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Back in the Saddle (Again)

April 24, 2009

I’ve another sketch re-visitation to share this morning. It was my sole warm-up yesterday before I began work on the new Spiderwick book. This time, I looked at a 1994 pen & ink drawing of a Dungeons & Dragons orc guard.


There is something comical about this guy that I do like – especially with his mix-matched armor and pencil-thin spear. But his “orcishness” (new word, you know what it means) is pretty lame. He’s basically an exaggerated guy with big ears and a pig nose. If memory serves, orcs are indeed porcine in appearance, but also capable humanoid warriors. Time for some serious reference.


I gathered some photos of wild pigs from books I had here in the studio and from the internet. I also referenced Charles Knight’s Animal Drawing, from 1947 (though still in print thanks to Dover Publications). I grew up loving Knight’s dinosaurs and ice age paintings and his knowledge of animal anatomy is superb. Sure enough, he had some wonderful pig studies. I was able to start building my own anatomy on a quick gesture:


I twisted his snout a bit to indicate that perhaps he smells something (like a rotten human). Also, I hunched him over in a neanderthal-type stance, which somehow reads more thug-like. The hairiness of wild pigs made me think giving him a dense beard…which then led me to think of vikings…so it was off to another reference book for more detail gathering.


The DK Eyewitness series was MADE for artists. Within a few page flips, I found how this fella’s leather-padded armor was constructed, as well as his pilfered shield.


I did a blind eye and battle-damaged ear to indicate past damage suffered on the left side of his head. I’ve done the blind-eye/detached retina thing a lot, I know, but it does add a creepy factor.

Okay, that’s it for now…more next week.

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.