Toning down the violence just a smidge
As is often the case with my NoSleep drawings, the idea for this artwork popped into my head pretty much immediately. I knew I wanted to depict the protagonist in the process of drawing one of her dark predictions, and I knew I wanted it to be the one about her friend having an, uh, altercation with some dogs.
From the story:
Tammy’s demise was drawn, a snarling pack of dogs tearing at her legs and snapping her bones between sharp, bloody teeth. The girl smiled in the picture, petting one of the dogs as though it weren’t tearing the flesh from her forearm.
This posed three interesting problems:
- I am not at all comfortable drawing violence against children
- I know there are people of all ages enjoying the horror podcasts I love, and I didn't exactly want to traumatize themjust yet…
- Good luck finding reference pictures for a kid being torn apart by dogs
So I decided to "settle" for drawing a couple of vicious dogs. Since I depicted the protagonist still in the process of drawing, I didn't feel like it took away from the story.
In order to concentrate on the pencil drawing, I created a Smart Object in Photoshop. You can think of Smart Objects as a kind of drawing-in-a-drawing, and it provides the benefit that I can use the transform tool to match the perspective up to the block the kid is drawing on. While it shows up as "distorted" in the main drawing, the Smart Object itself is still a regular oblong canvas, so I can concentrate on drawing the dogs and not have to worry about matching it up to the main drawing exactly.
My initial idea was to draw the dogs with an actual pencil, but sadly, I lacked the time to do so1. Instead, I relied on a couple of trusty brushes which emulate pencils quite nicely!
(By the way, if you're interested in emulating traditional media in your drawings, check out my free Skillshare video on that!)
After laying the groundwork with a shading brush (which you would usually achieve by holding the pencil at an angle and hatching), I used progressively finer brushes to build the detail in the fur layer by layer.