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Submitted on
August 13, 2012
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527 KB


135 (who?)
Thistle-chaser by bonefish Thistle-chaser by bonefish
The endless march of waves breaking on the shore drew and held her gaze. The roar and boom of the surf and the salt spray blowing into her face seemed to dash away some of the confusion that lay like a gray mist over her mind. Frothy water slithered up the beach and spilled onto her toes, drawing the sand from under her pads as it retreated.

- excerpt from Ratha and Thistle-Chaser by Clare Bell


This illustration came into existence in sketch form on my computer sometime in 2010, and I've worked on it in spurts since then, constantly revamping, tweaking, and changing things each time I revisited it. It was originally meant to be much simpler in execution but ended up as an artistic adventure: it was an experiment in digital painting, background painting, techniques, use of layers, lighting, and realistic detail. This is the first full painting I've ever done in PS Elements. I would do things differently if I had to do it all over again, but it was a good learning experience.

That being said, I have no desire paint tortoiseshell fur again anytime in the near future.

Newt/Thistle-chaser's colors and markings were based off of the descriptions given in the book, and I used reference photos of cheetahs, leopards, and cougars for her facial structure.

Download to see a higher resolution version suitable for desktop use.

Made in
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

I used several of redheadstock's texture brushes in this painting. If you are interested in custom brush sets that are compatible with Elements, check hers out.
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rathacat Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
With all the wonderful art in the Ratha's Challenge, I missed this, and I'm very glad I found it today. Her eyes are haunting and her gaze diffuse, just the way I described it.  Striking and lovely.  
bonefish Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm incredibly flattered to receive feedback from the author herself! Wow, thank you. :) I'm glad that Thistle's haunting, diffuse gaze comes across in my painting, since it was a part of her description that rooted itself particularly vividly in my imagination. Thistle-chaser is a character I can identify with in several ways, and I enjoyed the challenge of translating my mental image of her into a real image.
biggs2 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Love it! reminds me of the khajit cats in the game skyrim.(the face does) But beautiful job!
bonefish Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, glad you like it. I'm only vaguely familiar with Skyrim but I think I've heard of the khajit cats. I'll have to look 'em up!
thegirlcalledratha Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2013  Professional Photographer
I can't get over how beautiful this is.
bonefish Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you :)
Christianonfire7 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful. <3
bonefish Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you :)
graphiteforlunch Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist
Gah, I *love* this! Beautiful job! Deserves thousands of favorites!
bonefish Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad you like it, and thank you!
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