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A panel by Eduardo Risso serves as the source image for this painting. The panel comes from a page of 100 Bullets, a masterpiece of crime fiction by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, colored by Patricia Mulvihill.

100 bullets page
tiger by Risso - with grid

This is our first painting working with our new grid system. Instead of tracing and then drawing a grid and then enlarging, we tried something slightly different. We made a digital grid we place over the source image in a graphics program. Next, we drew the grid on paper and did a study of the image in pencil and marker. Instead of using the grid on the canvas, we felt confident enough after the study to go freehand on the canvas.

Why this image? Other than the sheer awesomeness of big cats, this one has meaning in the context of the 100 Bullets story. Jack has been told that the person responsible for messing up his life is none other than himself. Like other characters in the story, Jack received a pistol and 100 bullets along with this revelation. Jack is a heroin addict, prone to violence, and troubled by his past.

In this chapter of the story, Jack confronts a caged tiger. The tiger has been put there, but the cage is clearly a metaphor for Jack’s self-created confinement. Jack sees a kindred spirit in this tiger. Eventually, he sets this tiger free. Similarly, Jack kicks his heroin habit and leaves his old life behind him. Jack suspects that nothing good awaits this tiger, but at least the tiger will live his remaining life free and true to himself.