Saturday, May 24, 2008

Drawings--rough drafts

I've been doing a fair amount of rifleing through some old work at an attempt (Notice I said 'Attempt') to better organize my environment and I ran across a couple of things I did for projects.

This is the plan for a wax of "Tracking the Thunderbird", a project that was a collaboration between the local water board, the library and the schools in order to bring awareness to the various sources of water in our area. And believe me, in the Pacific Northwest water is everywhere. It was brilliant.

The idea was to set up teams of three people: An illustrator, a story-teller and an artist to design a large bronze plaque. The plaques would all have the same basic motif--the stylized head of a thunderbird.

As each story was developed, the artist would modify the design of the thunderbird head to fit the different chapters of the study book. We met as teams and brainstormed ideas for each of the chapters. My group was Estuary. The writer wrote a story which the illustrator worked into the book drawings and I carved the wax blank for the plaque design.

Thunderbird bronzes which were cast using a sand mold process, were mounted on concrete bases and then placed or hidden in various areas that illustrated each of the locations and sources of water. The task for the children was to find the bronzes using clues in the book--a kind of science scavenger hunt.

It was a rather nervous project for me because I got one and only one wax blank. No re-dos allowed. I drew and drew, tweaked and tweaked the design. The main story idea was a giant snake controlled an estuary of the fresh, brackish and salt water and all the creatures that lived there and depended on it. He held them in the coils of his body and lay with his tail in the fresh water; his head in the salt water. (The Estuary I was illustrating was a very twisty-winding creek.) The upshot of the tale was that a brave sea gull marshalled a band of sea gulls to drove the snake from the estuary so all the creatures could live and thrive. Hey, I didn't write it, okay?

Does the snake look a little familiar?

One of the tricks is that there are 12 birds hidden within the design.
Can you find them? Hint: Think positive and negative images. And don't forget the Thunderbird.

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