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!