March 02, 2008
140: Failure To Leap
For Illustration Friday's theme of leap, I was inspired by the squirrel: nature's finest mammalian acrobat. My street is lined by stately, century-old American elms – a literal playground for these amazing critters – and my favourite manoeuvre is the tree-to-tree leap during the frantic, noisy and much-entertaining squirrel chase. I've heard stories, ranging from the ridiculous to the comical – to the squirm-inducing – of rare moments of squirrel leap failure, but I have yet to see it with my own eyes. But if I can imagine it happening something like in this illustration, I may chuckle.
I built this piece fairly quickly, first by creating the tree and squirrel as separate silhouettes in my sketchpad. Merged in Photoshop and complemented with a simple wintertime colour scheme, I borrowed a texture photo I took of some wood grain to lend to the tree trunk. The path of the falling animal was done in Illustrator and added to the main file, and lastly the edges and snow were included using some custom PS brushes in eraser mode, cutting away at the blue background.