I accidentally created my own coloring page (part 1)

When I had a little downtime last week I was looking for inspiration in the coloring book pages that’re being released by art collections and museums. The hashtag I saw is #colorourcollections… it’s random and weird and there’s so many styles and subject matters! I love it.

In the collection of The University of Sussex, I found a wonderfully weird person-pig mashup from a book called “The Works of that Famous Chirurgeon Ambrose Parey, 1678.”

(Great title, right?!)

“The figure of a pig, with a head, face, hands, and feet of man.” From the collection of the University of Sussex  Library “The Keep Coloring Book” #colorourcollections
“The Figure of a Pig, with a Head, Face, Hands, and Feet of Man.” From a book called “The Works of that Famous Chirurgeon Ambrose Parey, 1678,” in the collection of “The Keep Coloring Book 2020” from the University of Sussex Library #colorourcollections
Reference drawing and my rapidly evolving sketch. A humanish head on a pig body with people feet and hair swept into a nest occupied by a fancy goose.

Having struck gold, I started to draw. The goose showed up immediately, before I even knew what the body of the creature looked like.

I sent a pic of this sketch to a friend and she said that the feet pulled at her strangely. I felt very complimented!

I wanted the feet to make sense, so I felt that the body had to contain something else, not just look like your average person-pig body. I thought about adding windows and making the body into a vehicle, like a bus, but then imagined a whole world on its back!

I remembered a book I’d read of hand drawn maps from the Middle Ages, how the artists included discernible buildings and landmarks in illustrations of towns and cities. There was a whole city on her back, and it was then that I realized her body was that of a tortoise, not a pig.

But the goose was still looking at something else, something that was not the city or anyone in it. Perhaps it looked at the Sun? Maybe a snake dressed up as a sun, carrying celestial and atmospheric props (as one does).

I wanted the snake to be wearing something on its body…something to give it personality and humor. I thought about robes, armor, and jewelry, but I didn’t want to distract too much from the town, so I settled on a tank-top with dangling fringe. And a little bit of tail jewelry, since the snake god is a bit flamboyant!

By this point, the urge to start adding color was too hard to resist. I dropped in color for the tiny trees and rooves. Sometimes adding color helps me better visualize the depth and perspectives.

But once I start coloring, it’s hard to stop. I still had only just started to imagine the background of the scene, yet I went down an image search rabbit hole of shell patterns and colors. Then the same for snakes…I had a hard time imagining the pattern I’d want, but I knew I wanted a lighter palette and tone.

I settled on dioxizine purple and titanium buff for the body, and shades of yellow and red for the headdress. Like a great albino python with a flair for the theatric!

And that’s where it sits, currently. I wanted to post this last Friday, but I decided to give myself the weekend to see where it was going before posting. Have to say, I’m not disappointed!

More to come!

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