Saturday, 7 January 2012

Flown in carbon pencil

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is grounded. And here? An assortment of things that used to fly, but won't be flying anymore as far as I can tell.

The feather I hope was moulted rather than leftover from some animal's meal, although... circle of life and all of that, right? Actually, as a zoologist I have to admit that I'm not at all squicked out by food chains. They're more than a little bit necessary, after all.

The plant fruits are both wind-dispersed, and have a couple of different strategies for staying in the air as long as possible. Everyone's familiar with the parachute-bearing fruits of the dandelion, I know, although I didn't know that the fruits themselves are called cypselae rather than achenes (kind of a nerd point there, but without us nerds the world would be a much duller place. No, really. It would. Nerd power!). The other fruit is an achene, and it's the samara or key of the Manitoba Maple or Box Elder. We always called them helicopters when I was a kid, because they stay in the air by spinning as they fall. I have kind of a weird little fascination with these things, I guess, judging from how many of them I've drawn over the years.

Last but not least, I like to think that my little spiderling has just finished the one and only flight of its life. In order to spread out -- and keep from eating each other -- the spiderlings of many species will send out a long filament of silk once they're hatched, and "balloon" to another place when the wind catches the silk.

Everything here was built to be aloft (well, maybe not the spider) but has hit the dirt for the last time. Sounds pretty grounded to me.


Incidentally, as an almost-fanatical sharpener -- to the point where I hardly used to be able to start any sort of drawing project until ALL of the pencils in the kit were sharpened even if I wasn't going to use them -- I'm stupidly proud to say that I didn't sharpen my pencil one single time while I was doing this. Not even when I got to the dandelion seed. Small steps count, you know.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails