Welcome back to the greeting card saga! When last we left our heroine she was working on this and that, trying to make art and a solid buck, coincidentally, hoping the former would get her the later.
Alright, enough with the third person Tarzan take. In brainstorming ideas for holiday illustrations, I wanted to mash up wintry wildlife with classic Christmas associables (yup, just made up a word there, I do it all the time). I’ve always had a fondness for the chipmunks of the world, they’ve got stylish outerwear, they’re adorably dinky, and when their cheeks are bulging with their scavenging spoils, you almost forget they’re rodents! Plus, with an ultimate on-the-go storage solution like that, they’re on par with pelicans for portable pantry convenience. They’ve got a kangaroo pouch on their FACE.
I used to go tent camping every summer at Lewey Lake, in upstate NY with my grandparents, and the chipmunks there were insatiable. A one pound bag of peanuts would be handed out to a readily revolving line of chipmunks that would snatch the beshelled legume right out of your hand. These half pints were so brazen you could lead the little minions up your leg with a peanut and stroke their stripes while they mashed the prize in their maw. It’s fascinating to watch a chipmunk decide just how each of their winnings will be tetris-ed into their cheeks, blorping them out and re-arranging till they can stow and go.
And there’s the inspiration for this next piece! I imagined a cheerful little chipmunk stealing around on a roof of some festively decorated house and trying his luck on a string of appropriately sized, shiny, glass… edibles? Worth at shot, says chipmunk! I originally intended the scene to be cartoony, but as i was sketching, the concept translated better as “ridiculous-in-a-good-way” through a realistic style. My good old Genius tablet became my lap buddy for the next couple days, hatching in the little fur ball and making him look just as soft and pet-able as they are at Lewey Lake. I had a grand time making the light bulbs look like they were glowing, and that wasn’t sarcasm! …Neither was that. No, seriously, I love doing detail stuff like the glow of the green bulb through the chipmunk’s cheek, the bulb colors on the fur, the reflections in his eyes – all that stuff makes it seem more alive to me, and that’s a pretty neat feeling to achieve from a static image.