enlisted his help with the redesign. We took the chalk to this guy and went at him like plastic surgeons. A little nip here, a little tuck there and voila!
Following the pink chalk line with my torch, I changed the angle of his mouth, modified his jawline, took off several furry inches along his belly and scruffed up his ear. Within about 20 minutes I had turned my fluffy dog into a lean, mean howling machine.
I’ll tell ya, it was not easy to make that first cut but I’m glad I did! He now looks much more like the howling coyote image in my head and I’m thinking (hoping) the client will be happy. What do you think?