Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Don't Bee Afraid!

I was wet-my-pants, top-of-my-lungs-ugly-sobbing terrified of bees as a child.  A few of my cousins and I inadvertently disturbed a hornet's nest when we were very small, and I watched myself get stung in slow motion.  He got me right on the web between two fingers of my outstretched hand.  My grandma was with us, along with an uncle or two.  They dragged us screaming kids back up to the family cabin we were visiting and slathered our stings in baking soda.  A soul-wrenching phobia was born that day.

Some of my most embarrassing memories involve being at some kind of gathering in a park, a bee landing on my soda or near my paper plate, and mini-me breaking down into ridiculous hysterics until the little monster finally decided to move on.  I laugh at the memories now, but at the time I truly believed I was about to die.

By some slow-working miracle I completely overcame my fear as I grew up.  Today I love looking at bees, and am perfectly fine going about my business if one decides to investigate me.  They really are fascinating creatures, and they're so beautiful!  Their "culture" is extremely interesting, too.  I love watching them perform their dances in nature documentaries, telling other bees how to get to delicious, nectar-filled meadows they discovered in their wanderings.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ants go marching

Life has gotten so busy!  With work and school, I sometimes feel I barely have time to breath, let alone draw.  The craziness of life has me feeling a bit nostalgic this morning.

I attended North Kindergarten in Heber City, UT.  It was a single-grade school that served all the kindergarteners in the little valley.  My time in Mrs. Tolley's class was wonderful, even if I was sadly missing a peach crayon and all drawings of family depicted orange or yellow skin.

My favorite memories of North involve spending time in the cafetorium with other classes to watch Doctor Seuss cartoons or sing at the top of our lungs.  One of the songs we learned was "The Ants Go Marching." That song marched through my mind as these three ants came into being.

As I have mentioned before, I was fascinated by bugs as a child.  I loved letting ants crawl around on my hands, rotating my wrist and elbow to keep them in view.  I would stare, entranced, at their investigation of the little hairs on my arm as they tickled their way across my skin, waving their tiny antennae.  I'm ashamed to admit that when I learned about the magical properties of magnifying glasses, I did fry a few of my little friends.  Thankfully, my now-overactive conscience kicked in as I got older and returned to watching, rather than torturing.

Today I seem to have lost a bit of that awed wonder, and am more annoyed than entranced by the little creatures when I discover them indoors.  It's good to time travel in daydreams to recapture the innocence (and sometimes mischievousness) of childhood.  It helps us realize that though we may have changed with age, the world around us holds just as much magic as it did when we were small.  We simply must slow down and re-learn how to see it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A mustache and curly toes

It's been quite a while since I was able to work on my clip art!  After taking a long hiatus to deal with a family tragedy, followed by a busy semester, I'm ready to get back into the saddle.  This image was mostly completed a few months ago, but I recently added the finishing touches.  It's a pill bug (or potato bug or roly poly...), and he's happy to meet you!

When looking at pictures of these fun little creatures so long ago, I noticed their antennae were below their eyes.  It makes sense, once you realize they're crustaceans, rather than insects.  I decided to stay true to that in the clip art, and give my little friend a mustache.

The feet were originally straight, but my husband suggested curling the ends up, and I love the way it looks!  It adds a bit of fun and gives the impression of tiny little feet.

I've also nearly finished the ladybug, and plan to start on the next creepy crawly in the next few days.  Hopefully the set will be complete in a month or two!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Potato Bugs and "Insects"

School is keeping me quite busy, but in my spare moments I'm working away at a new set: Creepy Crawlies!  So far these two kids have come to life, soon to be followed by a ladybug and a potato bug.  The ladybug sketch morphed into being quite easily, but the sketch for the potato bug turned out to be challenging.  I turned to an image search for inspiration.  I knew the cute little creatures had many nicknames and "potato bug" wasn't the most common, but I was surprised when my screen was flooded with this creepy guy:

Image by Franco Folini
Wikipedia: Jerusalem Cricket
I got distracted reading about this fascinating, alien-looking creature, but eventually a search for "pill bug" turned up the familiar little armadillo of the insect world and the sketching resumed.  This image, in particular, has been a wonderful inspiration for his face!

Image by Peter J. Bryant
UCI: Pill Bug (Wood Louse)
Thanks to this experience, "potato bug" is definitely not in consideration for naming the image in the finished set!

I have always been mesmerized by (friendly) insects.  As a kid, I loved finding them under rocks and letting them crawl around on my hands.  Pill bugs were easily my favorite creepy crawly, and my love for them continued into adulthood.  I didn't think they could get any more fascinating, but recently I learned that while roly polies play the role of insects, they are actually crustaceans!  It's easy to see, now, thinking about their armor and that of a lobster, but at the time I was quite surprised.  That discovery lead me on a path through Wikipedia, following breadcrumbs and links through more and more distantly related species, until I discovered the giant isopod:

Image by unknown photographer
Wikipedia: Giant Isopod
Now, that thing is cool!  Look at those fantastic eyes.  It looks like he's smiling, too.  His face would be perfect on an alien.  I'm thinking future set?

Well, that tangent aside, keep an eye out for more posts as the Creepy Crawlies slowly find their way out of my imagination and into the next set!