Year of the Otter

Last year around this time, I was finishing up the final artwork for Sizing Up Winter. The cover features a river otter slipping down a snowy slope into an icy pond, which is meant to be a close up of one of the inside spreads (pictured below).

sizing up winter otters in pond sliding swimming childrens book owlkids

It was a struggle to recreate the river otter’s likeness. Their colouring and proportions have to be just so, or else they end up looking more like seals or bears or groundhogs, even. After a handful of revisions and tweaks to the cover otter’s face and body, I was finally satisfied and all was completed and sent to the publisher.

I was far from done illustrating otters as you’ll see.

otter face closeup paper collage

Soon after, I found myself working on a third otter piece. This time it was a gift for my boyfriend, Kevin. Inspired by one of his otter drawings, I set out to recreate a similarly lush seaweed setting by recycling some paper greenery from a past project involving two goldfish (you can view it here).

It was pretty clear by now that I secretly enjoyed the trial and error process of recreating  this puzzle of an animal.

framed otter art succulent dragonfly paper collage illustration

The drawing I was referring to (pictured below) is titled Twists & Turns, and is one of many beautifully detailed napkin and coffee sleeve drawings that Kevin posts and writes about on his blog: http://kevindrawingonnapkins.com/

kevindrawingonnapkins_otter

otter process drawing sketchesA couple months later, and I was back on the otter track. I began working with Crush on another animation project, this time for Seattle’s Woodland Zoo.

My job was to stylize each of the featured zoo animals, giving them a simplified, geometrical, Charley Harper sort of look. Among the long list of animals to be drawn was the Asian Otter.

“Oh goody”, I remember thinking, as I was quite confident in the otter department by then. It was the quickest turn-around drawing I had ever made, and for good reason I guess. The lion cubs were another story!

Crush designer, Jullian Ablaza, would later transform each of my drawings into beautifully rendered vectorized art. (You can see an example of our process to the right.) Jullian did an amazing job with palette and pattern, and inspired me to consider using a little adobe illustrator in my future art projects (a skill I hadn’t quite mastered yet).

As well as designing some of the animals, animator Yoho Hang Yue, really brought everything to life! You can see for yourself in the final Woodland Zoo piece below.

So if 2013 was the year of the otter, I wonder what’s in store for 2014?

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Year of the Otter”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Hello

My name is Ashley Barron and I'm a Toronto based illustrator. This is my online show & tell of new artwork and anything else I find inspiring. Thanks for taking a look :)

my website:

my website

New Book!

Kyle Goes Alone

Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join me on Instagram :)

Buh-bye little guy. See you in a week! 🔥👋 Spent an afternoon learning how to cut and arrange glass for this soon-to-be patterned bowl. It was so fun! Check out the class offerings at @verbeekglassstudio if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at glass fusing. #glassfusing #glassfusion #glassfusingart #glassfusingclass #glassfused
26 pounds of mulberries picked with @nfftt 🍇 Wish I had a photo of us in action but I couldn’t spare a hand to take one. Five of us were holding up a tarp as a sixth stood on a ladder to shake the above branches to loosen the fruit. It rained mulberries! ☔️ #mulberries #urbanfruittrees
A little Baldwin reunion.
A pic of my old studio/bedroom at Baldwin. (2013) The outside ivy was determined to cover my windows, and one summer it succeeded. At first, I embraced the whole tree house-feel of it. I didn’t need to use my blinds...it was kind of freeing. However, the leaves grew thicker, and the light grew darker and eventually my windows started to feel like walls. I was being swallowed up! We borrowed a ladder and managed to trim it back, but not without some serious 💪. Ivy is one tough #%*&$!
👑
This assignment had me thinking of my parent’s place up in Norland. My mom has two or three hummingbird feeders that constantly need refilling. 🌼 . . . . #hummingbird #hummingbirdfeeder #hummingbirds #hummingbirdfeeders #paperbirds #wildlifeillustration #cutpaperillustration #illustration #cutpaper #papercut #papercutart #torontoillustrator
Some hummingbird-friendly flowers: #canadalily #beebalm #wildcolumbine . . . . . #papercut #papercutart #hummingbird #hummingbirdgarden #paperflowers #cutpaperillustration #wildlifeillustration
Yay! It’s summer! 🌞🌞🌞 Hard to believe I was collaging this together back in the grey-glum days of February. (Remember when the sun used to set at like 6pm?!) All of the artwork is now complete and I can’t wait to share ‘My Ocean is Blue’ with you come spring 2020. @kidscanpress . . . #myoceanisblue #papercollage #collageillustration #kidlit #kidlitart #kidlitartist #picturebookillustration #picturebookart #spring2020 #cutpaper #cutpaperart #torontoillustrator
Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: