In My Studio: An Elephant on a Bicycle

So I’ve gotten into a bad habit recently of starting a movie on Netflix and then becoming completely immersed in something else while it plays. I probably only glance at the film (usually hidden in some forgotten tab) once or twice. Isn’t that terrible! My best guess for this new vice is that the sound of the movie playing helps to distract the part of my mind that would otherwise be taken up with worry, doubt, or idle thought. Because of that I can then focus much more clearly on what it is that I really want to do. Maybe I should give podcasts and audio books a try too (any recommendations?)!

Anyhow in my case the thing I’ve been wanting do so more often than not lately is to draw. The other night I popped on an episode of Mad Men thoroughly planning to watch it, but then the theme song queued and immediately a bow-tie clad elephant riding a bicycle popped into my head and I had to start drawing him right away. I thought I’d show him to you today in his unfinished state, then I’ll post again soon with some process photos that I will take as I work to give him some additional character using color and texture.

On a somewhat related side note…I have the toughest time drawing anything unless it is facing left or face-forward. Isn’t that odd?! Just last night I discovered that they make little posable wooden models for 4-legged animals (like the wooden ones they make of humans) so I might have to pick up one of those. At least it would give me something to go off of while working on my sketches, since there aren’t exactly bicycle-riding elephant resource photos floating around for me to practice with. Anyhow, my goal is to start doodling poses in my sketchbook every day until it becomes second-nature to draw an elephant (or llama, bear, etc.) at a 3/4, or some other currently challenging angle. Wish me luck!

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29 Comments

  1. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  2. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  3. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  4. Christina / / Reply

    Ez, I do the same when I'm working! I love listening to This American Life. The stories are so interesting, that sometimes I forget to work and just sit listening. Garrison Keillor's voice on A Prairie Home Companion is so soothing, too. Quick and fun stories about a made up town in the Mid-West. Best part, are both are free!

    Such a cutie elephant! Can't wait to see what you do with him.

  5. Katie / / Reply

    I do the same thing, only with Doctor Who. It's terrific background for my homework or lesson planning. I just have to be sure it's an episode I've seen before, or else I start watching and get nothing accomplished. I didn't work like that until after I got married and had to adjust to doing work with whatever sporting event or sitcom was currently on in the background. Now I can't seem to avoid it!

    and may I just say how much I LOVE your drawings? They're so darling.

  6. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  7. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  8. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  9. Lisa @ Wicked & Weird / / Reply

    I love this sweet elephant! I wanted to ask Ez, do you draw these with pencil and paper and then scan them into your computer? Have you tried any if the iPad sketching applications?

  10. Ez / / Reply

    Thank you friends!! xox Ez
    @Lisa – Yes, I draw with either pencil or a fine-tipped pen and then scan them into my computer and edit using Photoshop and a Bamboo Tablet. I don't own an iPad unfortunately, so I've yet to try out any app on it. Sounds like a blast though!

  11. Megan / / Reply

    I'm having the same challenge! I can do a profile, but straight on is hard for me. I find that studying reference photos and practicing with drawing them does the trick to help. I make up a character after the studies so that I can tackle it more easily. But it's still hard for me. sigh And yes, I love having a movie in the background. Usually a shameless chick flick like The Notebook or something, LOL!

  12. Nicole D. / / Reply

    Your elephant is adorable! I have a bad habit of doing other things while watching movies also. It drives my family nuts :) Good luck with your doodling goals!

  13. Emily K / / Reply

    Oh my goodness! He is adorable! If you ever decide to sell prints, I would definitely place an order or two (or 10!)! I find that I work best (or at least feel most creative) when I am listening to jazz or classical music. Something about it helps me focus.

  14. Melissa de la Fuente / / Reply

    eep! Ack! You KNOW how I feel about elephants, don't you?! :) This is THE sweetest little guy! I love that this image popped up when you were starting mad men! :) I can't wait to see his next phase! I love him.
    xo
    Melis

  15. Sanae / / Reply

    Your elephant is pure sweetness! I've been drawing elephants (and giraffes and foxes…) too! I highly recommend the design sponge podcasts while drawing – so inspirational!

  16. Bianca / / Reply

    Can I buy this print?!! So stinking adorable. Huge fan of elephants; especially elephants pretending to be humans.

  17. Jennifer / / Reply

    Super cute Elephant!!!

    I listen to ALOT of podcasts and audiobooks while I work, the noise really does help distract. I love This American Life as well. I also like Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed In History Class.

    Jennifer

  18. Miz.November / / Reply

    I don't think it's odd that you prefer to draw a certain angle of a character. I'm the same way. I have a hard time drawing anything facing to the right. I try to force myself to do it, though, for my own sake. It must be something about our brains! Haha.

  19. Sara / / Reply

    Cute drawing! I'm the same way! I love listening to This American Life or some sort of serial tv show on Netflix — lately went through all of Bones. Easy to follow just listening and you can skip the gore if you're looking at art and look up for the character parts. Occasionally I'll run into a show I have to "save" to really actually WATCH (rare) like the BBC's Sherlock, which is fab. I love to watch/listen to Project Runway — it's like the designers are keeping me company during my crafting time!

  20. Neen / / Reply

    I like the idea of an elephant riding a bike! I'd also like to see him skiing and possibly flying a kite :) There's a whole series just waiting to happen.

  21. aimee / / Reply

    I always "watch" a movie when I start a project. If I still cannot focus I will have music upstairs, TV on downstairs and my nose buried in my notebook/sketchbook. I think it's natural to draw things to the left too because, to me, allows for a more conversational composition. Like, we read left to right so text in a layout tends to feel more anchored to the left. Then, when we add a little character we picture them engaged with the text and face them toward it. Even when there is no text, left is always more inward/engaged feeling. At least, that is how my incurably right brained mind sees it. And, I'm a bit rambly tonight, the AC is out and it is hawt! I'm so glad to read you are drawing, cant wait to see!

  22. Kim / / Reply

    I find if I am trying to work on the computer, and there are lots of distraction behind me that keep me from focusing on my work … if I have a netflix movie (something) playing in the background on my computer … I tend not to stray from my computer screen … or turn around to see what is up behind me. My mind is so easily fooled ;)

  23. Dora / / Reply

    "I have the toughest time drawing anything unless it is facing left or face-forward."
    Me too, alas !

  24. Sandy / / Reply

    I like to listen to movies when I do art projects too! I also do have a small collection of audio books that I enjoy listening to. It's funny because you would think it would be the other way around, but it does help to keep me from getting distracted.
    I also draw every silhouette facing left. Someone once told me it is a right-handed thing and that left-handers draw things facing right. I don't know if this is true or not as I never did any research or interviews of left vs. right handed artists. All I know is that I naturally do left facing and if I try to do right facing silhouettes it feels wrong and they look wrong to me. Curiouser and curiouser!

  25. Ashley / / Reply

    I definitely do that as well! I think it is also partly because I hate being by myself all day and it feels a little less lonely to have voices in the background. I highly recommend the "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast and possibly "Stuff Mom Never Told You" (though that one may not be for everyone).

  26. Egle (sandboxmonster) / / Reply

    It was funny to read that you listen to movies, because I'm doing the same exact thing – that's why sometimes it is hard for me to remember if I saw one or the other before :) And even the reason is similar – if I'm doing something that doesn't require a lot of hard thinking (like measuring, choosing colors and so on) just repetitive hands work, my mind starts wondering and becomes obsessed with worrying, over-thinking and over-analyzing things, which I don't like and wish them to be something better or different. It keeps me grounded.

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