Jun 2, 2010

Anybody Like Thumbnails In Their Gumbo?

It was about this time last year that I decided to start drawing and sketching again, after a 10+ year hiatus from the hobby (more on that here). Not longer after that, I drew these five monsters for a local art show at the Henning Cultural Center, titled "Chaos Theory."

I felt that I drew these creatures in a very specific way, and since that time I haven't taken the opportunity to revisit that style on any of my drawings.

This year, I was one of three men asked to be a part of another local art show at the Henning Cultural Center, titled "The Drawing Board." This time we were asked to provide a variety of very quick sketches and drawings, then work on three pieces that we would develop further into finished pieces.

One of the subjects is "Local Flavor." My concept for this Southwest Louisiana piece is actually based on a local icon called "Gumbeaux Gator," but I plan to re-imagine Gumbeaux, then draw him in the style of the monsters I created last year.

Gumbeaux was created years ago by a local artist, and since then I've been asked to draw him on a number of occasions for the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau. I've done my best each time to emulate the style of the original artist (Marty Myers), but each time I've received criticisms that my Gumbeaux Gator looked to "mean" in the face, where Marty's Gumbeaux Gator was playful and fun. 

I've decided to take those criticisms and use them as the inspiration for my re-imagining of Gumbeaux. What would a talking, dancing, Louisiana gator really look like if he were to stand up-right, play music, and wear human clothes? Certainly, there have been many toon gators out there, so I'm not really re-inventing the wheel here. I'm just taking my specific style of creature creation, and applying it to a local pop-culture icon... and making him look mean.

As required by the gallery, here is the thumbnail sketch of my initial "real" Gumbeaux Gator concept, side-by-side with the recent ink drawing I did for the 2010 Washington Mardi Gras t-shirt design.

I plan to start the finished piece sometime this week. I'll post it once it's complete. I think it's going to be a really fun drawing to work on, and I'm pretty excited to be revisiting my monster style of illustrating. I hope you'll follow along for the creative process.

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