Sunday, June 1, 2014

Vultures always come back for seconds

Before I dove into storyboaring Vulture Counter-Culture, I did a fair amount of research about these intriguing feathered friends (or frenemies perhaps? Vultures are creepy y'all).

I started at the L.A. Zoo, which features two species of vulture - the Andean Condor and the King Vulture. These two birds might be related, but judging from their appearances alone, they are for sure third cousins several times removed (disclaimer - I am not a biologist).

The Andean Condor is gigantic as far as birds go. Their wingspan is ten feet, which is quite a sight to behold when they open them up all the way...Michael Keaton as Batman status.

I was fortunate/unfortunate enough to catch the King Vulture right as she was feeding. So that means I watched a vulture eat a dead rabbit. After initially being severely grossed out, I got over it and started drawing. In the end, I'm that glad I caught's what vultures do best after all.

The main vulture characters in Vulture Counter-Culture, however, were not destined to be Andean Condors (too big) or even King Vultures (they have a turkey-flappy-thing on their beaks that just wasn't right). But thanks to the world wide web, I was able to scour some invaluable information and images to help narrow it down.

I settled on the White Rumped Vulture of Africa for Noir, the story's villain. With their bald heads, sharp beaks and black feathers, they look like the most typical vulture...which was perfect for the by-the-book Noir.

When it came to "cast" Violette, the sweet and unique star of the story, I wanted to find a vulture that was distinctly different and more colorful than the others. I could not BELIEVE my eyes when I stumbled upon the White Headed Vulture. She looks like what I imagine Tilda Swinton would look like if she were a vulture. Elegant, poised, sharp hair styling...and my god that collar.

The beginnings of Violette's design.