Kala and Tarzan

February 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm 9 comments

Posted by: Andrea Kalfas
Book: Tarzan of the Apes
(purchase on Amazon)

Kala and Tarzan

Tarzan is really only fragile and vulnerable once in his life.  Even when he’s a young kid he can hold his own against fully grown bull apes, so I knew I wanted to make one scene showing how fragile he once was.  But this one is also a lot about Kala, Tarzan’s ape mother.  Her baby has just died when she lost her grip on it in the trees and when the tribe makes its way to the Clayton’s cabin on the beach, she carries its corpse the whole way, refusing to leave it on the ground to be eaten.

As she took up the little live baby of Alice Clayton she dropped the dead body of her own into the empty cradle; for the wail of the living had answered the call of universal motherhood within her wild breast which the dead could not still.

I slowed this scene down a lot, actually.  In fact, Kala has to dodge in and snatch Tarzan before Kerchak can mangle him, BUT the moment is really pivotal and I always found it really moving to read that Tarzan’s life depended on death and mourning to continue, so I thought it could use some extra time.  I love the beginning of the book because it’s full of so many stirring tragic moments like this one that really defy all the silly Tarzan stereotypes out there.  The book can be pretty melodramatic at times, but it’s packed with emotion, and is also really death-filled and violent!  Not too Disney after all.

Entry filed under: Tarzan of the Apes. Tags: .

It begins with a house. The tile falls…..

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Leigh-Ann  |  February 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I have never even read Tarzan, but I adore this picture. That is all.

  • 2. Jessica  |  February 16, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing the thought process that went into it.

  • 3. spoffy  |  February 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

    The first few Tarzan books were childhood favorites of mine, so this is really wonderful to follow. I remember several favorite scenes, can’t wait to see what you chose to depict next.

  • 4. Renee Rivas  |  February 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Beautiful and moving. I love this piece! I agree, thanks for sharing the the thought process too.

  • 5. Nancy Muller  |  February 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    You’ve created such a sad and beautiful scene here, I am glad you slowed the moment down.

    • 6. andreakalfas  |  February 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks so much for the comments, folks! It means a whole lot! Nancy, great to hear from you, girl! Hope you’re doing well, sweet pea:)

  • 7. Rodrigo Aviles  |  February 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm


  • 8. Daniel Krall  |  February 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Fantastic job, lady! You are an expert in ape-sadness.

  • 9. S.britt  |  March 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I love this heaps! Great work, Andrea!


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