Fix the Pig: Fourth Day

You know, you could do this. Believe me, it wasn’t hard.

The graph from the pig (see below) was one square to one inch, and most suitcases are standard sizes, so it would probably be in proportion to your suitcase, although if you have pockets on the outside of the case, you may have to get creative and put the face on the upper pocket and the dress on the lower one.

If your case is light-colored, used a soft pencil to sketch in the outline; if it’s dark, get a white pencil. The best way to transfer a graph drawing is to first draw the graph squares on the thing you’re transferring the drawing to, which in this case would give you a checkerboard background which could be kind of snappy. Once the graph is on–one inch squares–then you match the lines on the graph drawing to the lines on the suitcase. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to vaguely resemble a pig. And this drawing is so simple, it’s mostly squashy circles anyway:


Note: I added the feet later, but they’re just a curved line at the bottom of the case.)

Once you have the drawing transferred to the suitcase in pencil, go over it in permanent Sharpie. Don’t worry about a few messed up lines, you’re going to make them a lot thicker on the finished pig: On a black suitcase, forget the Sharpie lines and just paint the pig on in white, then add the pink and black details on top of the paint with the Sharpie


The pinks in the dress were done in rose and pink Sharpies.

If you have a light colored suitcase, go back over the lines, making them about 1/2″ thick. You have some leeway since you’re going to cover the pig in white primer. If you’ve already painted the white on your black suitcase, just make the interior lines the 1/2 inch.


After that, it’s just going over the thick black lines about a thousand times (okay, about six times) with the marker, and painting in the white areas in thin coats (about four) so that it doesn’t bead up. And you’ll have a pig. Oh, and put a little dot of white in each eye for a catchlight. It makes a huge difference. (No, I didn’t put them in Krissie’s Pig’s eyes yet, I’m still going over lines with marker.)

Now I’m really intrigued about doing a white pig on a black suitcase, but I have all this drywall to paint. And copy edits. And a book to write. Hmmmm.

22 thoughts on “Fix the Pig: Fourth Day

  1. Although purely technically this may not seem hard to you, the actual drawing requires a particular innate talent, that of anthropomorphising animal forms. I can draw reasonably well, and could tackle a simplified realistic representation of a pig/horse/cow/dog/what-have-you without a qualm, but that is simply not what is needed in this context. The cartoon, ‘humanised’, animal completely evades me: I would have to copy an image, and that would undermine the whole point of the project, which is that the decorated suitcase should be a unique creation.

  2. I could see some characters in a style similar to Sandra Boynton. Her pigs, hippos, cats and dogs are always fun. And a lot more round. Thank you for taking the time (and photographs) to explain the actual process. However you neglected the usual disclaimer:

    “Professional crafter/artist on closed course. Individual results may vary. Objects in mirror may appear closer than they really are. Side effects include frustration, feelings of inadequacy, and swearing. Kids, do not try this at home.”

  3. I was sharing these postings with co-workers (they too loved your work on it) and they asked “Whatever possessed her to buy the suitcase in the first place?” I guessed it was because Krissie liked it, but said I’d ask. So, do you know why Krissie first bought it or maybe when?

  4. I think a million years ago, it was a pretty pink suitcase. I recently was terribly tempted by a pink electric typewriter from the sixties on eBay, and Lani and I hit TJMaxx while she was here and we both fell in love with a bright pink hardsided suitcase lined in screaming red orange. It even had four wheels, which is is my absolute requirement in luggage now.

    Sometimes, pink is just necessary.

    Ag, I agree that people should design their own suitcases if that’s where their interests lie. However, there are some things that some people don’t want to do, depending on their priorities. Some people want to design their own cases. Some people just want a pig like Krissie’s. For that second group, here’s the graph and basic instructions. I think the basic pig can be adapted to just about anything, so creativity is not being stifled, but even if it’s just reproduced as I drew it, people will still have a bag they painted that they can now find without any problem on a baggage carousel. Everybody wins.

    1. So, why do I have this visual of a baggage carousel overflowing with pink pigs? I don’t believe I’m over-estimating your influence, here. I’m seeing banners, bumper stickers, web pages, sky writing “Pigs of the World, Unite!!!” Or, my temporary insanity could just be moving into permanent mode.

  5. Amy, I read about your duffel bag and thought “CAMEL!” However I have no drawing ability, so you’re on your own with the design element.

  6. Jenny, if you did the drawing on part I might be able to fill it in and not screw it up too badly. But I don’t have the innate talent it takes to draw stick figures.

  7. Jenny said:
    You know, you could do this. Believe me, it wasn’t hard.

    That’s where you lost me to a fit of maniacal laughter. Sure. I could do it. The “doing” part might be easy if all we mean by “do” is “apply Sharpie to suitcase”. Actually have the drawing resemble anything recognizable when finished? Pigs will fly first … and I don’t mean The Pig Suitcase.

    I have no drawing skills. No outlining skills. No trace-the-line skills.

    I’ll leave the decorating of suitcases to the Goddess and contentedly admire your work.

  8. The duffle bag–I immediately thought “weinie dog” but that’s just me.

    I was looking at The Pig and just realized that it is actually an Aigner bag. I had to laugh–do you know that I drive a VW Cabrio Etienne Aigner limited edition? It is this signature burgundy that he apparently was very fond of in the ’90’s with striped burgundy and gray interior.

    My husband thought it would be cool for my daughter and I to buy ourselves purses to match, so I did some shopping on EBay and came up with several purses–two which were absolutely HOT pink! (VERY cute, btw.)

    My point being (yes, I do actually have a point here!) is that apparently Aigner decided to branch out into luggage and made some stuff in pink there also. So now I guess I am going to have to look for some luggage that will match the car, even though I can’t stand the color! Really, the pink is pretty compared to this brownish burgundy color on my car! LOL! Look it up–there aren’t a lot of them left. 1991 model. We bought the car for DD#! but she can’t drive a stick so my hubby and I share it–great on gas, and it is a blast to drive with the top down!! I had these cute magnetic flowers on it for awhile but the kids decided that my husband just looked way to gay driving around in a car with flowered seat covers and big flowers on the outside so they took them off…

  9. Hi Jenny

    You said “Now I’m really intrigued about doing a white pig on a black suitcase, but I have all this drywall to paint. And copy edits. And a book to write. Hmmmm.”

    As great as the flying pig is I think I’m going to suggest… write the book. 🙂

  10. somewhere on “third day” post some said “Some pig” – Isn’t that the first thing that was on the web in Charlotte’s Web? So Wilbur would be saved and not turned into bacon? If Jenny saved the pig, does that make her an honorary Charlotte?

  11. I missed the tan duffel bag. Sorry, Amy.
    The problem with a duffle bag is that it’s shapeless, so it whatever you put on it would distort as the bag sagged. So I’d probably go with a pattern, get a brown Sharpie and make it a leopard skin duffle, or get a gold Sharpie and draw a checkerboard pattern on it, or draw on suns, or something like that. The hardsided bags give you a canvas; a duffel just gives you kind of a blob to put clothes in.

    But patterns can be a lot more striking than animals. A duffel with gold stars in going to stand out on the baggage carousel, no problem.

  12. Well, I’m going to stick to a regular old black and grey suitcase ’cause my art instructor laughed at my charcoal sketches. He really did. I’d decided to be an artist like my mother and in my twenties went to night school, not realizing that gene had skipped right over me. Ha ha. Never did finish the course.

  13. I know Jenny was an art teacher (and probably a fantastic one), so plaster a big “present company excepted!!” to the next paragraph.

    But, I think art education in the States, in general, is pretty low. Elementary school teachers aren’t always trained in art, and art is so far down on the budget priorities that sometimes teachers have had to pay for their own art supplies. And, I think a lot of teachers hate the mess.

    I did great my first year of jhs art, mostly because the teacher was teaching art history. I did lousy (relatively speaking) the second year, because the teacher wanted us to make art — but had no idea how to connect us with our inner artists.

    I want to say that art *can* be learned. Most of us probably aren’t going to be putting the Sistine Chapel on our luggage, or even Hello Piggies. But I think a lot of us could be a lot better than we think we are at this art thing. It does take practice. And guidance (from a teacher, or from books, or even just a friend who can do this sort of thing) would be useful.

    (-: My stick figures are pretty kick-ass; but they didn’t just happen. It took a book, a couple of TV shows and a little bit of fooling around on paper.

    And, I think the same thing will have to happen with my Moonlight Kitty luggage — I’ve got the image, which is the hardest part. A little bit of doodling, and I should have something that will make me smile.

    (-: What I would love though, is a good design book on how to use little doodly elements — I love Indian and Arabic art with all the flowery geometrics; I would love to be able to put them together to make amazing borders — and learn how to make borders, in general.

    Well, anyway, I just wanted to say, “Yes, you can!” Even I can . . . . It’s just a matter of whether or not you want to put the time into it (which is a very valid point), and how high your perfectionism thresh-hold is.

    (Can you tell I’m still in the peptalk stage?? But, I really am going to do this. Soonish. LOL!)

    1. “perfectionism threshold” – I like that! Perfectionism related procrastination is a huge part of my problem.
      As for Indian designs – do a google image search for paisley and start there.
      I’m going to do things soonish too. 🙂

    2. What I would love though, is a good design book on how to use little doodly elements — I love Indian and Arabic art with all the flowery geometrics; I would love to be able to put them together to make amazing borders — and learn how to make borders, in general.

      You can always google “Tattoo Flash” to get some ideas for embellishments. Download some flash, play with it and combine multiple elements. Maybe something tribal for the camel (flesh?) colored duffle bag. Give the duffle a tat. 🙂

      1. (-: Cool, cool. I can start with amazon instead of google, I bet, and find tons of stuff under paisley or Tattoo Flash. (To tell the truth, I’m a little scared of what I’ll find if I google “tattoo flash.” Just exactly what gets flashed? LOL!)

        (P.S. Doodled a pretty cool cat yesterday. Gosh, I love tails. Those curves are so relaxing to draw. Hips are a little nerve-wracking, since they ought to be symmetrical. Don’t ask me who decided that.)

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