I've been working on a very exciting project lately; a wine label illustration for Fox Hollow Vineyards, part of Casola Farms in New Jersey. Since their beautiful farm was historically the site of fox hunts, we thought it would be humorous to portray a fox in a hunting outfit! This perfectly suited my preference for painting well dressed animals.
I always begin with rough sketches to get an idea of what direction we would like to take it. First we tried various hunting elements such as the horn, riding crop and riding hat.
Once we decided on a horn, we tried many variations. Here are the 3 finalists. I still favored the round horn for aesthetic reasons but in the end the client preferred the straight horn.
Once we found the perfect pose, I had to refine the sketch which meant holding a horn-like object and looking in the mirror (in this case a long fluted vase) to see how a fox might naturally hold a horn providing he had thumbs. I also dropped his shoulders and gave him a more relaxed stance with one hand behind his back. Now that I have the drawing on the actual primed and toned wood panel, it is time to start painting, the most exciting part!