Process: The Dog and the Sparrow

This fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm is not the most well known out there. But I totally needed an excuse to paint my dog (or at least use him as a model, because he is an #artdog after all). Now he is friends with this sparrow.

If you're curious, you can listen to  the story here

Personally, I found The Dog and the Sparrow really gruesome, and only slightly comical. But that's how most fairy tales are. I tasked myself with  illustrating a kid-friendly version, where everything is just nicer and more magical. And of course, I needed leaves and glowing stuff.

If you are interested in where I got some inspiration, just listen to this soundtrack from That Game Company's video game, Flower. I'm giving you all this stuff to listen to today!


There's something really gratifying about starting in pencil. Plus, you get to keep all the nice parts in the final painting. Aren't they cute?


Bumping up the value is the next step. It's much easier to block in the darks and lights digitally. A brief wash of color helps too.


The color is blocked in. I wanted this illustration to be warm and happy, so what better color to use than yellow for those flowers?  From here, I go into the details.


This shot is after the first critique. A little feedback goes a long way! On the right you can see an overlay of a grouping of flowers. I photographed a bunch of them two summers ago with my trusty sidekick,  Fancy Cam. It was just a matter of dropping it in to figure out  how more flowers could be added in that corner.


And here it is, another crit and many hours of detailing later! The color has been bumped up another notch, flowers and grass filled out,  floating leaves polished, and glowing stuff properly attended to. I see my dog in this illustration and it makes me very happy.

Do you have an animal in your life that inspires you? Share your story! Thanks for reading, and don't forget to subscribe and share this post if it made you happy.