A while back I said I'd post some process images from the Animalympics, so here's a step-by-step overview of the Falcon Sprinter.
The falcon was unique because i didn't use any reference for the body. All the bodies and poses on the sprinters, the bulldog, and the warthog were from imagination. I still used extensive photo reference on the heads and coloring. The other animals were taken from actual photos and videos of ahtletes from various books and the internet (Go YouTube "Hammer Throw" if you've never seen one before! It's bannanas!)
Steps 1-4 were the exploratory stages. I draw looser and smaller in this stage (2-3 inches) to get a better feel for the overall visual impact. At this point, I'm mainly thinking about shapes, proportions, and what I want to emphasize. He started out very muscular but after watching some of the Olympic sprints I knew he neeed to be elongated. By the last drawing I feel like I have a good feeling for the relation of the shapes and some level of appeal. It's now time to work full size:
Step 5 is my first light pass, I'm thinking about making the angle of the line of the shoulders oppose the hips to create visual interest. While I like the drawing, it's a bit too Cheeks, so I lightbox another drawing over top of it (Step 6) that feels more organic, and more alive. At this point I move to a blue Col-Erase pencil.
After flipping this drawing over on the lightbox to see my mistakes in construction and perspective, I find a different pose that I like a little better. Feels more kinetic, as if he's mid-stride. (Step 7) Step 8 cleans up and ties down the anatomy from Step 7, and Step 9 is the final cleanup, emphasizing clean, dark lines, and enclosed spaces to make the coloring process easier.
Step 10 - Adjust levels to turn the blue lead to a solid black line
Step 11 - Flat colors to give me a base to work off of
Step 12 - Rendering the basic forms, giving a sense of volume and solidity
Step 13 - Adding incidentals like feather markings and sunglass tints.
(Color decisions influenced by photo reference at far right)