Groot – 2015 – Ink – click for full view on site!

Did that sprout in the pot just start… dancing?

As a semi-formal disclosure before I begin- I have no idea what Guardians of the Galaxy is (besides a film and a comic series), I’ve not watched it, and I only know of the existence of Groot thanks to my sister. I can’t really say I’m much of a TV and films person at heart. I am very interested in strangely detailed anatomical organisms (which pretty much describes Groot), though.

There were ideas abound when it came to approaching this piece.

I was thinking about a full digital piece, or an ink and digital combination, or watercolour (with or without ink), or just ink, or even graphite pencil. But which would give the best results? While watercolour would have definitely suited certain aspects- ink had a few strong points, too. While I try to refrain from immediately reaching for pencil with future pieces as I’ve done a fair bit of pencil work recently. Still, such careful details were required.

I settled on ink as I’ve yet to really fully become comfortable with an ink style. That and I have those really awesome Copic Multiliners in everything from the ridiculously small to the average brush nib. Which, in all honesty, were probably one of the reasons this piece came out as it did. I don’t think I could have achieved the same results with my old ink pens.
As for composition… that was a bit looser than usual. I didn’t want to constrain too much or try to fill out a particular amount of space.

As I usually do, as I can’t reference realism for coffee beans, I took a stylised approach to the finer details. Adding perhaps a little more of a woody, rough, dry texture than Groot would actually have. It’s also a massive bonus he’s basically a walking tree- I love trees. Been drawing them for years. I also tried to influence a little structure and form in his face. Make him look more like a person- or at least humanoid- while maintaining the chunks (of bark?) protruding from his head.

The eyes and eye sockets were a particular challenge, however. I didn’t want to fall back on heavy blanket shadows with no detail. I didn’t want to make all of the eye sockets dark, either. So finding the fine line (liner pen puns) between adding some shading, but not overdoing it, and also not falling back on old habits, was a task I came back to several times.

It was a fairly comfortable experience, though. I felt like I knew what I was doing the entire time- which is rare at best- but also tells me that I’m probably getting a little back into the swing of things. I remember days when I could just transfer thoughts to paper no matter how complex, different, or strangely composed. Those days are somewhat behind me but pieces like this give me hope that I can at least catch up to them again. It’s nice to have a clear goal and see that come together without any real difficulty to a desirable result.

In any case, I hope you enjoy Groot! I also apologise for the lack of wood puns in this post.

Have a nice week, all!


Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Marvel Comics.