• Olly Jordan

Chapter 93 - The Lion King - Just Can't Wait To Be Heroes - 2020

Nala - A3 on 300gsm Watercolour Paper, Timon and Pumbaa - A3 on 300gsm Watercolour Paper, Zazu - A3 on 300gsm Watercolour Paper

Here are the three paintings that depict the heroes of The Lion King. As discussed on my first blog post about The Lion King, I wanted to have the heroes and villains to have a different colour for the mark making in the background as a way to distinguish between who is good and bad, the colour palettes are also reflected within the film, dark blues skies are used alot when the villains are on screen, then bright oranges are used for the heroes.

I started with Zazu. As with most of the portraits in this series, this was a first time of working with a bird as the subject. I think that I have done a good job at capturing the feathery feel of birds, especially in his face and neck, the feathers look individually placed. Zazu was the hardest character to find reference images, as always when working with famous characters, I collaged together something new using multiple different reference images. Trying to get a screenshot or promotion material of a bird in flight was hard, I ended up having to work from a very blurry reference photo as he is obviously mid flight so moving alot in the film. I was lucky in that the painting is so small so it is kind of passable to be able to work from a blurry photo, especially because the main thing is getting the wing pattern in the correct place, the rest like the individual feathers you can kind of make up a little bit as the artist.

I do have to be honest though, as nice as Zazu looks here, the background that you see there is not the same one as on the original painting. I don't quite know what happened but the mixing of colours on to make the background just came out very badly, I carried on with the painting anyway and once the painting of Zazu himself was finished, I tried to rework the background, but sadly I couldn't save it so now the original painting is a true mess that will stay very hidden away from people. The new photoshopped background looks really nicely though and I would use the version you see above for art prints for example. It was so unfortunate that I ruined the original painting as I sadly wouldn't have an original Zazu painting in an exhibition now if I were to have a Lion King show, but it's something to learn from I guess. The painting only took 7 hours so if need be, I could repaint it, but for now, this is just fine for what I need.

Timon and Pumbaa were the next heroes to be painted. To be honest, I was shocked at how Timon turned out, he is only around 3 inches big on the original painting, but yet I still managed to capture his personality, likeness and get that realism of fur at just that size! It makes me think that I could consider working miniature, if I can get that much detail of a character in just 3 inches, I wonder how much detail I could get in a human portrait if I worked it that small. Pumbaa the warthog, he was much like the hyenas, a scruffy and 'ugly' animal. Just like the hyenas, this took me a while to get my head around what I had created and to look beyond the painting to see that I have actually done a good job at capturing Pumbaa's likeness. I am used to working with people and animals that have a styled or groomed look to them, so working with scruffy subjects like this always throws me off, I am happy with the two characters in this portrait though.

Nala, the final A3 painting before moving onto Simba. This was actually the nicest portrait to work on of The Lion King series, I don't know what it was, but this one just was a breeze to work with. I guess it was a combination of good reference photos and there not being any different fur types, it was all just short hair really. Just like with Scar, there was a higher attention to the details of the muscles and structure than what I am used to, but that was just a case of working muscle by muscle almost like working in sections.

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