So as cartoon commissions go, I had an interesting one this week – a request for a hot tub cartoon!
A friend of mine’s husband was turning 50 and as a special gift, his wife was buying him a hot tub (not bad if you ask me!).
So to accompany this was the requirement for a cartoon version of him to adorn a custom birthday card.
Hot tub cartoon concept
The basic idea and concept behind this being that the cartoon would contain a characature of him in his hot tub.
He is very keen on animals and his pets in particular, so these would also need to be included.
There was also the inclusion of the obligatory beer in hand too.
As a rule, I don’t usually (and have never done) characatures of people, as I’ve always been worried that I’d offend someone by drawing their nose too big or making them too fat.
So this was an interesting challenge for me and decided it was time to overcome this fear and give it a go!
The first step in me creating this cartoon was the usual pencil sketch. I always work in pencils beforehand, as it allows me to try and get a good composition from the start.
I started with his head, as getting as good a likeness as possible would be key to this piece and the focal point.
The saving grace with this sketch however is because he is sat in a hot tub, he has no need for a lower body, so that would speed things up.
Some cartoon pets
This was the other fun part of this composition – two Bengal cats and the cutest little Dachshund you’ve ever seen!
Initially I had the idea of having the Dachshund in his other arm (unoccupied with beer) and then the two Bengal cats riding up on his shoulders to stay dry.
I wanted convey two completely different personalities in the cats and have them not only interacting with each other, but also the main characature.
However, upon running the rough sketches past the client, they said that the cats would be more likely to avoid the water. So to get round this, I simply re-drew them at the foot of the hot tub – one looking pretty and the other getting ready to pounce on a mouse!
A splash of colour
The colouring process was relatively quick on this one, as we only really needed skin tones for the characature and a nice pale blue for the hot tub.
I used a slight inner shadow on the ‘ribs’ of the hot tub walls too, as this added a little more of a realistic shading and also wouldn’t overpower the details in the main cartoon characters.
The Bengal cats were great fun to colour, as they have a mottled pattern all over. This was easily attained in my style however by simply finding two colours – a tan and a charcoal grey – and simply drawing straight in on top.
And just to top him off, I added in a pair of sunglasses with a slight opacity and highlight.
As this piece was to be used on a custom birthday card, it would also require some textual content – namely a great big ’50’ (might get there myself one day if I’m lucky!) and adorned the remainder of the piece with a blue backdrop and an array of balloons and other party-related confetti shapes.