Rachel Oftedahl

Stubborn dreamer.

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Bugling elk

I love Colorado. Love it. I know there are many states filled with glorious mountains, but Colorado is where I first fell in love with them (particularly since I live in Illinois, which is... flat...) Truth be told, I love marmots. But marmots... are animals with almost no form. After watching the first couple of videos, observing the silhouette, I decided to go for an animal of action. An elk. More specifically, a bugling elk. If you've never heard it, a bugling elk is heraldic, letting the world know it is there. To be fair, elk are huge, so they're hard to miss, even without a loud call. But I thought I'd start with a bugling elk. In honor of Colorado, who doesn't need to bugle to remind you of its magnificence.

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And it began... slowly... A very small forest was felled.

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After many a frustrating hour fighting my non-icon sketching instincts and just not getting the profile to work, I returned to the classic elk. Top right. As suggested. Sketch below.

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And after getting yet even more frustrated, since my Wisconsin genes kept insisting I just drew a deer, I returned to the bugler.

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A bit of futtering in Illustrator later and a little color experimentation. Still definitely some work to do, both gridding and color (I know, I know, it should work as a solid color, no gradient,) but I am more pleased with the proportions. I fully believe in the value of sketching by hand, absolutely, and I love doing it. But for me I have long used the computer as just a big complicated digital pencil, so further tweaking occurred.

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There was no real explanation of gridding, just a video showing a lot of circles being moved about, so I think I got the idea. It was then I thought to myself... why on earth did I choose elk with their horns? 

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But I did it, and the body proved to be much simpler. Oddly enough...

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And then I tweaked, got rid of the gradient, added a little bit of color, and eventually, since my original image had some water, gave him a little babbling water to stand in whilst he heralded his presence to the world. I hope you enjoy.

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