Monday, July 06, 2009

Elephant Factory!

So I finally finished my elephant factory. This is inspired by a short story called "The Dancing Dwarf" from Haruki Murakami's collection, "The Elephant Vanishes". In it the main character works at a factory where they manufacture elephants.

This took about 5 weeks, and is probably my most complex image to date. The final print size is 20 by 50 inches, and it took forever to save. Everything was drawn at a larger size than the final print size except for the factory and the clouds which were drawn to size.

Detail of the trunk trimmer:

Fork lift and hoist guy:

Trunk and ear assemblers:

The end of the line. Also, in the background, the ear washer:

And then loaded onto trucks, and driven to their final destinations:

So I've got some other stuff that I'm occupied with at the moment: Applying for a grant, teaching a comic book making class and starting a figure drawing group, so it might be a while till my next picture, but right now I'm planning on drawing a scene from Doctor Dolittle.


  1. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Just started reading your blog. Love this illustration!
    How long does it generally take just to color some of these pieces after setting up the images on the computer?

  2. Thanks! It's great to get the feedback! Since most of this isn't seeing any kind of publication outside of the web, people like you are the only audience I have at the moment.

    It took about a full week to color this one, but that's in between other responsibilities, but I do try to clock in at least 30 hrs of work a week.

    I tend to use a lot of layers and a lot of selected areas, and the color changes a lot throughout the process, adjusting hue, saturation and contrast in different parts of the piece until I've come up with something pleasing. Often what I end up with is a lot different than what I imagined in my head, but my basic strategy is to stick with analogous color schemes and split compliments.

    For instance: the dominant colors are blues and grays, and this is enhanced by complimentary oranges and yellows on the ground and the forklift. Then the background is higher key pastels, pushing it back, contrasting with the darker, richer red trucks, with accents of red and green throughout the piece.

    Contrast is always the key, and with a busy piece like this, you need to keep the colors simple so the detail isn't lost in a fruit salad of color, but interesting enough so it doesn't become a blur of monochrome.

    My new coloring technique has more of relationship to painting than what I used to do which was more about flat color, so the coloring stage is where I really start to render, and can be pretty time consuming. Since this is a very new technique for me, I'm still getting the hang of it, but I'm slowly starting to increase my speed. Without the pressure of deadlines there's no reason why I shouldn't spend as much time as I need to make the best picture I can make.

    So Right now I'm revamping my portfolio, moving away from editorial and focusing on more kid friendly material, and once I've done a few more pieces in this vein I intend to go after freelance more aggressively, but at the moment I'm just slowly but surely trying to put my A game into every piece.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. This is so cool. Hilarious concept, well executed.