Fleas and Ticks


Recently I was hired by a publisher of Christian music curriuclum (Praise Hmyn Inc.) to do a spot illustration for a children’s song, “The Tick and the Flea”. My instructions were to depict a tick and a flea having a picnic on top of a Shitzu’s head.

Here’s the final illustration, sketched, inked, and colored in Photoshop. The client asked that we clearly see the dog’s face, so I couldn’t zoom in too closely. It was a real head-scratcher (pun intended). The only solution was to make the bugs about 1,000 times their actual size. Even then they were small, so I kept the designs very simple (i.e. four legs instead of six or eight) in order to read clearly.

Fleas and ticks are brown. I wanted them to stand out more so I used cartoony colors, which also gave me freedom not to be too literal with the designs.

The fur was fun to color. I used a hard Photoshop brush set at either 10% o 30% opacity (depending on the color) and then just built up my strokes. It’s always best to just suggest hair with a few strokes of highlight and shadow. If you try to paint ever individual hair you’ll go mad.

This is my favorite kind of illustration project: Simple, colorful, and lots of fun to draw!