Recently I sewed a giant quilt. It was a ridiculous and entertaining project which I write about here.
It is easier to create a giant in a painting, through context or distortion. Here is a small gallery of illustrations that play with scale; I hope that you will find them curious and curiouser.
I especially love the ankle bones and saggy pants of Zwerger’s giant. Everything in this illustration feels lonely, from the pale colors to the empty dollhouse.
Note the evil expression of the Snorrasper! Sendak said that his monsters were inspired by his relatives.
This illustration of Gulliver is from 1890. These pictures of tiny Thumbelina and Hans Thumbling in a golden world are also from the late 1800’s.Franz Wacik’s giant is carrying the Brave Little Tailor, whose adventures included scale based humor – beginning when he killed seven in one blow.
In Fat Cat by Margaret Read MacDonald the gluttonous cat eventually grew too large to fit on the page.In Summer Birds by Margarita Engle I drew the luna moth out of scale to show the strength of the interest that Maria Merian had in insects.And I painted this Tall Boy just because I like creatures with long legs. He had to bend to fit into the picture.
I get bogged down in Ezra Pound’s Canto 81, but I love this line from it:
The ant’s a centaur in his dragon world.
The lesson of scale is that everything is relative.
And the last word comes from Lewis Carroll:
“That’s the reason they’re called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”