Griffin Vulture

2010.8.1 Griffon VultureThe weekend I drew this bird, I was attending the bachelorette party weekend of a college friend. We were staying at her family’s cabin and drinking wine (well, everyone except my pregnant self) and just generally having a lovely time. I woke up early and drew this bird at the kitchen counter while most of the other girls were still sleeping.

While I was drawing, the “best woman” was making breakfast one-handed with her six-month-old on her hip. After I finished the drawing, I watched her move gracefully around the kitchen, awed by her efficiency. With an impending baby on the way, I was panicking about my own readiness, and it seemed unreal that she was so sure of herself, so confident. She made it look so easy. Wide awake without coffee? One-handed cooking? Who was this domestic goddess? I finally said something dumb like, “Wow, you make it look so easy.” She looked up at me with a piercing look and said, “If you’re done drawing, you could take the baby. Or help me make coffee.”

Duh. I felt like an idiot. But as a mother now, I get it. I do. You just do it because you have to. You sling the baby (or heavy toddler) on your hip to keep her from crying and you just keep doing what needs to be done. But bystanders beware: When they say it takes a village to raise a child, what they really mean is “Get off your fat ass and help, because you still have two hands free.”


Black Vulture

2010.7.18 Black Vulture


If the boat-billed heron drawn on this same day reminded me of a Muppet, then this bird certainly reminds me of another Jim Henson creation: the Skeksis. I’m sure Mr. Henson was inspired by vultures in their design – few creatures are more revolting.

Oh man, I love Jim Henson and I love pretty much everything he did: but the Dark Crystal left a serious impression. I watched it when I was young enough to truly and unabashedly believe in magic, and the creatures on-screen moved me deeply. So the Skeksis (the bad guys) haunted me. I thought nothing could be creepier. My dad would drive me crazy by making their high squeaky moan/whine noise. And then he would giggle to himself when I clasped my hands over my ears and screamed for him to stop. Ah, the joys of torturing your kids.

The wrinkles and folds were fun to draw and a little infuriating. I kept getting lost and losing track – which wrinkle was I on? Does it bend left now, or wait – was I already to the fifth turn?

Tree Swallow

2010.7.1 Tree Swallow


Swallows are known for their distinctive split tail, creating a memorable silhouette. And yet I chose to draw one that in no way reveals this feature. He’s cute, though, isn’t he?

Great Tit

2010.6.15 Great Tit


I suppose it’s the smart-ass in me that loves to mess with language, but every time I see a bird named “great something” I always secretly wonder if are other versions of this bird that are “not so great.” Is there a “So so Tit,” a “Really Fucking Boring Tit,” or even an “Eh Tit.” (And yes, I know that the answer is “No, and grow up, you silly snickering teenager.” But also, “Ha ha, great tit.”)