Playing with Vultures

My sister sent me a sketchbook for Christmas she picked up on a recent trip to China. It's a wonderful little book -- just the right size to carry in my computer bag -- and it's beautiful the way it's decorated and bound. Its cover will challenge me to fill it with jewels as lovely as the cover itself.

When I moved to coastal Georgia, I was amazed at the number of black vultures here. They have such great silhouettes! I'm fascinated with them. Naturally, this is the first thing I put in my new sketchbook:

When sketching though, I couldn't help but think that the shape of the vulture resembles a hunch-backed woman with a huge bustled skirt:

I began wondering what she might look like if she were fleshed out a bit more, so played around a bit with my watercolors:

One of the tricks for me when illustrating is making sure my work stays fresh, and I think my watercolor is a little overworked -- it lacks the spontaneous quality of the sketch that I like so much. I'll have to revisit this, and will keep posting.

It's great getting such wonderful Christmas presents. You never know where they'll take you, or who they'll introduce you to!