View Full Version : Imaginative Figure Workshop #003: Unusual Pets & Their Unusual Owners

04 April 2009, 08:08 PM

Background image from - Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) - Orpheus with Animals in a Landscape, Oil on canvas, c.1640 (

Imaginative Figure Workshop #003: Unusual Pets & Their Unusual Owners

*2D or 3D*

For this Workshop, I invite you to create a character or narrative scene / illustration with the theme of Unusual Pets & Their Unusual Owners. It's up to you as to whether you want to create concept art or an illustration, be it in 2D or 3D, traditional or digital media.

You can choose to create either just a character, or a character within a scene - in other words, you can do either:

concept art or character sculpt for a single character
concept art or 3D model for a narrative scene
illustration or character sculpt for a single character
illustration or 3D model for a narrative scene
2D or 3D

I would encourage you to write a background story for the character / scene.

Go for QUALITY, not quantity in this piece. Polish this drawing / digital painting up to the best of your abilities!


Some General Guidelines (mostly applicable to 2D but can be adapted for 3D):

For those of you with your own process, feel free to ignore this part. But for those of you without a working method, you may find the following guidelines useful:

Part 1: Decide on a concept / narrative and do your Research

Decide whether you are going to create a creature or place the creature/s within a narrative.

Reference Resources:

As always, Google Image (, Flickr (, Pbase (, and your own books or books are all fair game as reference resources. Just be sure to not directly copy any copyrighted references that you find - you must significantly alter any reference image in order for it to be considered legally yours. Also be sure to look through some of your favorite artists as inspiration. Check through some of your favorite blogs or image sources to get your creative juices flowing.
If you have other resource sites that you would like me to link, please let me know.
Part 2: Ideation


Create a set of small, rough thumbnails in your sketchbook (traditional or digital) before embarking on any finished piece. Try to convey the mood and atmosphere of the piece before ever adding any details. Think of the light source, the mood which you want to convey and a background story for this morphed self-portrait and creature.
Project Considerations / Criteria:

Be creative! Try to evoke a mood as much as fulfill the "basic" requirements of creating the theme of Unusual Pets & Their Unusual Owners.
Consider a strong sense of lighting / chiarascuro. Look at the work of Caravaggio ( to get a strong sense of lighting. Note the clarity of the light source and the strong sense of design via lights and darks alone.

As always you can use the media of your choice - 2D Traditional or Digital.
Feel free to work in Black / White / Grayscale only or in full color.
Part 3: Final Drawing / Digital Painting (or 3D Render)

Once you have nailed down your concept and selected your best thumbnail, work up the linework for your piece and shade / paint it. Post your work here -

PLEASE - NO MORE than 10 total WIP images (including your final image).

Please subscribe to this thread or bookmark it for future reference!

Have fun!

04 April 2009, 08:16 PM
PS, I'd encourage you to broadly interpret the definitition of "pet" - try not to go for something stereotypical (female as pet, badamshing, wow brilliant) - see if you can push beyond the obvious tweaked definition to come up with something far cooler. :)

And definitely I'd encourage weird imaginary pets, not just the "wow, a leopard would sure be an unusual pet".

As per usual, subscribe here to receive email notifications of future Workshops on the Anatomy Forum:

Notification of New Open Figure Drawing Workshops (

Also as usual, you are encouraged though not required to also post your work here:

Personal Anatomy & Sketchbook Threads (

Some *suggestions* for target deadlines (mainly 2D oriented, can be adapted for 3D):

4/9: Sketches due - at least 8 different concepts / thumbnails.
4/16: Finished Drawing of ONE of the concepts due.
4/23: Refined Drawing / Grayscale painting of ONE of the concepts due.
4/30: Final Drawing / Painting Due.

Please post all of your work for this Workshop to this thread.


1. This Workshop runs for FOUR WEEKS, between April 2 - April 30, 2009 (whatever your midnight is).

2. Any reference imagery that is not yours must be significantly altered and cannot be directly copied without permission / citation from the copyright holder.

3. The work created in this Workshop MUST be TASTEFUL, SINCERE, and for the purpose of serious study of the human figure. Those who post silly, disrespectful, or tasteless work will have their posts deleted immediately and will no longer be allowed to post on this thread.

3. YOU MAY POST NO MORE THAN 10 WIP IMAGES (including your final image) FOR THE DURATION OF THIS WORKSHOP. While you may comment as much as you wish, anyone posting more than 10 WIP images TOTAL will have their posts removed. Please respect this rule.

4. Artists who post comments and critiques of other artists' work on this thread must be RESPECTFUL, POLITE, and offer CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. Flaming will be NOT be tolerated, and constitutes dismissal from this Workshop.

5. I will be offering the occasional comments / critique - however, the main focus of the Imaginative Figure Workshop threads should be on Group Critique and interaction. :)

7. ANY MEDIUM or STYLE may be used: Traditional or Digital Drawing / Painting.

8. 3D Artists who wish to use the topic to create 3D models are free to do so.

9. Please limit the SIZE of your POSTS to 800 pixels WIDTH x Appropriate pixel LENGTH. No huge posts, please!

04 April 2009, 08:27 PM
that's like perfect for a project I was thinking of - and 4 weeks sounds realistic too :) might give it a go!

04 April 2009, 08:42 PM
FAQ: ;)

1. Do I have to apply to participate? How much does it cost?

No, just post. It's free.

2. Where do I post my images?

Please post images to this thread. In addition, you are encouraged, though certainly not required, to also post your images to a Personal Anatomy & Sketchbook Thread (

3. How often can I post?

You can post as many text replies as you wish, however I ask that you limit the number of WIP / Work in Progress images to 10. Reference images don't count toward the 10 WIP images.

4. I can't participate in this Workshop, but would like to participate in future Workshops, how do I know when they begin?

Subscribe to this notification thread ( and you will receive email updates when new Workshops are posted.

5. Can I work in 2D and / or 3D?

Please feel free to work in either, or both!

6. Can I work in Traditional or Digital Media?

Please feel free to work in 2D and / or 3D, Traditional and / or Digital.

04 April 2009, 02:07 AM
lol @ the topic guys... I hurt missing the bunnys run (sold my soul to a client for that month) so hopefully I can do this one with you all

I made this a few years back, I think I'll go for a similar theme but different approach

Looking forward to this thread:D

04 April 2009, 02:47 AM
i havnt drawn properly in so long..blame the workload!!..i'l try to do this workshop for sure.might help me get back in shape

04 April 2009, 05:37 AM
April 2-23rd is 3 weeks *spawns a teenage girl giggle*

Will surely come up with something, and easter holiday is about to start so more free time :bounce:

04 April 2009, 05:45 AM
April 2-23rd is 3 weeks
Gah, you're right - I had that mapped out in the target due dates, but missed in the banner. Giggling does not suit you. ;) The banner's now fixed.

04 April 2009, 05:53 AM
Well, it's my damn pet... keeps pulling my leash too tight so everytime I try to bark, a giggle comes out :argh: :D

Actually, I am thinking to reverse the role of pet and owner... have a human sitting on a pet's lap in my mind... You know, the kind of pet owner that loves to go on the picture with their pet...

04 April 2009, 07:31 AM
hmm nice topic ill see if i can come up with something :D
btw is it 10 wips limitation+the final piece or is it 10 wips including the final work like the previouse workshop ?
and am i limited to creating only 1 pet and 1 owner :D ?

04 April 2009, 07:38 AM
hmm nice topic ill see if i can come up with something :D
btw is it 10 wips limitation+the final piece or is it 10 wips including the final work like the previouse workshop ?Logic will lead you to the right answer. ;)
and am i limited to creating only 1 pet and 1 owner :D ?Nope. :) Please feel free to interpret.

04 April 2009, 07:46 AM
Cool challenge. Looking forward to seeing some cool characters and critters..

04 April 2009, 09:43 AM
haha.. great topic, rebecca. looking forward to see what you guys come up with.
have fun.


04 April 2009, 11:32 AM
Really inspiring workshop!
Im joining, and I wanna do something,, but since Im preoccupied I got today and maybe tommorow to finish.
Hope to see some cool entries cos the theme is awesome.

Im making this one in 3d and this is my initial sketch, called it The Knitter, ignore the title on the image.

04 April 2009, 05:03 PM

Spider's head,, need to model one leg and then copy it all over,, changing the ratio between parts of the leg.
I hope to finish all the modeling by the end of the day, as I said,, dont have much time at my disposal, but I fall for this workshop and want to get it done..
Seeya soon!

04 April 2009, 05:23 PM
AIR, haha, awesome! :D Hope you can finish this, love the critter so far. :)

Edit - btw, it occurs to me that the woman might be knitting 8 pairs of stockings. :)

04 April 2009, 05:32 PM
great progress AIR :D i like the spider ^_^

04 April 2009, 06:10 PM
AIR.. Long time no see bro, it will be cool to watch you nut this one out;)

04 April 2009, 06:59 PM
lol @ the topic guys... I hurt missing the bunnys run (sold my soul to a client for that month) so hopefully I can do this one with you all

I made this a few years back, I think I'll go for a similar theme but different approach

Looking forward to this thread:DLol, I forgot to mention that this image gave me a chuckle - hoping to see your entry for this one!

04 April 2009, 07:29 PM
Love the 8 pairs stocking idea Rebeccak:thumbsup: Il try to incorporate it...
DaddyMack_ true, long time no see,, sure hope to see you crack something aswell :beer:

seeya soon with more updates

04 April 2009, 09:30 PM
Hi everyone,, the spider is finished as far as modeling being concerned,
It was meant for this spider to be naked, just like the sphynx cat's are,,, though, Il probably paint in few hairs of fur in post later when I start wraping it up..
This is what spider looks like..

Now I gotta model the Knitter lady, no sleeping tonight for me :/.....

04 April 2009, 09:34 PM
woah AIR - you're flying and the spider's great :) Really like your idea in general!

04 April 2009, 10:40 PM
AIR, looking awesome. I'm glad I had a kitten instead of him growing up though. ;) Looking forward to the old lady!

04 April 2009, 01:31 AM
Here's the lady wip image,, continue tommorow, tired.

04 April 2009, 03:05 AM
Cool concept :)
Hopefully find time to join this one :)

cheers all
a. :)

04 April 2009, 09:47 AM
not a frequenter here, although when i have time i go through the workshops and practice a little=)
always wanted to participate in one but was always too late=))) but im going to go for it now!

my concept is "the wooden puppet and his pet she-goat" this is just the preliminary sketch really, im gonna gel it onto a3 eventually, lots mistakes here...i'd really like some critiques about anatomy and values that is my weak point
didnt use any refrence yet=)

04 April 2009, 04:00 PM
This is what I have till now,, the idea turned out neat, so Il try and spare few more days on this one.
Knitter lady is nearly completed,, need to finish detailing one hand, then, copy it, and repose, gotta finish the shirt, lot of jewlery and decorations in head and neck,, I got inspired by watching Steve Mccurry photos from his book "Looking east", so this is some lady that could be living in tibet or that area.
The spider is low poly mesh roughly posed to give me idea where his legs would go,, and to get some info about interaction with the lady's skirt, later I will repose original spider.
Gotta make carvings or some sort of relief in the chair,, need to figure out the patterns first..
Aswell as modeling small narrow table with knitted stockings and needles.

Cant wait to get into post/psd phase,, and to see more works from others turning in too.....

04 April 2009, 04:20 PM
AIR, that's hilarious. :) I'm going to try to put something up today.

reaveress, welcome, would like to see what this looks like after reference has been used.

04 April 2009, 04:24 PM
not a frequenter here, although when i have time i go through the workshops and practice a little=)
always wanted to participate in one but was always too late=))) but im going to go for it now!

my concept is "the wooden puppet and his pet she-goat" this is just the preliminary sketch really, im gonna gel it onto a3 eventually, lots mistakes here...i'd really like some critiques about anatomy and values that is my weak point
didnt use any refrence yet=)

Hi there!

Im not much of a teacher character my self, but I can tell you what works for me.
Use lot of references in drawing and modeling, look at things as much as you can, observe, compare, then observe some more and compare some more, and when you've seen like 10-20 or 100 goat legs and whatever part of anatomy you intend to use for your she-goat character,, you can start drawing them, that goes for the human part of she goat aswell.
In phase of preliminary sketch I guess it's not necesary, but a good time to start looking for them.
In time, you'l end up doing cool stuff without need of going trough any references,
Although,, I allways prefer having some reference to look at while working.. it's just easier that way, and the chances to get greater results increase, but again, it depends on what your goal is, and what you wanna do.
Looking forward to see your progress!

04 April 2009, 05:26 PM
thank you for your expansive comment!=) yes i find using refrence extremely useful, although i fear i'm too dependent on it, so sometimes i do something totally refrence-less, and then try to fine-tune it=)

04 April 2009, 07:51 PM
Greetings (
I love your idea. Lady with a pet spider. I notice your scrambling and wanted to point out, only the sketches are due on the 9th. The finished image is due on the 30th. Hope that helps you a little.

I also am going to try and submit something. Look forward to your finished image.

04 April 2009, 07:53 PM
Hey Rebecca!.. great subject!:bounce:

Hey Damir! Great to see you here! Good going so far.. the idea totally rocks!! :thumbsup:

04 April 2009, 02:54 AM
just some ideas.

04 April 2009, 04:16 AM
Blackxedgexkid, haha, these are cute and have great potential! I like the turtle with the man's head, would like to see that character in different poses and different expressions, and for sure it would be interesting to see the owner depicted. :)

04 April 2009, 09:29 PM
Hi there. I am pretty new here (in terms of posting my work) and also pretty new to drawing in general. I really like the topics of these workshops and since this one lasts longer, i want to give it a try.

The idea is a world of intelligent plants with tamed animals. So because this carnivorous plant still lacks feet of its own, it uses a pet frog to hunt flies for it.

04 April 2009, 12:28 AM
Hey Onii, welcome. :) Very cute! Here's a great source of inspiration for your and for everyone's projects which I found:


04 April 2009, 12:54 AM

This is another snap of the knitter lady,, she is more or less finished modeling vise,, the rest will be photoshoped.
Next post will be final image.

04 April 2009, 01:21 AM
nice one - I do like her jewellery!
Ok I'm in :)... I've been thinking about what pet to make and here's my idea: A woman with a squid like creature on her head - well the bottom part will be like a squid [with the tentacles around her head and neck], the top I want to be more like a mixture of some funny sprite, goblin and a cameleon... weird I know but I think it will work :) Here's a start - did the head sculpt - from an old base mesh - pretty simple but I want to do an illustration - something I never do - so I wont' work too much on her and I will concentrate on one view. I also did a quick projection to start the texture... Next stop some tests in xsi with shaders and modeling the critter :)
I think I kinda want a glamour like shot, trying to make the creature look like a weird hat or something ;)

04 April 2009, 01:29 AM
So usually I'm more the lurker type... but I felt really strong about these preliminary sketches

I feel that 3 and 6 are the strongest. Although I was also thinking of making a composition of ladies 1, 3, and 6 all together... opinions?

04 April 2009, 11:14 AM
reaveress great idea with the mannekin!
AIR Awesome job on the spider model! The head of the grandma needs some anatomy corrections: eye sockets are missing, nose more extruded, the mouth is positioned too low, the overall shape of the head seems rather flat. Great concept, looking forward to see your updates!
Blackxedgexkid funny sketches! I can see a kid pushing the 6-eyed turtle :D
Onii Nice idea, I'd suggest doing some frog and plant studies to get the feel of it.
Intervain great to see you in here :) Women with weird hats are so hot! LOL
tbrosati nice start! I like 2 and 3, but keep sketching until you find one that really pops out!


So I wrote me a nice lil story last week, had it laying around for a while and when I finally started doodling, I decided to ditch the story... it was about an alien creature having a human pet as a competition "toy". (kinda like pokemon but reverse...)

After doodling some more I found a creature head that I kinda like:

So I started thumbing:

After a while it occured to me that the sequence of these thumbs has some narrative qualities... call it a happy accident :)
So I might stick to this comic-like setup...

This thread is too quiet! C'mon peepz... show us your progress!

04 April 2009, 12:10 PM
hehe thanks Johan..

I like the 3rd thumb, probably becasue it reminds me of the Neverending story :)
The head design is really cool too!

tbrosati - 2 is my favourite :) Looking forward to what you go with!

04 April 2009, 12:04 AM
Hi folks,

Sorry for the belated reply -

A quick sketch. I'm not sure I really want to paint digitally for this one, I'm going to use this as an opportunity to get some traditional ideation going, with possibilities for a finished digital painting down the line.

AIR, can't wait to see the finish - this will be a good one!

Intervain, great start!

tbrosati, keep working on your sketches, and definitely check out some reference. Maybe try some non frontal poses as well. Keep going.

Johan, cute stuff, keep going with the variations.


04 April 2009, 02:56 PM
Cool subject! I would really like to find the time to participate. An image popped up in my head imediately after read about this workshop. I've thought about creating a chameleon in zbrush for a while, and this workshop would be a perfect opportunity to do it.

Here's my preliminary sketch. Allthough I think chameleons are pretty cool, and unusual here in Norway where I live, it's still kinda ordinary, so I thought maybe I'd make the owner a bit extraordinary? What do you think?

04 April 2009, 03:46 PM
Welcome Markuss, fantastic sketch, it's great how the pair match! I guess there is that bit about pets resembling their owners. :) Looking forward to the progress and the zbrush version!

04 April 2009, 08:18 PM
Thanks Rebecca, allthough looking at the first sketch I notice some glaring mistakes in the proportions and posture. I used the good old flip canvas trick, and that helped me see some of it a bit more clearly. I also extended the canvas so I could paint more of her body. That also helped me see how things worked together. I really need to practice my drawing and painting skills more. Here's an image showing my progress on the concept sketch today. I hope it's improving.

Anyways, there are some interesting and fun contributions in this thread allready...

Intervain: Nice head sculpt. Looking forward to see how your model develops.

NR43: Nice sketcing. Keep going!

Rebecca too: Nice start! Will be interesting to see how and what it turns out to be! Great loose style...

Air: Awesome spider! You really have a head start allready, great progress!

04 April 2009, 02:21 AM
I really like the colours you're going for! very fresh look :)

had almost no time to work on mine today - played around with what I have in xsi and toyed with lights... so here's a crappy render with makeshift textures and an overpaint to establish the idea a bit more... next post probably at the end of the long weekend - with something more substantial ;)

04 April 2009, 04:42 AM

04 April 2009, 04:50 AM
Good stuff folks, keep it coming. ;)

gpeaslee, nice to see you posting - I'd give the arms and legs more love though, definitely check out some anatomy books or references online (which exist in abundance) - for sure the arms and legs need some work. Also, be sure to have 8 concepts and not just one sketch.

04 April 2009, 08:59 AM

idea sketches

04 April 2009, 02:05 PM
Some nice entries starting to roll in... cool!

Here's another idea:
Totally unhappy with the bird-croc. I hope I can find a more interesting pet for that girl.

04 April 2009, 04:25 PM
Sonya Lee
Drawing the Fantastic: first stage

Unusual Pets

Unusual owners

04 April 2009, 04:34 PM
Michelle, these are cute! I'm digging the lower right hand sketch, the girl with the alien on her head, and the hippo on the chair - what is your favorite? Would love to see both ideas explored more, maybe tweaking the anatomy and the position of the characters relative to the viewer. Good starts!

Johan, interesting sketch, they both look sort of evil, is there a reason?

Sonya, really liking these sketches! They all exhibit some nice investment in terms of thought process and execution, nicely done. Lots of possibilities here - though less defined, the cow / slug / snail cracks me up, but as well there seem to be lots of other sketches with great potential. Good stuff! Kudos on doing the separate sketches for the owners, would like to see those maybe a little more extreme, maybe choose a pet and then make the owner somewhat resemble it in style or in theme. Keep exploring and pushing your ideas. :)

04 April 2009, 01:36 AM
Finished it!
Wanna thx Rebecca for very inspiring workshop! thx :)
Looking forward to see other works finished aswell.
Posted this in finished 3d works also.
Modeling done in zbrush, heavy post in photoshop, used two photos also,, one is the background, and other is spinning wheel_didnt felt like modeling it....

Here is small story behind my image!

She was an old Knitter living beneath mountains of Amdo, one of Tibetan northeast regions.
She lived lonely life on the outskirts of a small village in which all people thought she was a witch.
Indeed, this old lady wasn't ordinary by many standards, one in particular, her calling.
She made here living by producing rare red silk known by the name Arakna.
Nothing unusual with that at first glance one would say, but, those who knew her better, knew where she got that silk from.
She kept few giant spiders in her manor as her pets, whose webbing, if properly refined, could produce this though shiny rare material.
In this image we see her absently gazing ahead, while holding one of her nasty pets.

Hope you'l have fun watching it as much as I had fun making it :)

04 April 2009, 01:38 AM
ps, I know you mentioned we should restrain from big post's, if so for the final,, I'l edit to smaller, to 800px width.. regards!

04 April 2009, 01:43 AM

WOW!! What a fantastic image, and in such a short period of time. Great stuff!! :)

I'm curious about how the background is created - is that modeled also? I'm curious to know what parts you created in 2D, and what parts in 3D - would be fun to see a breakdown of how you created your piece!

Fantastic stuff! :)

04 April 2009, 12:33 PM
Hello everybody. Nice work here and many interesting concepts.

Here is mine.

04 April 2009, 01:30 AM
woah nice finish AIR!

gingerbreadman - good start - looking forward to more!

hope the thread hasn't died... c'mon folks :)

anyway, played around with my ideas - going for 'space pilot and her companion' ;) Maya and Mo - just the names that came to me...

little progress on both this time:

04 April 2009, 04:54 PM
Nice idea evolving Intervain, looking forward to see this one finished!
Love the symbios relationship going on here.

04 April 2009, 01:30 AM
I am in, let see i can do in two weeks. great subject.:beer: I am new here hope to have a good time here.

04 April 2009, 07:21 PM
I added color. Of course, everything needs depth and more details but I'm working on it.

04 April 2009, 02:43 AM

04 April 2009, 12:30 PM
Just next WIP. I will probably change colors a little and add more details.
Anyway, it seems to be still "incoherent".

05 May 2009, 01:40 AM
Final image but I think when I look at it in a month or two I would be surprised that I sent it with so many things to improve.

Intervain - I guess you are very busy but keep going, please.:D

05 May 2009, 01:43 AM
Final image but I think when I look at it in a month or two I would be surprised that I sent it with so many things to improve.

Intervain - I guess you are very busy but keep going. I hope you want to put texture on you Maya and Mo.:D

07 July 2009, 11:34 PM
whats up with the workshops T_T ?

01 January 2010, 11:58 AM
whats up with the workshops T_T ?

I was wondering the same thing. It doesn't seam like many people are active in these parts anymore. It's really a pity, this section is among the best in cgsociety in my opinion. I hope someone can breath some life back into this and hopefully we can get some publicity on the front page or something. :)

01 January 2011, 09:18 PM

well Long time to get here...and nobody.. Hi Jubpei and everybody...
Just drop by then go back to work


happy new year guys. this year is year of rabbit!

03 March 2011, 01:08 PM
Yes I really miss the workshops !! where are all the people ? :(

03 March 2011, 03:14 PM
I'm afraid since Rebecca isn't around, there hasn't been a person found willing to pick up the Anatomy forums as a moderator. Being a moderator is quite time consuming, so I don't think it's easy to find someone who has time for it...

03 March 2011, 08:37 AM
What do you think about contacting moderator and make a pubblic call for a moderator helper/new moderator ? We did it for lighting challenges and it worked, it's really a pity to loose such a valuable space !

03 March 2011, 05:52 PM
Hello guys,

Just to be clear about the Workshops - while they had a terrific run and I am not opposed to running more on occasion in the future, these were never guaranteed to last into posterity. Frankly the quality of work and participation diminished over time - the Master Copy workshops generated some beautiful results, and I am extremely pleased with their outcome. However the purpose too of the Workshops was to educate people about the value of Master Copies, which can be done by anyone, at anytime, anywhere. Everyone is welcome and expected to forge ahead with personal study - it's the reason I tied together the Workshops to the Sketchbooks area of the forum. It cannot be reasonably expected that these Workshops will continue, for free, forever. It is my intention that they serve to educate people about the value of Copies in the bigger scheme of learning how to draw and paint.

The imaginative workshops never had the same quality of outcome, except in a few instances; which is why they became less interesting to run.



03 March 2011, 08:59 AM
Thanks Rebecca, for clearing this out.
I'm sure that everyone willing to learn will find what they are looking for in the existing workshop threads.

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