Story behind the art : The purple elephant

8:28 AM


It's time for another "Story behind the art" episode, and today I am taking you down memory lane to yet another of my early doodles which has given birth to many variations over the years. 

It was back in 2017 when I was just starting selling on Society6 and Redbubble and still exploring many styles and techniques. It was also the time I decided to "splurge" on a set of Sakura Koi brush pens (this is an affiliate link), the very same markers I used to draw my minimalist blossom.

The idea of drawing an elephant came from a doodle I drew in a sketchbook, and I decided to refine the doodle and turn it into a proper illustration on quality bristol paper (which is the type of paper you need to draw with markers). Sakura Koi brush pens, like all water based brush pens, are water soluble, so I used a wet paintbrush to dilute the color in places to give it a watercolor kind of effect on the body. 

Those markers,  even the lightest in the set were super pigmented and saturated, so I only colored a small part of the elephant with it and then with the paint brush dragged the color all over. I used the other brush pens without diluting them to color the details on the blanket.

Then, into my scanner it went, where I scanned it at 1200 dpi to get a large size enough to play around with to put on some of the bigger products Society6 has to offer. After a little editing in Photoshop, the first commercial version of that design I came up with was this one : 

Which was also my second sale on Society6, a just a few hours after I uploaded it (and promoted it to my audience). To this date, I have no idea who bought it. 

I since then came with several other variations including a quite cool pink paisley version

The most well known version, has to be the "3 elephants" version though, less on Print on Demand than because of the Etsy stickers and keychains I created from it : 

The great thing with small doodles and illustrations is that you can easily come up with many versions and colorways in Photoshop and can revisit a theme over the year. This elephant is one I can take out of my asset library and experiment with to see what else I can come up with because it's just one easily editable element.
I have quite a few designs that fall in that category of assets I can combine and tweak and play around with. Many of those experiments were not worth saving, but it's fun to play around still. 

If you are a surface designer and illustrator, you probably know by now that anything old can be turned into something new when it comes to your illustration assets, all it take is a little bit of Photoshop and a good dose of curiosity and see where that takes you.

A few years later, I gave this purple elephant a Llama buddy, but that will be a story for another episode. 

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