Road to a Grumpy Crow

A few hours before my HOLIDAY SPECIAL offer expired an order for came in with the following instructions:

"My creature of choice would be a crow. I love crows. People think crows are wise, and mystical, but I reckon that's probably not entirely true. They're grumpy, and badass, and think the world revolves around them. Also they have to put up with an awful lot of bad weather. They have to live up in the trees!"

The description of crows reminded me of this bird:

 Lives on trees. Is quarrelsome. Very social. Has reputation.

Lives on trees. Is quarrelsome. Very social. Has reputation.

But that is called Rook or Jackdaw. While THIS bird below is what people in my country call a Crow:

 Lives on trees and streets. Promiscuous in regards to food (will eat garbage). 

Lives on trees and streets. Promiscuous in regards to food (will eat garbage). 

So I sent a message to Richard (the person who ordered the drawing) and asked to clarify. He instantly replied with the image of this bird: 

 Screams a lot. Grumpy.

Screams a lot. Grumpy.

And another image - of the sculpture he made of the bird:

 An image of a bird who lives on trees made out of a tree!

An image of a bird who lives on trees made out of a tree!

Richard, it turned out, is an accomplished artist who besides all other things does artwork on commission. You can see his work HERE and HERE and HERE. This is the first time he commissioned another artist to make something for him. I nearly fainted from fretting: just one look at my art will make a real artist recognize what a fraud I am! But work is work. I've already spent the money, so I had to deliver the art. I must dazzle Richard with a brilliant idea so that he wouldn't see my failing at the craft. Would he like this:

 A crow's beak wearing grumpy expression is a mask covering gentle kind soul.

A crow's beak wearing grumpy expression is a mask covering gentle kind soul.

Oh, no, this can't be good enough. Let me try something more interesting:

 Communicating crows deftly defy gravity.

Communicating crows deftly defy gravity.

Meh. I could do better. There is something to the idea of Richard carving an image of a crow out of wood. He also mentioned that he heats his old cold drafty house with firewood. He is taking away trees from freezing crows to keep himself warm. How about this:

 A crow is a tree and Richard had chopped pieces of wood from it.

A crow is a tree and Richard had chopped pieces of wood from it.

Yeah,  but does the idea of a crow related to trees reads well enough in this image? Let me make it more dramatic:

 A crow is freaking out about wood chopped out of him.

A crow is freaking out about wood chopped out of him.

Not sure if the idea reads too well. Its also a touch violent. Let me develop it a little better:

 A crow sits on pieces of wood arranged like a sliced cake.

A crow sits on pieces of wood arranged like a sliced cake.

I am afraid I don't have skills good enough to render this idea clearly enough. Lets try to go in a different direction. I liked one of my first ideas of the crow wearing his beak as a mask:

 A crow is ready for a party but no trees to party on.

A crow is ready for a party but no trees to party on.

Yes, but. I like that crows are black like coal. Like a shadow on a wall. What if the crow had a shadow? But in place of his heart there is a hole for light?

 Crow has a warm heart full of light. It throws a flickery light like a burning stove.

Crow has a warm heart full of light. It throws a flickery light like a burning stove.

But black and black on a white wall will not make a lot of color. I think Richard wants color. Lets see if I can make a colorful drawing with trees being the crow's home:

 - It is my tree, my home. Leave it alone.

- It is my tree, my home. Leave it alone.

Doesn't seem too exciting. Lets return to that other crow drawing and develop it a bit more:

 - My feet may be in the trees but I dream of a house.

- My feet may be in the trees but I dream of a house.

Looks too flat, too 2D. I need a cinematic approach - foreground interplaying with background. Lets try one more time.

 The Crow's dream of a house throws a dark shadow.

The Crow's dream of a house throws a dark shadow.

Well, this is not good, but I am running out of time. Let me just stop at this and make the best of it.

 It is cold on the tree while Richard's house looks kinda warm.

It is cold on the tree while Richard's house looks kinda warm.

The one thing you may not notice at the first glance, that the snow is painted in about 8 layers: first deep purple, then navy blue, then another layer of purple blue, then baby blue mixed with navy blue and so on. You will see all the colors if you pout the drawing in water. But then you may not have the drawing. 

Richard liked it.