Sunday, December 13, 2009

Toomai of the Elephants!

So here's the first of three illustrations for Rudyard Kipling's Toomai of the Elephants from The Jungle Books. This would be a double page spread allowing for a column of text to the left. This is a scene briefly mentioned early in the story where it describes how the elephant Kali Nag (black snake) bats away a wounded tiger with his head. I thought of this as my one opportunity to show Kali Nag as a bad ass, a flashback to his younger years.

My object here is to put together some sample illustrations for a possible dummy for a proposed Toomai book.

And a couple of details:

As before, I worked in pieces, inking each individual element and recombining the whole mess on the computer. In this one there's a bird I didn't end up using, but I used pretty much everything else.

Some textures I scanned in. All the color aside from a few highlights is cloned from watercolor and pastel textures. Here are a few examples:

The only texture I didn't make was the texture on the red cushion which I borrowed from A Dover pattern book and then tweaked using "spherize" and "distort" on Photoshop until it fit. Usually I like to hand draw everything including patterns like this, but it was easier and simpler just to use a preexisting image. It's not so jarringly different than the rest of the line art that it's distracting so I figured it was a fair enough cheat.

And some reference:

Me, acting like a maniac for some reference:

I print out all my reference in black and white to save ink because I print out a lot of reference and ink is expensive. Since I don't add color till everything's scanned this works out pretty well.


  1. This is so good!
    I especially love the trees, the figures...all of it. Very nice!

  2. Incredible piece!! And thanks for sharing the process, love the reference shots of you!

  3. Thank you both! Almost missed these! For some reason they went into my spam box. Glad you like the work!

  4. Man, your stuff just keeps getting better and better...

    The painted Toomai piece is yet another beautiful and finely-realized creation. I really think you excel at this kind of work, more so than that of the more absurd kinda stuff. Don't mean to inlfate your already very modest ego, though your work just keeps getting more 'exact' with each piece you present us. I especially love the way you complement such works with the final colours, which are spot on for the most part (though even if not 'right' at first, you take your time to 'correct' them to perfection, as evidenced in the recent Dolittle piece).

    Anyway, great stuff and thanks for sharing such 'work in progress'. I personally feel you've already found your own distinct style as an artist (illustrator, painter, whatever...), and can't wait to see the all future works as such.


  5. Thanks Ryan! My stuff is pretty bare bones without color as you can see--I rely on color a lot to add "flesh" and form to my work and I'd like to do some black and white stuff that isn't quite so reliant on contour at some point, but line is my strength so line will probably be the focus of most of my work to come.

  6. Especially love the black and whites of the tiger and the human figures.
    You captured a lot of pliance and dynamism in them.And character!