This took a few days to complete since first the paper clay had to dry, and then I had to paint and seal it. Not to mention, other stuff going on...
It's a tiny kogo with a cicada on the lid. It's painted with acrylics and gold ink.
A kogo is an incense container used in Japanese tea ceremony. On January 28th I visited the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville and drooled over their kogo display.
It is mostly formed by hand, but I used a fake Dremel tool to better define the cicada relief, make the interior deeper, to skim off the excess around the lip so the lids would fit together, and sand the whole thing.
The rabbit is a real kogo (circa 1980s) from Japan.
To commemorate the blizzard sweeping the east today, a symbol of perseverance against the chill: the weta makes it's own cellular anti-freeze. These huge insects from New Zealand can be completely frozen in ice and go about their way the minute they're thawed.
This was done in pencil, the snow overlay was added with a photo editor.
Side Bar: I may be in Florida, but I spent a good chunk of the day outside and even for here, it's cold!
Yesterday's jeweled butterfly reminded me of an article I read about the caddisfly larvae which make jewelry. The larvae naturally take the substrate from their aquatic environment (pebbles, twigs, etc.) to create protective cases around their bodies. One enterprising individual who had raised them for bait wondered, "what if I put the larvae in an aquarium with only jewels and precious metals for substrate?" He did so, and some beautiful jeweled cases were the result. I believe this fellow patented his method (darn), but I was thus inspired to create my own jeweled caddisfly from silver chain, a button, jump ring, green tiger eye beads, pink freshwater pearls, silver beads, and crystal beads.
I had the earring supplies out today since I was making more mantid earrings and thought I'd try something different. So here is a swallowtail made from silver chain, jump rings, an eye pin, head pins, and crystal beads.
Well, I already went there with the Bug Files, so today I saw the final installment of the Hunger Games series with my sister and thought, what kind of insect would Katniss be? A mantis seemed the best choice, not just for the convenient pun, but because a mantis is a fierce warrior insect that is not too fond of the limelight; however, once in it does not always shy away.
This is a pencil drawing to which I added the painted-looking background via a photo editor.
As stated in the Bug Files post, adding hair to something not normally having hair is difficult. There are probably good reasons mantids do not have flowing locks...
Today I made a new earring design for my shop. It's a red bull assassin bug (and therefore also counts for bug-a-day! Hoorah multi-taking!). Made from shrink plastic, colored pencils, sharpie marker, silver earrings, metal findings and crystal beads.
Here's an overview of the process:
It starts with a sketch
Next I make a prototype in shrink plastic to see where its center of gravity is, and how I want it to hang on the earrings.
Using the computer, I flip the image and then it is traced onto the shrink plastic with sharpie marker, which is the best type to use for most shrink plastic applications. Then I punch holes where needed.
I then color them in with colored pencils and cut them out. Next they go in the oven and bake for a few minutes, shrinking to about a third of their original size.
Here they are after baking.
Next I apply three coats of polyurethane varnish which dries and sets overnight.
Next I assemble the crystal beads and bead connectors, and finally assemble the earrings.
Tomorrow I have an interview for a position that entails wetland delineation and permitting, so I've been brushing up on my wetland facts most of the day. Entomology is relevant to wetland science!
Hydrology is one of the three criteria that points to an area being a wetland. It is an indicator that the soil has been saturated/inundated for a length of time. As pictured above, the dragonfly nymph is a good indicator of hydrology, because it is an obligate aquatic creature. Even if all that is left is a shed skin, you know there must have been water there. The waterscorpion, also an aquatic insect, is not a good indicator because it will migrate to better suited locations as needed (and can therefore be found in upland areas at least temporarily).
Acrylic pigment ink, gold iridescent ink, and India ink (ACEO)
At first glance this does not appear to be insect related, However! My Lady is the subject of an unfinished, anonymous 12th century Japanese tale, The Lady Who Loved Insects. Her love of insects and reptiles made her contemporaries think her eccentric; though she thought them eccentric.
Thinking of the lady next door she asks, "Why do people make so much fuss about butterflies and never give a thought to the creatures out of which butterflies grow?" She particularly liked caterpillars. Not caring what anyone else thought of her, she kept insects as pets and did not conform to the beauty customs of the day. She also named all the little boys in her neighborhood after insects.
I styled this after tale illustrations from the Heian period, when this tale was written.
A: Silk Worm Racks
Silk worms are kept in baskets or on basket trays on a rack, as pictured here (though most are rectangular for practicality). I found no Heian example, however silk worms were farmed back then. I imagine the lady could have kept a myriad of caterpillar species in something similar. The basket trays are also full of leaves for the caterpillars.
In silk worm farming, a similar structure was used to hatch the eggs at the turn of the last century. The temperature was regulated in the cabinet below the racks. I'm not sure how far back this practice goes, and again, there are no Heian examples. Being clever and attuned to the natural world, however, it is plausible the lady could have fashioned someplace to separate the eggs. The tale says she had many containers and cages for her pets.
C: Silk Worm
Caterpillars are her favorite, and this totally counts as an insect drawing!
Heian robes were layered in different colors. The colors I used are an approximation of the "ruffled iris" layering. Her outer robe features cicadas (also counts for insect drawing!). Heian textiles were pretty sophisticated and included complex patterns, weaves, and embroidery.
E: Cricket Cage
Her insect cages may have looked similar. Mine is based on an "antique" cricket cage, age unknown.
Side Bar: This took nearly all day to complete...whew!
Watercolors on Bristol, matted with origami paper (aizome chiyogami).
It's too bad this insect is an agricultural pest, I think they're beautiful! The colors I used are a slight exaggeration of a bluish-green one in my bug collection. A light reddish color is more common.
It is also a shame I was afraid to ruin the origami paper by cutting out the rest of the leg so that it would show. They have such adorable feet:
Side bar: This makes up for yesterday's toilet humor ;)
Rendered in 5B graphite and colored pencils on a Bristol ACEO.
This challenge is already proving...challenging. Which is sad since it's only Day 7. Maybe it will get easier once this becomes a part of my day and I don't just remember to complete something when I am ready to nod off!
I spent a long day helping the LL paint a garage. Afterwards I decided to relax by watching an episode of the X-Files on Netflix, while also wondering what the hell I'd do for today's bug-a-day challenge.
Then I began to wonder what Agents Scully and Mulder would be if they were insects. I decided Scully was a wasp because she is a methodical no-nonsense Amazon woman. Mulder is more of a skulker, but also deadly effective, so I thought an assassin bug was more his style. This is perhaps the result of paint fumes.
Agents Assassin Bug Mulder and Yellow Jacket Scully
Rendered in colored pencil and a micron pen.
Apologies to Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
Side Bar: it's really hard to style hair on something that does not normally have hair.
In the spirit of feeling consumed today, here is a quick sketch of a mantis consuming a grasshopper in beautiful 2B graphite lead (thank you, interwebs, for reference photo).
My entire day, not an exaggeration, was spent trying to calibrate my new scanner with what editing software I have with my printer, and researching how to fix it. Did I resolve anything? Sort of. Maybe. No.
Now I'm just frustrated and hungry. Unlike our Mantid friend.
My only solace lies in fulfilling today's bug-a-day obligation, at least something got done!
This guy was in my house, bathing, so I took its portrait through a loupe I held in front of my camera and used that as reference for this drawing. I'm trying out a monochrome palette since so many insects, like this rove beetle, come in interesting shapes but also such dull drab colors. This was done with India and colored drawing inks and can be viewed in my shop here.
For 2016 I've decided to take a page out of Noah Scalin's book and create something everyday for a year. I want to challenge myself to draw or create an insect everyday to help sharpen my skills as an artist and as a bug nerd. Most will be drawings, probably ACEOs (I tell myself now), but I won't restrict myself to just drawings. Also, I think I can count some of my other projects as having fulfilled the bug-a-day obligation I'm placing on myself (e.g. the mantispid book I'm working on), it should count! I'll post them here to help hold myself accountable, but realize posting everyday, even though I intend to complete projects everyday, is probably unrealistic. I'll post as often as I can. Just setting my ground rules and loopholes now, in the beginning :)
I rang in the New Year feeling ill again, but managed this pencil sketch yesterday:
It's a lacewing larva with an aphid.
Such good little creatures.
I have plans for this drawing, cheesy plans. It will show up in my shop soon.
Speaking of the ground rules, I meant to post this yesterday...