Nani & Keoni revisited

Some of you may remember a painting I had made of Nani attacking a city of carrots.  Recently, Tony and Joyce just had their baby (congratulations!) and asked me if I could tweak the colors to match the nursery room.  They also asked me if I could do a cartoon of their new rabbit Keoni.  This one is Nani…

… and this one is Keoni…

I wanted the feel of monster film, so I used this scene from War of the Worlds as my inspiration.

I did an initial sketch based upon a screengrab from Google Maps.

I began to paint over the screengrab with brushes and cut out pieces from other photos.  I wanted the corner to be reminiscent of Times Square without duplicating it. Originally, Tony and Joyce wanted two square paintings that would be framed next to each other, so I arranged the composition so that the painting could be split into two separate paintings but when brought together they can be seen as one.

Initially, I wanted to do a theme the corner buildings having a fruit basket theme; but then after a while, the shape of buildings were getting a little hard to work with, so I ditched the idea and went with regular building facades.  I also changed the positions of the rabbits to make them fit better within the painting.

The next step was to adjust the values since the painting was starting to look homogeneous.  I turned off the fruits layers and desaturated the painting so I can work in black and white.  I also wanted my light source to be coming in from the left just above Nani’s head.

I turn on the fruit layers and begin to start smoothing out the shapes.  I also decided to include throw cars on both sides since it’s unlikely that a downtown area like this would be missing cars during a monster bunny invasion.

I begin to detail the buildings by overlaying them with elements from my photo collection.  Also, the bunnies were unintentionally looking scary, so I puffed up their cheeks and added texture to them to add a little cuteness.  You will also notice that I put the original Nani painting on the jumbotron in the center island of buildings.

Here, I begin to put in more color overlays for the foreground elements.  I also switched up the composition of the vegetables on the right side.

Jae mentioned that Nani didn’t look as imposing as she did in the original sketch.  So I decided to bring her up way into the foreground to give her a more ominous presence.

When I started this painting, I used my original painting as reference but was later told that Nani had spots.  So I went back and overlaid some color to her.  For the eyes, I was also trying to go for a Totoro look for the rabbits, but it wasn’t working out.  Here’s an example.

So I gave them bigger pupils instead.

After a few more tweaks, corrections, and a lens flare, I have the final result.  I could spend more time cleaning up the painting, but that involve many, many more hours.  Things don’t have to be super polished, and a little noise and smudges make for a more organic product.