The Eight-Year-Old redraws famous works of art with tigers: Blue Tigery

Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy, painted in 1770.

Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy, painted in 1770.

Earlier this summer, The Eight-Year-Old stumbled onto the concept of derivative art. She looks up various works of art on her Daddyo’s iPad, then redraws them as portraits of Tigery. Earlier this summer, she integrated Tigery into da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Munch’s The Scream, and Manet’s Self-Portrait with Palette. This week, The Eight-Year-Old and her buddy Tigery are reworking Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

Like any serious artist, The Eight-Year-Old first draws a study for her work, before attempting the final version. After some discussion, she agreed to let me use her works for a summer series on Caterpickles, on the condition that I tell you a little bit about the original work in the post.

Last time, we talked about the slap dash nature of Impressionist art, and the critic’s sour view of it as being produced by artists who lacked the self-discipline (or perhaps the common sense) to finish their art properly before they displayed or sold it. This week’s work is a wonderful example of the type of art that the critics of Manet’s time would have preferred.

Painted in 1770, Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy rocked the art world at the time with its shimmering spectrum of blues and creams and the intricate brushwork of the boy’s satin clothing.  The boy himself apparently wasn’t a celebrity, but this painting of him quickly became one. Even today, Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy remains the best-known of all the works in the Huntington Collection.

Sadly, The Eight-Year-Old did not have access to the same range of indigo, lapis, cobalt, and cream tints that Gainsborough did. But as you’ll see, she did her best with the comparatively paltry selection of blues and creams in her crayon collection.

Study for Blue Tigery, by the Eight-Year-Old Howell. Inspired by Gainsborough's The Blue Boy.

Study for Blue Tigery, by the Eight-Year-Old Howell. Inspired by Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

She’s captured that debonair cock of the arm nicely, I think.

Blue Tigery, by the Eight-Year-Old Howell. Inspired by Gainsborough's The Blue Boy.

Blue Tigery, by the Eight-Year-Old Howell. Inspired by Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, The Eight-Year-Old’s art teacher rocks.

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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