The Screech

The Screech came out of, like New Adena, aimlessly playing around with functions in Illustrator. Digital doodling for the win!


01 I started out by throwing some basic shapes together (seen left), which could began my mind going in a few directions. It had a space invaders vibe. Maybe retro constructivist bio-hazard sign. Even Looney Toons came to mind, what with that circular background.

The first thing that had to be done was flesh out the background. So the swirls were duplicated in various forms to break up all the whitespace. Then I ditched all the little “baby invaders” under the big thing sitting in the middle. After sculpting the form a bit using Illustrator’s nifty live corners (sadly only available in CC and above) a figure with some sort of crest/mask appeared flying towards me.

03I added a ground plane element made up of simple shapes in Illustrator’s blend mode, in order to make it look like we’re not just flying through space. Maybe some interdimensional ramp/road he deploys from? But who is HE anyway? The crest/mask at this point was looking skull like and also rabbit like. However I have been working on a rabbit themed superhero for years as well as his evil doppelganger, and this was neither. So rabbits are out.

With some pushing and pulling, an avian shape started to emerge. And with some more pushing and pulling and adding and subtracting of design elements I got myself an owl with a pacific-northwest feel.

15-02When you think supernatural owl folk from the pacific-northwest, you think suddenly think Twin Peaks! Well, I do anyway… So rather than stick to the grayscale that I was intending, I added a red overlay (red curtains) to see what would happen. I also turned the path and the owl guy a bit to be more dynamic.

Added more “roads” in the background at various angles because: A) the background was still a bit too blah, and B) you got to figure there’s more than one way out of a red interdimensional netherrealm. I mean, that’s just science.

For the finishing touch I added a grainy HDR’d overlay for the vintage effect and put in “The Screech,” which finding a semi-unique, dynamic owl-theme name is getting hard. Ghost Owl, Black Owl, Dark Owl, etc… all taken by varied industries. But “The Screech” seemed good and has grown on me.

Now all is left to come up with an actual back story, and try to draw him standing up. One step at a time.

And speaking of steps (segue!), here’s an animation of some of the steps involved.

A video posted by Ryan Livingston (@rmlstudios) on

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Ryan Livingston

Ryan Livingston

Artist and Designer from Melbourne, FL, USA.

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