No, the blog is not abandoned

I recently interrupted my schedule with a road trip to the northeast (my man works halfway across the country), so it’s caused an interruption in my projects. I spent some of my down time with a sketchbook practicing drawing flies though. I’d like to do a coloring book that focuses on carnivorous plants, so knowing the details of how fly bodies work seems fairly important. It turns out studying dozens of photos of flies still won’t answer some of the mysteries of how their bodies are put together, so I might need to find a model in resin, or maybe a little desiccated bugger in the window.

In the process, I’m coming up with quite a few ideas, so the next few weeks will probably be full of me sketching away quietly. Once my persnickety attention to detail is satisfied, the first coloring booklet won’t be far behind.

Desktop Wallpaper

Here is how I spent my time this week. There will be coloring pages and merchandise based on this design, maybe some stickers. I want to order some samples and try a few different palettes out before I throw it up here. In the meantime, here’s a desktop wallpaper.

A Gallery of Terrarium Photos

Hello, I decided to set up some albums on Flickr. All photos on Flickr will be released under Creative Commons, so if you happen to have need of images relating to terrariums, moss, fairy gardens, Venus flytraps, or even plant genetics and mutations (because I have a few cool two-headed flytrap pics), so swing on by and take a browse. Soon there will be some isopod and fossil photos added, but I have some Armadillidium klugii (pillbugs) coming in the mail today, and I imagine it might take me a few days to take a few thousand pics from sheer excitement and pare it down to five or so that I feel comfortable adding to that particular upload, because that’s how I roll.

In the meantime, please swing by my albums if you want to browse more photos like these. If you use any of my photos in art or articles and whatnot, give me a shout and I’ll throw up a link in the photo you used. Also, if you want a copy of the original file so you can make your own adjustments, let me know.

A is for Axolotl

Hello, and welcome. This new blog is mostly a space for me to distribute some coloring pages I’m working on. I want to do this to educate my kid, but might as well also help you educate yours. Mostly pages will be about nature and ecology, though later there may be a retold fairy tale or two. Some pages will be a block of text with information on one side for older children, others will have simple sentences for early readers, and there will be a few for even younger audiences, like today’s page. My daughter is going to be five soon, so for now I might do a lot of things for her to start reading, and the educational part will be me talking to her about the subject.

"A is for axolotl". Line drawing of an axolotl swimming in front of some plants over the text.

Pages may be released a little slowly at first, I’m meandering my way through this. I can’t help it, it’s who I am. Each plant, insect, and animal species must be studied in detail for a while. I need to sketch how it is built even before doing simple drawings, I must design a species info form and fill out all the blanks on habitat, lookalikes, uses/warnings, and propagation or control tips. I’ve done this before, and I used to have notes and sketches on a variety of local useful plants I can easily forage in my area. I no longer have those files. We won’t talk about the incident that taught me the importance of backing up your data, nor will we discuss the incident that taught me to back up even more frequently.

So I’m doing this from a blank slate (again), and I want to learn more about each topic than I did before. I want to do a full coloring book on plants to grow for pollinators, one on insects in general, and one on swamp ecology. I’ve been learning to grow Venus flytraps, and have been growing plants for pollinator seed bombs for a couple of years, so these subjects are always around me, drawing my fascination. I’m setting this up so I just go around having fun being myself, taking photos of things to sketch and research, maybe toying with a little animation, and I hope to end up with a coloring book or five in the process. While I’m at it, I might as well sling some mugs and whatnot with my art printed on them, because it would be cool to earn a dollar or two. Eventually, maybe some wildflower infused candles and soaps or seed mixtures could end up in my store.

I have heard that drawing styles for coloring books should have simple lines for young fingers, so far my style might be frustrating for children who don’t like to color outside of the lines, but don’t have the dexterity for fine lines. For kids like my daughter, happy being loose and free with her splotches, the pictures will be something more intricate to look at while they enjoy themselves. I’m still playing around with style and will likely produce a variety of things, but I’m currently a little challenged at producing a simpler style. That fascination with detail spills into a lot of areas of my life.

And naturally, it’s not just for kids. I certainly plan on spreading out on the floor next to her, sharing crayons while I talk about habitat loss as we color “A is for axolotl”. I’m kind of drawing the coloring books I would have loved to own back when I was teen. It’s the whole “write the book you want to read”, for my inner child. This is gonna be so much fun.

I printed out the layers of the page and colored them, then scanned them in and animated the axolotl floating a little in the water.