Tuesday, April 3, 2018


This is a Great Horned Owl.

Very stylized, of course - much artistic license was taken in its design, as you can see. But more on that later.

The kids have been asking for an owl for a while but for the longest time, we couldn't agree on a particular species. Emily wanted a Barn Owl and at least one of her other sisters voted for a Snowy Owl, from obvious Harry Potter motivations, and which I also secretly favored because their perfectly round heads are my absolute weakness. Eventually, however, we decided on the Great Horned Owl. Two reasons - one, those distinguishing ear tufts made it instantly recognizable as owlish, and two, it was more colorful. It's surprising how many animals in the real world are brown, black and grey (and combinations thereof), which makes it easy for their Menagerie renderings to all look like each other. So I try to emphasize color and distinguishing features whenever I can to make each creature more distinct -  and interesting.

Even within the species, there are many variations of Great Horned Owls, so I simply picked colors and characteristics that were most easily identifiable (to me, anyway). This one was mainly brown, with highlights of tan/gold, white, black and grey.

It was a lot of fun working out where to put all those colors. Let's deconstruct!

With the Eagle in this earlier post, I used faux fur to create the texture of the feathers. For this Owl, I wanted a similar texture entirely from layers of bald fabric, in this case fleece. Here is the chest, which is 6 overlapping rows of scalloped-edged fabric.

The feet are Peacock's feet, with black felt claw tips.

The head of the Menagerie base pattern has a turned-up pointed snout so I adapted those templates to shape the Owl's flattened head. In place of the pointed snout, this Owl has an additional diamond-shaped crown,

which attaches to its face in a pointed forehead, forming a brow under which the eyes sit. The original throat of the base pattern has now become the Owl's face - apart from the Squid, this is the only other upright Menagerie animal whose face is not upturned. 

Here is the side view, showing the flattened crown.

Out of that crown seam come the ear tufts.

Some back shots.

Here's the tail -

Here is the wing in three layers -

lighter brown coverts over a fringe of dark brown feathers, sitting on a black underlayer.

While fleece is a soft fabric, all those layers together make robust enough wings for posing.

Next up is our last and possibly favorite Menagerie critter (if not all-time, at least in Season 2)!


  1. I am sooo loving all these different explorations of menagerie animals. The recent birds have been particularly fun, but the Eeyore squid is pretty awesome too. Thanks for taking the time to share them!


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