Just Two Words Project

As you may remember from last week, my friend Jessee and I decided to start challenging each to draw more each week. The idea was that we would each come up with one word, combine those words and create a project that started with sketching. No more sitting in front of an empty sketch book with no idea where to begin. This week the words were “cake” and “whale” and we were to come up with a design that could be used on a tote bag. As you can see I didn’t have very many sketches at all with this one. I was driving when the idea came to me and once I knew what I wanted to do, I was ready to dive in with just a few quick sketches to think about set up.
With the word whale I immediately thought about the book Moby Dick. A few years ago I finally read it for the first time, prompted by a program I heard on NPR. They were doing a radio show that day on people who had been so inspired by Moby Dick that they have created artwork, writing, or even music. I had already had an interest in reading Moby Dick ever since I finished Ahab’s Wife, but the radio show really pushed me to get going. On the show they read a few opening pages and the line that really caught me goes- Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
When I decided to make a whale cake I wanted to keep the sugar letters simple, something that hinted to that line of text, and might stand out to a fellow Moby Dick fan, but was just a few words. “November In My Soul” seemed like it would do that perfectly, and a cartoon sad whale cake with a slice taken out of him just seems to round it out.
I ended up ordering some fabric from Spoonflower with my image to sew into a pillow for our couch. I set it up so it will sew up whale shaped and has the entire quote from the book on the reverse side. Once it arrives and I make it I will be sure to post some photos. I look forward to seeing what direction Jessee has taken those same two words.