Sunday, 14 June 2015

Elephant No. 134: Big Fat Markers

I don't know why I felt I had to buy these big fat markers, but they were only $2.50 for four, so it wasn't much of an investment. I'm sure I thought I needed them for something specific at the time, but for the life of me, I can't remember what that was.

I'm not terribly comfortable with fat markers and bold lines. In fact, I don't think I've ever even tried drawing with something this big, so I wasn't entirely sure how to use them. I also didn't want to work on something large, as I thought it would be more challenging to work with fat markers on a small page. I used 9 x 12" (22.8 x 30.5 cm) cheap sketchpad paper for all of these

This was my first attempt to play with the markers, just to see how they worked. I didn't like this drawing enough to do more with it.

Then I decided that fat markers might lend themselves best to a graffiti sort of style. Rather than draw an elephant, however, I decided to create an elephant by scrawling the word "elephant" over and over again.

The first graffiti-word elephant was done without an outline. I was distinctly underwhelmed. I can draw elephants in my sleep at this point, but somehow adding a new medium made it awkward.

For my final attempt, I made a light pencil outline of an elephant, then filled it in with the word "elephant", layered in six of the eight available colours. For the eye, I began with the "e", then continued the rest of the word out to the edge of the forehead. In other places, I crammed the letters tightly, overlapping a lot. I found it surprisingly difficult not to end up with big lines where I didn't want them, but I was happy enough with the final result.

It's certainly not the most polished thing I've ever produced, but I rather like the concept, and will probably try it again as something a little larger.

Elephant Lore of the Day
When a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal in April of this year, it destroyed villages, towns and cities. One of the most heartbreaking scenes of destruction was the Kathmandu Valley, where World Heritage Sites like Lalitpur's Patan Durbar Square were flattened in an instant.

Amid the destruction, however, this elephant survived. Taken by my friend Saša, who was covering the earthquake for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, it sat at the base of one of the square's four temples.

Elephant in Patan Durbar Square, Lalitpur, Nepal, April 2015.
Photo: © Saša Petricic

The temple, as you can see below, was utterly destroyed by the quake. It is astounding that the elephant survived—and survived intact, no less.

The destroyed temple.
Photo: © Omar Havana/Getty Images

The same elephant in happier days.
Photo: © Robert Preston

My sincere thanks to Saša for taking an elephant photo for me amidst scenes of unthinkable devastation. To see more of Saša's work, check him out on Instagram and Vimeo.

On June 11, the Nepalese government announced that it was reopening Patan Durbar Square to visitors. UNESCO immediately raised concerns regarding the safety of both monuments and people. The Nepalese countered that all the requisite protective measures were in place, and that they were going ahead. Not only will tourism bring in some welcome funding, but it is also important to the Nepalese that some semblance of normality be restored as quickly as possible.


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