Monday, October 14, 2013

The Penguin Project

Here's a project that I was working on around the time I was also working on the Harley Quinn page. It was a collaborative effort with a client looking to create a webcomic about the domestic life of penguins. Here we have Frank, a stay at home dad and his wife Margie, the corporate breadwinner. (We didn't have a name for this series going in, but I would have campaigned for a pun name like "Ice Pop".)

Unfortunately its been weeks since I last heard from my collaborator so I think this comic may be effectively sunk. However I thought I might share some sketches and talk about my thoughts to perhaps serve as an example to future clients as to how I work through my projects.

My earliest ideas weren't much more than actual penguins in human clothes, albeit very boxy. They got a little rounder and more anthropomorphized in later drawings.

This is Frank. I thought it would good to establish his character by showing him taking on a typical "Dad" activity. I choose grilling because it was the last thing you would expect to see a penguin do. 

I also tried to distance these drawing from being animals just wearing clothes by juxtaposing components from one part of their character into another. In this case, I shaped the orange patterning on the back of a penguin's head to try and resemble the kind of crown you would see on a middle aged balding man. The coloring on his chest was also meant to emulate manly chest hair.

This is Margie. Since she was supposed to appear very professional I looked to photos of classy actresses like Meryl Strep and Glenn Close for inspiration. This was helpful when it came to designing hair without resorting to just putting a penguin in a wig. Plus it was another great opportunity to blend two aspects of the character together, by flowing the black and white patterning from a penguin directly into her business suit.

My sketch of her on the left came off as looking too snobby especially with all the upward lines in her hair. For my second sketch I shortened her beak and made her hair bigger, but also simpler.


  1. I love these penguins! I want action figures and the works. This is just too cool. I hope you are able to return to this and make it a regular ongoing comic. I just think this is the right amount of cute, fun, and humor that would make for a great story. I know I have said it before, but you are soo talented! I loved reading about your process for creating the look of Frank and Margie.

    1. Thanks Michael. I always enjoy talking about my inspirations and process so its great to hear that someone like yourself appreciates it.

      I don't know that this series is in the cards but I would love to make an ongoing comic of my own. While don't have any definitive subject in mind just yet, I'd probably look to create a series about nature's funniest animals: Humans!

    2. Well I am glad that you share your inspirations and the whole process. That is really great.

      Also, humans would make for a great series. lol If only we could find out what other animals must think of us. lol

    3. Funny you should mention that as I just got an e-mail the other day about possibly doing a comic collaboration about a woman who deals with the antics of funny animals, so we may have an answer to your question yet.


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