As an educator with Lick Your Eyeballs Reptiles, introducing people to legless lizards is one of my favorite things. It challenges peoples conceptions and introduces the concept of convergent evolution (similar traits reached independently by organisms in similar environments). I found myself pointing out the same traits over and over again in presentations, so I decided to create a visual to complement my explanation. To learn more about these fantastic animals, check out this video put out by Lick Your Eyeballs.
This is typically the only part of my process I execute by hand. I don't worry about it looking good at this phase. I just organize my ideas and draw out the elements I want to include.
Next, I designed poses and composed the image. This is more challenging than simply finding a reference photo and copying the pose, but I find the compositional freedom makes it worth the extra work. It also forces a deeper understanding of the animal's anatomy and range of movement.
Luckily, I had access not only to images, but the actual animals. The lizard is based on Silver, a European legless lizard and the snake is based on Slinky, a California gopher snake, both part of the Lick Your Eyeballs menagerie.
I recomposed the image as a square to post on Instagram (follow me at @anooshbooks). The resulting composition was actually stronger. One piece of negative feedback I got on the original was that it was unclear which was the lizard. The square format solved the issue.
As with any project, this was a learning experience. Moving forward, I plan to work on my understanding of scales.