I used to love going to the circus as a kid and my favorite performers were the elephants. I decided to doodlewash a baby elephant because while I was thinking about elephants and circuses the Henry Mancini song popped into my head. Since there’s no way to show scale in a single object drawing, I’m not sure if the baby is coming across. I decided to go fast and loose with this one and I opted for a very limited palette of Burnt Sienna, Neutral Tint, and Dioxazine Purple.

Philippe says we can’t go to the circus anymore, not because we’re far too old, but because he doesn’t think they treat the animals well. I admitted that the tigers looked pretty pissed, but the elephants always seemed to be having a wonderful time and truly proud of their performance. I was assured that this was not the case, but I still like to think of elephants as the world’s fattest and most lovable performance artists.

I was an actor during college and taking on whatever gigs I could find in order to put food on the table and buy crap I should never have eaten. One day, memories of my childhood circus love came rushing back when I was asked to be a clown for the grand opening of a major restaurant chain. I, of course, said yes without thinking about it.

I was thrilled to have the work and immediately imagined myself as the next star clown on the circuit (whatever the clown circuit was, as I wasn’t entirely sure). But I knew I would rock it and thought this could really be a great new direction for me.

There were, of course, two very important problems I hadn’t considered. First, I am terribly afraid of clowns and as it turns out, so are many other people. Second, I had absolutely no idea how to apply clown makeup and this gig did not come with a stylist or any idea of what this newly formed character should look like.

The only clowns I remembered well were the ones from horror movies I watched in high school. So with those images still etched firmly into my brain, I jumped in and enthusiastically applied my greasepaint. The outcome was, in a word – terrifying.

I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror after putting on the costume and makeup. And I spent the better part of the day feebly apologizing to parents as I created what was sure to be permanent, lasting, and expensive psychological damage to their kids.

That marked the end of my short clown career, but it was probably for the best. Yet the child inside me still loves the circus and elephants, even if he’s still not a fan of clowns. And in my imagination, these awesome creatures will always be fabulous performers who enjoy attention to the delight of children everywhere. Something I wished I had been able to pull off as a clown. We can’t always be good at everything we try. But that doesn’t stop me. At least the memories are always worth it in the end!

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56 thoughts on “Baby Elephant Walk

  1. makes me want to draw a big puffy orange circus peanut! haha! Remember those?! Yuck now – yum then! Philippe needs to lighten up a little – hehe! Your baby elephant is adorbs as you – (you know I love to make you blush!) 🙂

  2. Love your baby elephant Charlie! Like how you added a little purple color to it. I always thought it would be fun to be a HAPPY clown and cheer up sick kids in the hospital by making them laugh. I did not know so many people dislike clowns! 😧 I like the idea of wearing a big red nose and wild clothes. LOL! Guess I’m a bit strange in that way. Enjoyed your story. 😊❤️🎨🐘

    1. Jill! YOU would be the only non-scary clown on the planet! ❤️😃 That would be awesome and with your imagination you’d have the kids smiling in no time! And glad you liked my elephant. Not sure why I added the purple…just seemed like it should be! Lol Glad you like it! 😃

  3. I’m sorry your “clown career” never got off the ground 😉 but you baby elephant is adorable! He reminded me of an old film with Elizabeth Taylor called “Elephant Walk”. It’s one of my favorites. Sometimes I catch it on late night TV or TCM. It’s a wonderful (slightly cheeses) classic!

      1. Yeah, pretty much most of the film would not be considered PC now and I would bet those elephants were not treated as well as they could have been but the 1950s were a whole other world! Still, Liz Taylor was at her finest.

  4. “created what was sure to be permanent, lasting, and expensive psychological damage to their kids”…ahahahahaha!! As soon as you mentioned clowns, my mind immediately screamed “Pennywise”. Brrrr. I hate clowns, too.

    But enough about our phobias. I love your little Dumbo drawing! Elephants are amazing creatures and you’ve drawn this one so lively!

    1. Haha…noooooo! Anything but Pennywise!! 😳😳 Yeah…clowns like that certainly don’t help instill comfort in clowns. Yikes! But happy you liked my little elephant Teresa! He was my first! 😃 I’m finding I really enjoy doodlewashing animals and insects. Hehe

  5. Adorable Ellie. Go to the circus if you want. After all you are recording the animals which are endangered aren’t they. Clowns. We grew up w Bozo. Non scary. You all grew up w Stephen Kings IT. Creepy scary clown. Ruined clowns for generations just like Jaws ruined swimming in the ocean!!

  6. Beautiful elephant – they’re so adorable, aren’t they. Love the expression – he looks happy to be performing for us all!

    I don’t mind clowns, but I’m always wary of being picked on by them – at the circus I take great measures to sit as far away from the front as possible, because I’m ALWAYS dragged on for something/squirted in the face. I wish I could see what you looked like as a clown! Such a hilarious thought.

    With the consideration to their welfare, circuses over here don’t seem to have animals in them at all anymore – they’re basically acrobatic/stunt shows, with a few bizarre clown routines thrown in. It’s a bit of a shame for the audience, but when you saw the state of where they were being kept, especially at the local circus, it’s of great relief.

    1. Thanks Jacob! Glad you liked the elephant! ❤️😃Yeah… I have to agree that I prefer animals being treated better, but as a kid it was a pretty incredible experience (ignorance is bliss! Hehe) And I would have loved to have seen your forced circus performance! I bet you were great! Lol 😉

      1. The last time I went I got shot by a cannon full of popcorn. I did not think this terribly amusing at the time (though everybody else seemed to disagree), and I think I still have bits in my hair four years later.

          1. Quite! I knew it was going to be dreadful when they made me don goggles. They got someone else with foam too! The stuff these bloody clowns get away with!

  7. Great post – awesome elephant! And the link to the youtube of Baby Elephant Walk was inspired. Made me a little nostalgic – I used to play that song. EONS ago. Thanks again for sharing your art.

  8. I think G+ ate my comment!! Elephant is my favorite and I wouldn’t have missed this one.. Was I dreaming? Did I not mention how much I loved your grays? Lol.. I do love this one!

  9. I hate to spoil another memory, but elephants are petty and mean. When my father worked at the zoo, sometimes we would feed apples to the elephants. Instead of being grateful, the ingrates, they’d blow snot at you if you didn’t get the apples to them fast enough. I’d go home covered in elephant snot, and my father would laugh.. I still love elephants, though, ’cause, well… elephants!

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