There seems to always be a snow storm coming on the weekend this year in the Iowa Great Lakes. It's getting to the point where I can barely check for oncoming cars as I leave my driveway each morning. I should probably redistribute the piles at some point, but I definitely don't have the energy when every other day seems to bring a few more inches and temperatures sure to induce frost bite. So, the white stuff continues to pile up higher and higher for us. My real worry is the melt. We personally had enough water from last year's melt make its way into our basement that the drywall and carpet had to be replaced. I guess Iowa's prairie pothole region wasn't meant for finished basements. Regardless, I intend to shovel channels through the tundra that is now my lawn in an effort to direct that melt to the street as best I can.
This panel, of course, was inspired by one of the state's hallmark phrases, "Knee high by the Fourth of July." Being as it's still February, it was particularly difficult to come up with anything resembling a paired rhyme. In the end, I went with an off-rhyme. The composition itself came to me the morning of Feb. 20, so this is actually one of the rare cases in which I finished the cartoon the same day I thought of it. While on my way to work, I saw what I thought was an oddly shaped bird or squirrel nest in the trees but, assuming my eyes weren't playing tricks on me, it was actually a rooster pheasant perched almost at the top of the tree. I always like the look of cardinals in the snow, so I changed it a bit. I also used the same additive technique featured in last week's cartoon in order to give the tree branches some texture. Speaking of the trees, you'll notice in the progress animation, I used a random scattering of brush points to guide the branches and make them look more natural. I feel the use of mask layers and gradient color was very effective in creating the snow drifts. The shovel, as you probably noticed, was originally the only real sense of scale afforded the viewer, but I decided to add the rooftops in order to make the drifts seem appropriately tall.
This one was pretty simple as far as sweeping color shortcuts, so it only took about three hours to finish.
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