Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 12: Camouflage

There is a leopard on this shelf.
Another way late post, not because this took me all day (took about three hours), but because I got such a late start. If there are typos or anything strange, that's because I'm typing this at 2 AM. Anyway, the prompt to camouflage something to blend in its environment got me thinking about Rudyard Kipling's 'Just So Stories', for both the story of how the leopard got his spots, and the beginning of the armadillos.
I read this book over and over as a child (although I read 'the Jungle Books' even more), but the pictures in it are a little hard to make out. The pictures in how the leopard got his spots are even harder, because in one of them the leopard is supposed to be camouflaged, and when you add this to a smudgy black and white drawing cheaply printed... well, I really had to hunt for him.
See him now?
This isn't actually a leopard, I think it's supposed to be a cheetah, but I decided it was close enough. I started with a solid black base coat, and his natural environment is of course on the bookshelf. We have too many nick-nacks, which means we frequently have to shift them around to get at the book we want. I cleared some space for him, though, and got out the full set of acrylic paints, and went to work disguising him. I spent a lot of time squinting with one eye to narrow down my perspective, and of course he's best camouflaged at a certain angle. Some of the writing got kind of wonky, but it did get late and I have to admit that where I'm sitting now, from across the room, he's really pretty hard to see against the books.
Just for the lulz, I took some in-progress photos and made a craptastic little video of the painting from tailtip to nose. The photos would be a lot better if I had a tripod, sorry.


  1. Wow, you did a fantastic job!

  2. Thanks! There were probably more technically accurate ways than eyeballing I could have done it, but...

  3. This is a great idea, and very well executed. I know how hard it can be to paint type, especially on an uneven surface like (a cheetah pretending to be) a leopard. Did you get him just for this, or was he living among the various nick-nacks you mentioned?

  4. Thank you thank you! The textured fur definitely made things harder, and I think I kind of failed on the text for the Tao of Physics, but that was partly because it hit on a leg, one shoulder, and the chest...
    He was part of a set of to-be-painted plastic African animal figures we've had around for years. He wasn't living on the shelf before, but he was around.