I don’t know where this fascination came from but I have an obsession with tigers. I assume that my affinity for tigers may come from my mom and dad as they both were born under the chinese zodiac sign of the tiger. They believe that the tiger gives you courage and I remember this big painting of a tiger hung up in the living room. As I grew up, my parents took down all the images of tigers, including the painting, as they believed that it was too ‘strong’ and would cause some sort of Feng Shui problem with me as I was born under the more docile zodiac sign of the sheep.
Superstitions aside, I still love having images and objects featuring the tiger around me. Currently I have two nodding tiger figurines, a Victorian painting of a hunting tiger and my most prized possession, two Tibetan tiger rugs.
I have also used a lot of tigers in my designs, including the tiger suit, tiger jacket, tiger shirt and short ensemble and more recently the tiger denim jacket. However, up till now, I have never really produced my own imagery of tigers in my own designs. So I decided to put my amateurish painting skills to the test and paint a tiger on a garment.
There were so many different types of tigers to choose from but ever since my friend showed me a picture of Suzy Menkes wearing a check coat with a Tibetan tiger emblazoned on the back, I knew that a contorting tiger would create the best effect.
I started to research images of Tibetan tigers and was drawn to temple doors with tigers drawn on them. To fit the size of the doors, the pose of the tiger were contorted into impossible positions. The skilfully drawn images on the doors were also very surreal and was meant to look more like a spiritual image of a tiger rather than an actual one.
I also had to decide what to pair the image with and, as the tiger represents strength and military prowess, what better than a camouflage jacket?
With the outline of the jacket all drawn, I proceeded to draw a quick sketch of the contorted tiger I wanted. Now, please bear in my that my drawing skills are extremely basic, somehow childish, but I guess I can only get better with practise.
I was quite happy with the drawing although I had low expectations to start off with. The next step was to transfer the outline to the jacket and I did this using copy paper and a tracing wheel. Then it was a matter of using a chalk pencil to redraw all the outlines.
Next came the most challenging part, the painting. I used a standard colour fabric paint set but also bought a bottle of gold paint. It was then a matter of mixing the colours to achieve the colours that I wanted. When everything was prepared, I put on some music and got to work. Again, my painting skills are amateurish and the only lesson I had was from art classes at primary school.
I must be someone who doesn’t expect much as I was really happy with my painting. It may not be a Van Gough but it definitely had my handwriting in it.
So, this is the front of the jacket.
A bit normcore, if I do say so myself. And here is the back.
So, Yay! This project was very interesting and the result was surprisingly decent. So it may not be like the gorgeous embroidered tiger Suzy has but then again, it does give me the confidence to take up drawing and painting again.