A Yak, An Ox & A Cow Walk Into A Bar

You caught me. There’s no punchline. It just seemed like a good post title. If you’d care to come up with a punchline, feel free.

Anyway, this post is not about jokes, but cannibalism of the graphic variety. In the post I Am The Walrus, I showed you how I turned pre-drawn gazelle horns into walrus teeth, an act which is strangely called cannibalism by someone I’m assuming it made more sense to than me.

Graphic cannibalism means taking elements from previous projects and reusing them. Your own work, that is, otherwise, it would just be theft. Graphic design cannibalism is actually more like recycling in the name of laziness than it is eating your own species.

Today, I’m going to show you how a yak turned into a cow and an ox.

I started by drawing a yak for my alphabet poster. I’m drawing one animal for each of the letters in the English alphabet, and as of now, I’m only missing Q, N & Z.

The problem is, I have no experience with yaks at all and really don’t even know what they look like under all that fur. They’re kind of like a cross between a steer, a buffalo and a mop I think.


Even after drawing one, I still have no real idea what they look like. This was my best guess.


That’s vaguely yak-ish, right? Whatever it is, it’s cute. Mr. Yak is not 100% original though and is our first example of graphic design cannibalism, since he is, in fact, standing on horse legs:


Well, the front two horse legs anyway. So, with horse’s help, we have Yak.

In the process of drawing Yak, I ended up with leftover parts, so I decided to do an ox. I’m only a couple of animals shy of having the Chinese Zodiac and Ox is one of them.


I stuck Yak’s face on this body:


While cute, unfortunately, that ox looked too much like the yak without its long shaggy coat, which is basically what it is. So, I drew a new face and horns for Ox with the same body, and we ended up with this:


So, now we have Yak and Ox, and while we’re at it, it would be very easy to turn Yak and Ox into Cow.


Cow… sure. Why not? I don’t have a cow in my shop.


Careful readers might notice that Cow is using Ox’s body, including tail and hooves, with the addition of boney cow hips and milky parts, while also wearing a modified version of Yak’s face. Basically, I made the nose/mouth part bigger and added some cow-ish nose holes.

So, that, dear readers, is your lesson in graphic design cannibalism, and also how a yak turned into an ox, which turned into a cow. And all this self-thievery is exactly why I love drawing digitally.

Do you ever steal from yourself?

All photographic images in this post are from wikimedia commons. Drawings are by me and may be purchased as a number of fine products in my Redbubble shop.