Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Natural World (Is it Gross?)

While I was away last weekend my daughter, Angelica, found a duck skull in the muck near a pond. I called home several times during my trip and every time I got updates and reiterations from Angelica about how incredibly awesome this duck skull was. I could tell it was a Big Deal.

So when I got back home we took a little time to make drawings of the skull and talk about the things we could learn about ducks from looking at it. We looked at some of Leonardo DaVinci’s notebooks and the anatomical sketches he did. DaVinci is a great example of how beautiful cataloguing and journaling can be.

ALA, as I mentioned, was a bit of a whirlwind. The best part, though, was getting to hang out a bit with other artists. On the last day I was able to move my table so that I was happily sandwiched between some of my favorite folk. I had Dave and Raina on one side and Ryan Sias on the other. Meeting Ryan, a fellow Flight artist, was excellent because we had emailed and message-boarded before but never met in person. He’s doing some fine picture books. Also nearby was Dern, who is responsible for this cool “Bigger on the Inside Timeline” poster.

And now it’s busy time here in my little studio room. Summer hours slip by as I hunch over the drawing board trying to meet deadlines. But there is still time for quick visits to the creek and we’ve discovered the wonder of grilling vegetables. Viva Summer!


Arkonbey said...

That's the coolest!

I love it when kids are fascinated rather than creeped out by bird skulls.

I've never found a duck's skull, but on a walk in the woods with a six-year old cousin we found an owl pellet with a nearly-full mouse skeleton in it; tiny tiny paw bones and vertebrae!

Hey, are you going to be in the final Flight?

Valia said...

That duck skull sounds rather neat and suitably impressive!

I've been reading your blog for a while, but I've never commented before. I decided I should do so, though, because of something that happened today:
I was visiting a library, and I found Zita the Space Girl amongst the manga/comic book/graphic novel section I was trying to reorganize. My library at home doesn't have it nor have I seen it in the bookstores I've visited, so I was absolutely delighted to run across it; I quickly sat down and read it.
I quite enjoyed it---I loved Strong Strong and One and Randy. The alien chickens were fun, and the little blue aliens who were teasing One were very cute! Actually, all the aliens and robots were delightful (at least in rendering---I don't think I'd actually like to meet Five or Eight). Not to forget the humans, though! I empathized with Joseph, thought the Piper was intriguing if not entirely trustworthy, and found Zita an engaging protagonist. I look forward to reading more of her adventures whenever they come---thanks very much for sharing her with the rest of us! :)

Christina said...

You're a wonderful dad. I bet she had a great time drawing it and learning about the duck, too.

p.s., have you got an actual board to draw on?

Ben Hatke said...

Valia, thanks you so much for chiming in! I know there are a few people reading who I've never heard from and it means a lot to hear that you found _Zita_ and enjoyed the characters so much! Especially at this time when I'm hard at work trying to finish the second volume. It's been a beast.

Christina, I DO have an actual drawing board. Right now though it's set horizontal like a table and has my light table and a lot of books and drawings on it. Lately I'e been doing my actual drawing on a smaller table.

I should post pictures of my workspace one of these days...

Ben Hatke said...

Oh and Arkonbey, we have a bird book with pictures of owl pellets and the nifty skeletons found inside. Pretty amazing.

j'aime o'gorman said...

yes it is gross--but also awesome. my sister examined a deer carcass when she was 14 because she wanted to know if it was true that deer have no top teeth ( it is). i have a little something for angelica that is more cool than gross, whenever i make it out there.