Saturday, 29 October 2011

Spider on Rose Leaf in carbon pencil

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is scary. Is it cheating that I drew something that is scary for some people but that I find fascinating?

Hey, I can understand fear of spiders. They're crawly, they seem to have a few too many legs, and the thought of them lurking around the rose bushes is enough to send some gardeners into shivers.

Me, though? My usual spider reaction is "cool. I wonder what kind it is?"

That is, I suppose, a fairly recent response. I mean, I've always tolerated spiders. Terrified of insects as a child (and the massive infestations of tent caterpillars at the time didn't help. Not being able to go outside without stepping on that wriggling blue carpet? Nightmarish.), but not so bad with spiders. I know it sounds weird, because it is weird. Best I can figure, the spiders were ok because they ate the insects.

Spiders became more of a like than a tolerate for me a few years ago when I was working on a spider display for the nature centre. I spent an entire summer photographing and drawing spiders (some of the sketches can be found via the slideshow on the blog's sidebar, for anyone interested), and when you get something like that in your head you start seeing spiders everywhere. No, wait -- that's a good thing. You start seeing spiders everywhere, you gain an appreciation for their different life styles and survival strategies, and you realise very forcefully that if it wasn't for the spiders we'd all be butt-deep in insects. They're fantastic pest control.

Of course, it didn't hurt anything that I have a fascination for comparative anatomy stemming from my university days. You can tell a lot about an animal by looking at the structure of its body parts, and spiders are beautifully built for the jobs that they do.

Yes, I meant to type beautifully there. I know I'm not going to convince most of you, but there's a great deal of beauty to spiders.

Anyway. I suppose that the idea of spiders in the roses is scary enough for most people to qualify for the IF prompt, even if my reaction was a little more on the disappointed side. Disappointed that I never did figure out what species of spider the original for this doodle was, that is. It wouldn't give me a good enough look at it to attempt an ID.


This particular doodle started out to be a bit more precise than it ended up. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to get scribbly with carbon pencils. Maybe I need to take some time away from the pen & ink and let myself get looser again? Might not be a bad idea...

1 comment:

Cindy D. said...

This is nice. And I don't mind the spiders so much outside. Unless I walk into a web - then I do a little freak out dance, generally. I remember a particularly pretty one on a hike in Florida, lime green and yellow. But I gave it a wide berth. ;)

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