With witches being associated to owls I liked the idea of an anthro barn owl witch. I wanted to make a painting of such a witch with a large moon behind her, but couldn't come up with a good concept. I made many attempts to sketch a night scene with a very large and bright moon. Point of view from the bottom, as if the viewer were a scared paesant and the owl (with cape) was casting a spell on him with a meancing claw gesture.
Boring. The owl should be naked and display lush feathers, for a start. Naked owl girls are better.
But it's just a random character striking an odd pose and "casting a spell"... meh.
I found the right idea (right for me anyway!) thinking less about magic and more about the role of owls in farm life. Owls have been hunting pests like rats in our fields for millennia, along with cats and many small predators like snakes and foxes. Before pesticides were introduced their hunting skills saved countless humans from famines and diseases brought on by rodents. In spite of this many humans were quite ungrateful and considered owls to be evil spirits and signs of ill omen...
So I'll paint an owl which looks a bit like a witch, because I still like the idea, but she is not casting any spells. She is just reminding proudly to the viewer that owls have done a lot to kill mice and protect our crops. She is sorrounded by a flock of barn owls standing on tree branches, each holding a dead mouse in the beak.
I no longer do precise sketches before a painting because it's very hard to copy a precise sketch to the canvas, but this is a body shape I'm not familiar with and I wanted her to have a rounded look which reminded a caped figure, so I did an accurate sketch of her, and also plans for the owls on the background: