The Warty Chameleon

This is the artwork that I’ve created for Illustraciencia, International Award on Scientific Illustration, in the 2017th year.

I personally adore the idea of this contest; nature is an infinite source of inspiration (there is so much to draw, indeed)!

That’s why I decided to participate once again – I took part in the contest a year before, too, and my artwork my artwork “South American redtail catfish” became one of the 40 finalists. 🙂

The Concept

It all starts with an idea; I was choosing among different options and making a final decision wasn’t easy. “Should I draw a toad?” I asked myself. “Or should it be a squirrel or a hedgehog?”

It is like a whirlpool: one you conceived to create something, you have so many luring paths waiting for you.

Finally, I settled on the lizard concept because these animals are amazingly textured. It is a pure joy to draw all these small and big scales with a whimsical pattern!

So let me introduce you Furcifer verrucosus, also known as the warty chameleon. 🙂

The Process Of Creating

Below is a story of transforming an idea into a real tangible drawing and then – a digital illustration.

The Inking Part

At first, I had to draw the chameleon with ink liners. I used only small-width tools to achieve a truly refined and detailed illustration.

The original size of the artwork is a standard A3.

Here I have a short video of the process:

By the way, if you are interested in learning more about my process of drawing lizards with ink, please check out this tutorial, published on Envato Tuts+.

There I have given away all the secrets! 🙂

Scanning and Editing In Adobe Photoshop

After placing the last ink line onto paper, I scanned the artwork.

It is important to remove all the unnecessary information from the file: the texture of paper, pencil marks, and any occasional garbage. I do the work manually, with a brush of the white color.

I removed the white color from the file, so it was just black pixels on a transparent background.

By the way, I have a post about my process of editing and perfecting scanned ink art. There you can explore all the tips that I use.

The Digital Painting Part

Then it was time to add the color.

I created a base for painting; it was an opaque shape of a beige color that repeated the contours of the chameleon and the wooden piece. The transparent pixels should be locked!

I started with layering brownish shades and tints – nothing too detailed or complex:Then I added color accents. Aren’t the bright greenish hues look so harmonious in this pattern?

Small green sprouts on the wooden piece are there not by chance; I decided to add them to create a united look in my artwork.I created a new upper layer in a multiply mode for drawing with dark shades – this is a great way of sculpting the objects and making them look more three-dimensional.

I also added a background of a warmer beige color. This one looks better than a classic white base!

The artwork was almost complete.

I added more refined color nuances, accented the highlights and reflexes, and shaded the strokes that looked too clear-cut.

I hope you like the result, and the process was interesting, too 🙂 Thanks for taking the time!

I’m grateful to the organizations and contests that help the artists to be inspired by the world of nature, animals, and wildlife. There is something wonderful and everlasting in the tradition of scientific illustration!

The page of this artwork on Illustraciencia’s website is here.

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