This Pig's Got the Blues

Poetry Monday: “This Pig’s Got the Blues”

Whenever I pass a piano, I get this twinge of longing, a desire to flip my tux tails up, settle in on the sleek black bench, and tease out some glorious classical tune or pound out Maple Leaf Rag. My muscles actually twitch and I think, “This time I’ll just do it…” — but then I remember I don’t know how to play the piano. And then I am very sad.

The same thing happens when I hear a singer who blows my hair back, watch a dancer tell stories through exquisite movement, or see a work of art so rich that I could practically live inside it. I think, “Wow, it must feel so freeing to be able to create that.” Given my intense love of performing and visual arts, I’ve often thought it a kind of cruel joke that I should end up a writer. Don’t get me wrong — I do loves me some words — but secretly I’d rather be playing, dancing, and painting. Maybe all three at the same time.

This wide-eyed appreciation of the arts hit me again when I recently began my picture book collection. After days of reading Amazon reviews, I found that the 563 books in my shopping cart had one thing in common — fabulous illustrations.

And that’s why, as of today, I will be featuring fabulous illustrators on select Poetry Mondays. That’s why I am stalking illustrator blogs and sending emails to strangers to ask them if I can write a poem to go with one of their portfolio works. Because kidlit art inspires me that much.

And since nepotism is alive and well here at No Water River, I’m starting with my younger brother, Dave — artist, musician, friend, illustrator of many of my early reader stories, and designer of my cool banner.

Featured Illustrator ~ Dave LaTulippe

Look at this pig!

Melancholy Swine by Dave LaTulippe
Melancholy Swine by Dave LaTulippe

 What’s Up with Dave

Dave, who are you, where are you, and why are you drawing sad pigs? 

Dave LaTulippe

I am your brother, and I currently split my time between New York, Chicago, and Elsewhere. I draw sad pigs to bring awareness to an issue that is dear to my heart — swinitus sadinitus.

How did you create Melancholy Swine and how long did it take?

I draw and paint sad pigs the same way I draw and paint sad meerkatsโ€ฆin Photoshop.

With Photoshop, you can create custom brushes to simulate different types of pencil tips and paper textures on the fly. You can go from a fine, dark pencil tip to a broad, soft paint brush in a flash, so you’re able to create, experiment, and edit very quickly. And as we all know, creating art as quickly as possible is the whole goal. ๐Ÿ˜›

The other tool I use is a Wacom tablet, which is a pressure-sensitive pen/tablet. With this you can truly simulate that pen and paper (or brush and canvas) feel, which is absolutely necessary for illustrating. Photoshop + Wacom = Awesome.

Do all of your animals have belly buttons?

Yes.

What do you do when you’re not drawing depressing animals?

I spend a lot of time with my business partners and good friends, Jeff and Marla Sarris. Together we make up Spyr Media, a design house where we do high-end brand development, product design, photography, and anything else that strikes our fancy. In my downtime, I work some more, play guitar, do some urban biking, and hang out with my quacking cat, Janis.

Can we see other neat stuff you’ve done? 

Sure can! You can check out recent work at SpyrMedia.com, see some of my personal illustrations and photography at DaveLaTulippe.com, and peruse some professional photography at six4eleven.com.

Do you like your sister’s poetry?

I feel pressured to say yes…?

Thanks for stopping by, Dave, and for lending me Melancholy Swine!

P.S. Dave also drew Jake the Snake, but without all the pomp and circumstance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you all enjoyed meeting my brother; he’s a pretty good sort, and his work always makes me smile.

Except this time, because it’s a sad pig. And what do sad pigs do when they’re down? Why, they flip up their tails, sit down at the pianer, and sing the blues, that’s what! Curtain please…”This Pig’s Got the Blues!”

This Pig’s Got the Blues

I once had a pig
(a melancholy swine)
known for his frown
and his high-pitched whine.

He’d mope and he’d mewl
’round the barn all day
but soon as night fell,
he’d rise up and say:

Chick, on the trumpet!
Cow, on the bell!
Play on — you’ve got nothing to lose!
Raise the roof high
and let the music swell
because this pig’s got the blues!

You see, the sad pig
had music in his soul!
He loved a mean riff —
let the good times roll!

He’d nudge the sheep awake
and make the donkeys bray,
then clear his piggy throat
and with a flourish say:

Horse, on the banjo!
Dog, on the drum!
Play on — you’ve got nothing to lose!
Raise the roof high
with a beat and a strum
because this pig’s got the blues.

They’d play through the night,
that bluesy barnyard tune,
till Pig called out
in the light of the moon:

Goat, sing it high!
Rabbit, sing it deep!
Sing on — like you know you should!
Raise the roof high
then sing me to sleep
because this pig’s feeling good…

Raise the roof high
and sing me to sleep
because this pig’s feeling good.

I'm sad!
Just LOOK at how SAD I am!

See more poems in my poetry video library.

Video Location: San Vincenzo, Italy, I think. Back road by someone’s horse farm, next to mean dogs.

Poemย ยฉ 2012ย Renรฉe LaTulippe. Illustrationย ยฉ 2012ย Dave LaTulippe.