Story behind the art : let's go crocodiling

3:28 PM


the story behind the desing

I find the inspiration of my illustrations and designs all around me and most of them have a story behind how they came to be in the first place. Some stories are a lot more interesting and fun than others, and I decided to start a new post series called "Story behind the art" to tell you a few of these over the weeks / months. 

The first one I chose is one only my Instagram followers who read the picture captions will know about. 

The crocodile illustration

Back in January 2019, long before we knew we would be spending an eternity locked inside and unable to travel. My mom came to Mumbai with two of her friends. They all stayed for a week in the Renaissance Hotel in Powai, and when her friends left after a week, my mom then moved in with me for a few more weeks. 

That hotel faces Powai lake, and isn't too far from my place. I, like many in the area knew that this lake is home to several crocodiles but in 8 years living in the area, I never saw one. 
It's while I was in my guests bedroom, that one of my mom's friend said "Hey I think there is something on that dry patch in the middle of the lake". 
Since we were quite high up in the building, it was hard to tell, but once in the hotel's garden, we could see that it was indeed a crocodile. 

Then, over the next few days I spent with them on the hotel ground, we always looked for the crocodile which was near permanently sun bathing on that "island" 

Before I go any further in my story, I'll let you know that I am a French native speaker, and it goes without saying that I spoke French with my mom and friends, that part is very important. 

In French, we have a verb to describe lounging in the sun doing nothing : Lézarder. It translates as "To lizard" or "Do the lizard" and when you think of it, lounging in the sun is something lizards and other reptiles do a lot. 

One day I spent at the hotel we were lounging by the pool, and I somehow came up with the fact we were "Crocodiling" (Crocodiler in French) and I ended up explaining it as "Taking the art of lizarding to the next level" . 
Before you knew it, we got hooked to it, and there was a lot of crocodiling going on the whole week long. At one point, over several glasses of wine, we ended up conjugating the verb "Crocodiler" to all the French tenses (and we have quite a few) and had a few laugh along the way. 

The crocodile became one of the highlights of the week, and my mom kept asking me to do a crocodile illustration to immortalise the week spent in Mumbai with her friends. 

I finally got to it last year, while remembering that time and the fact I might not be able to see my mom and her friends in January 2021 as they were planning to because this pandemic really sucks. 

I drew the original on my iPad in a red and green palette, but as it is often the case, I ended up liking the color variations I made a lot more than the original and I published the purple and teal version first in my Society6 shop, and then most of the other shops I have. 

My mom immediately bought a couple of coffee mugs with the design to gift her friends so they could remember the trip and patient until the next one, whenever that may be.

I have since then released 2 more color variation of that crocodile. The pink and gold one that you can see on the first picture on this post, and which I ordered for myself as a t-shirt on Teepublic, and the mint and gold one because I am a sucker for a pretty turquoise / mint design : 

I realised I never created a mockup for that version so instead I am giving you the Society6 Acrylic box version of it. 

Like with all my illustrations, I explore several colour palettes and play around with a pattern version so that it goes on a wide array of products. In the case of this story, the original colour wasn't very important, what mattered was the crocodile. 
There are other of my "art stories" where the original colour is VERY important as you will find out as we go with this series. 

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