May 30, 2006

66: Let The Hippos Eat Cake

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I've been on a photography tangent of late, and had an idea for last week's Illustration Friday theme of sorry only to not have sufficient time to see it through. A portion of the idea though, was salvaged for this week's theme of cake – an idea revolving around Hungry Hungry Hippos, that bastion of 80s family entertainment that sadly, I never got to experience. That is, until a friend at work bought a slightly worn version (sans marbles and one working hippo) at a garage sale for $1.50 and gave it a new home in our art department. For now, we use small spherical candies while a decision is made on how to get proper regulation marbles.

So without attempting to further divulge about the inspiration behind this sketch, I'll be frank: I just wanted to draw Hungry Hungry Hippos, theme-of-the-week be damned.

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The illustration itself was conjured up based on this reference photo (above) I took at work before splitting for the weekend. First mapped out in pencil, then sketched over with varying thicknesses of pen (including a brush pen for some portions) and shaded quickly with brown, black and white conté sticks, the image was then brought into Photoshop for cleanup and colour work. The scanned, pre-Photoshop sketch is shown below. If you grew up with this game, help me feel better by telling me how it wasn't really that special anyway.

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Crafty Synergy said...

I love it! I always love your stories/explanations behind your illustrations.

Don't worry I was a deprived child as well. All our neighbors had this game but somehow I don't have any memory of having played it. I came as close as holding the box in my hands just the other day (to get it for my kids - yeah that's it! ;)) but decided on something else. Now you're making me crave it again!

A Little Hut said...

oops! signed in with my other blogger name. I'm Crafty Synergy in case you're wondering... ;)

Anthony Woodward said...

I had it at one stage, but it's not really parent friendly game as it can get really loud with all those hippo mouths snapping at once.

I like the soft tones in this one :)

serendipity said...

hah it's cool. you added a lil hippo over there!

it's pretty much pencil and paper kind of image, which is nice coz it's not too digital.

Would love it if it has more colours. But then again, it's a sketch right?

i'm itching for that wacom now.

deardeedle said...

I LOVE your concept! I was a big fan of HHH as a kid. You did a magnificant job paying homage to the game and the topic at hand.

haze mcelhenny said...

oooh - nice work. i love your very original take on the theme. hat's off to your stunning use of the light.

lew! said...

you are the MAN... man.

we never had HHH as kids but our good family friends did. So we got to play that wonderfully noisy game a couple times a year while the adults played Rummicube or dominoes.

Oh what fun it was!
the days before nintendo took over.

go green hippo (my personal fav as a kid)

Dave said...

We had da Hippos. It was fun, but my and my cousin's parents would only let us play it for about 10 minutes at a time, it's all the noise they could take.

I'd love to see you do a map or something based on what used to be called "Run Yourself Ragged". They changed the name, but it is still around. You have to make this ball bearing go through an obstacle course-like path. No end to the fun.


shannon said...

I wished we lived near each other so I could see how you make such wonderful art!!!

Anonymous said...

Kerry had HHH--maybe it's still hanging around somewhere. If not, you and Dunkie can play it next time you're here. I can't stand it--too noisy, and it illustrates just how level our living room floor isn't.

Chickengirl said... illustration. I had the game when I was a could get a lil' crazy!

carla said...

Your explanations are as good as your illustrations (and they're great). I remember those Hungry Hippos! I like that you decided to give this guy a chnace at cake since he's not so good at marbles. The way you've drawn tme makes it look like some kind of tribal gathering. Great job. You changed your blog, didn't you? Looks good!

DavidSniderDesignStudio said...

Very nice! I love how you combine all your different techniques to make the illustration much more deeper and richer. Love the 'how to' as well.

Evelien said...

I really love this illustration! Great job!!!

Andrea said...

best game ever!

Al Sturgeon said...

hey, could we use your reference photo for our header at our group blog? we're calling it "hungry, hungry hippos!'

Jeope said...

Sure thing, Mr. Sturgeon – have at it.

Al Sturgeon said...


Come check it out at

I think it looks great!

naveed ahmad khan said...

i visit your site n i got more information then other visited last month
was good enough then last what i had gone throught

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