Monday, July 25, 2011

Or, The Whale

So I started off my summer right with tackling Herman Melville's zillion page Moby Dick. 3 months is plenty of time to set insane goals and not accomplish them, right?

Right. So I read a book about a rocky boat and a dude named Queequeg and seamen and I drew up some big, ugly sperm whales.

I've been a big fan of Alex Pardee's artwork for a couple years now. You know how it goes---his stuff influences my stuff.

He has such a neat appeal for things that aren't so appealing. He makes nice-looking ugly things. I like that.

So now it's my turn to make some big, crusty monsters of my own. I develop some weird fixation on sperm whales and doodle these big, hulking leviathans whenever I get the chance.

During some internet research I stumbled on an album cover for the band Mastodon. I really took a liking to their Moby Dick album art. I originally mistook the paisley designs on the whale's head for scars from squid tentacles.
I ended up liking my interpretation better. That's why most of the whales I drew have sick ugly scarred up brows and heads. I wanted it to look like they'd been torn up by squid encounters

I created an earlier piece I titled "Or, the Whale" which was essentially just my favorite doodle from some sketchbook batches. This drawing included many concepts I used in the final piece.

 So I'm lounging around in my basement doodling and listening to some decent radio station that I'd concocted on Pandora, when "King Rat" by Modest Mouse comes on. I don't know if you've ever seen the music video, but you'd better take a look. It's pretty creepy.

The video is completely nautical and loaded with some big nasty whales of its own, so this is right up my alley. The sound of the song itself helped inspire my final piece, but the lyric "I went down like a ragdoll" is what really gave the image.

These were my original thumbnails for the piece. I'd like to say a lot happened between this part and the final product, but it was just filled with on the spot changes and decisions.
This kind of just happened. The End.