Fly, Tortoise, Fly!

A tortoise sits dreaming that she can soar through the sky on finely feathered wings!

A tortoise sits dreaming that she can soar through the sky on finely feathered wings!

I’ve had so much fun with this illustration, I’m actually kind-of sad it’s finally done!

Generally, when I get an idea for a drawing, I see it in my head and it’s about 90% complete. The remaining 10% of the details that suggest themselves as I work are usually the best parts — but I start off with a pretty solid idea of where I’m going.

A black and white illustration of a flying tortoise.Not so with this one. I just started with the improbable idea of a flying tortoise, loved it, and had to see where it went. I feel a bit like a flying tortoise these days — doing illustration work seems about as likely, and that’s probably why I had to say “improbable” rather than “impossible” — because, unlikely or not, and despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, I still believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough. And certainly anything is possible in an illustration, even if the real world is sadly devoid of actual flying tortoises. It’s one of many reasons I love drawing.

A black and white tortoise sits dreaming she can fly! The flying tortoise is in color, and the background is beginning to be filled in.

So this one revealed itself to me in stages. First the flying tortoise in black and white. Then came colors, then another tortoise dreaming the first one, and finally a backdrop of land falling away as the dream-tortoise soars higher. Probably four or five sessions in all, spanning about three months. And that gradual unveiling of the idea made it seem all the more magical to me.

Someone asked me on a previous post if my work is for sale, and the answer is an emphatic YES! You can reach me through my contact page if you’re interested in this piece, or in commissioning something all your own.

Dream the impossible dream! Then work your tail off making it a reality. If you’re not still having fun, it’s probably the wrong dream. But anything is possible if you have a vision of what could be, and the determination to see it through.  Fly, tortoise, fly!

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2 thoughts on “Fly, Tortoise, Fly!

  1. That’s awesome! I love both of his expressions- they’re just perfect 🙂 Also know what you mean about the 10% of details you get while working on something- I get surprised so often by ideas that just appear, and it’s like- ‘where did that come? That’s such a cool idea!’

    Like

    1. YES! That’s so much of the fun of illustration for me – starting out with an idea I’m excited about, and then seeing how the details unfold and surprise me from there. I was just talking about this earlier today with a painter friend of mine – she says the same thing happens to her, too!

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