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.
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.