Got CRANKY?? (tutorial)

You know you’re cranky. I know you’re cranky. Embrace your inner bird. Follow this tutorial. Post it at the Cranky Bird Flickr Group. Or don’t. I really don’t give a shit.

Make a Cranky Bird, Lesson 101:

1. Make a crazy “blob” on a piece of paper (preferably watercolor paper) with watery watercolors. Fewer colors are better, one or two at the most. Don’t think about it turning into anything, especially a bird. Even better, have someone else make you a crazy blob. Carla Sonheim made this one for me to use for her Imaginary Animals book giveaway. She emailed it to me and I printed it out. (You could even make a blob with markers, crayons or pencils if you wanted to. Get blobby. And see what you can come up with!)

2. Look at the blob. Turn it all around, every which way. See if you can find the animal hiding in there somewhere. It’s there, trust me. Lots of times, I look for the eye first. Now, use a pencil and just loosely and sloppily, create the outlines of the creature.

3. With a thin black marker (I like a Sharpie) go over your pencil lines (but leave them, don’t erase them because they will be great mixed in with it all). Hold the pen in a loose way and let your lines be shaky and weird. Go over them more than once so they look sloppy and wiggly.

4. Use other media–markers, colored pencils, more paint, whatever!– to fill in spots, create patterns and textures, and create more color interest. I’m using Prismacolor markers and just making random marks. Don’t worry if you don’t like it yet. It is just getting started and the truth is that you really cannot make a mistake. It’s impossible. This is foolproof drawing, I tell you.

5. Add more lines and patterns with your black pen, with markers, with pencils, with anything. Start thinking about the personality of your creature and add lines and shapes that go with it. My bird is skeptical, cynical, full of angst. And, of course, cranky.

(Cross-hatching and dots make it look crankier.)

(A white gel pen, white ink or a correction pen adds life.)

6. Importantly, your cranky critter has to have something cranky to say. So, do that.

See, all done. Feel better? No? Guess what? I don’t care.

Post your Cranky Bird at the Cranky Bird Flickr Group.

10 thoughts on “Got CRANKY?? (tutorial)

  1. I can’t thank you enough for your cranky birds – they have brightened every day since I found them! Mine is on the inside of a juice carton, because all my art stuff is packed away for an upcoming move, but I will be taking notes across country, and I should have some really cranky ones waiting to be drawn when I get there!

  2. Pingback: Monday #7: Flipping WordPress The Bird!! « Cranky Birds

  3. Pingback: Monday #7: Flipping You The Bird | Dar's 52 Mondays Blog

  4. LOL your cranky birds are awesome. I love them. thank you for the sharing of your tute and your drawings.
    I think i will give them a try as well. Sometimes you must make things yourself funnier to don’t get cranky as well.
    Thats why i started a while ago to draw my stories about a not driveable envirement for wheelies.LOL
    That’s really working as well to fight for better solutions. ;-D

  5. Pingback: blob animal :: cranky birds

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