So, the making of the AWOL Owl! I decided that if I really wanted this blog to go further than my previous blogs, I had to do everything -or nearly everything- from scratch, using minimal resources from other websites. And as we all know, it all starts with a good mascot :)
Hooting for Inspiration
I actually have no idea how to hand-draw owls, honestly. So I had to Google and sift through info overload (and the resulting inferior feelings from really really good illustrations). Below are four favourites!
I looked at the attributes I liked most from my favourite illustrations and pulled them together. I also knew I wanted my owls to wear shades, because, you know, they're suspiciously AWOL and all that. PLUS... I really like pastels. And seafoam. So the main colour palette was already pretty much decided (can I further convince you that seafoam + light orange are a really good mix?).
To add some texture, I looked up corrugated texture to get that uneven, 3D lined feel for the main body. (Oddly enough, inspiration for this came from a visual error: the Photoshop page showed the owl as being striped when it actually wasn't, and I thought it looked better that way, so I added it in). I also used the brush tool to add some strange splotchy fur (experimented with this for a while; it might've been flowers, haha!).
The final products are the result of feedback from my parents: to add shading for the shades so it wasn't too one-note; to make the eyes open so it wasn't sleeping, and make the pupils bright and visible; and, most importantly, limit myself to 2-3 shades so it was "easier to remember" (thanks, Dad!).
Lessons from the maestros indeed.