"Tiger’s Play"

by Mathias Ball

Tiger’s Play is an illustration that I created in my final year of college–my thesis year. As one can imagine, creating and working on a self-directed project can be daunting and at times, stressful.

Working on my thesis, at some point I found myself feeling lost with both the direction and content of the work. I managed to pull myself back and set aside an evening where I would create something self-indulgent which, frankly, was to also remind myself why I enjoy creating art. This piece ultimately became Tiger’s Play.

For my personal work (and as an overarching theme for my illustrations) I like to draw inspiration from childhood imagination, as it’s generally unfiltered and at times messy. I find when children create art, it’s not necessarily anatomically correct, sometimes there’s an extra limb here or there, maybe the grass is blue, but it’s all very direct and has a level of confidence to it–no particular deep meaning: it’s simply just the way it is. I took this mindset into consideration when approaching the size of the tiger as well as the foliage specifically. Playing around with texture, adding some scribbles here and there, and drawing the foliage the way I did–I can’t personally recall ever drawing it like that in any piece before. If any elements felt out of place, I just worked with it.

On top of childhood imagination, creating a sense of warmth and comfort is something I like to bring to my work and ideally, translate to others. Similar to how other artists imitate the expression they’re drawing, my mood tends to mirror the energy I’m drawing (mind you, at a surface level.) I typically translate this with shape language and colour usage (it’s not too often you’ll see me using cold colours.) At the time of drawing, more than anything I think I needed some level of comfort and familiarity, so I resorted to what I knew best.

With that being said, Tiger’s Play was an opportunity for me to be playful with shapes, size, and colour. It was liberating to create an illustration without the pressure of having it be a part of something bigger. Its existence was essentially a playground for me to have fun and let loose.

Back to Creative Inspiration Gallery