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Spectacled Bear

I had a hard time picking a subject for this one. I wanted to avoid a horned animal simply to prevent myself from doing anything too similar to the example project. A tiger was my first thought, but then again a tiger is always my first thought for animal designs, and I wanted to try something different. I've done a few geometric-style animal projects in the past, including a wolf design just a few weeks ago, which eliminated that option as well. A bear kept coming to mind but, no offense to the bear, they seem to be the graphic designer's go-to animal for everything. I was about to ditch that idea when I stumbled on photos of the Spectacled Bear, which I had never heard of before. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectacled_bear

The distinct facial features were a perfect launching pad for my imagination, so I went for it.

Reference

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Initial Sketch

My pencil work was fairly simple. I wanted to get the basic structure down and play off that. Ultimately it was a bit too simple, and I shifted a few things as my work went forward. 

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Illustrator Time - Problems

As I put together my guides and main structure of the head, I quickly realized where I went wrong. I never quite decided where to go once I expanded beyond the primary circles. I was straddling the line between a triangluar shape and an oval. The look wasn't consistent enough. I needed a bit of an overhaul. Another lesson learned about putting in just a few more minutes of work with the pencil.

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Getting it Right

After a few rounds of updates, I found the interaction I was looking for. I suppose it's a common problem with designs of this type. It's difficult to decide where to cross the line between a literal interpretation of the animal and a more imaginative take on it. In the end, I was really happy with what I came up with. Especially because I had to learn and refine along the way. Incorporating the triangular details and getting a consistent angle on them really helped bring this thing to life.

I went light on the gradients and decided against texture. I loved the depth of the brilliant buffalo design in the class, but wanted something a little different for mine. I hope you like it. If you don't, I know where you live.

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