My first week at the Desert Museum recently ended and it was nothing short of lovely! The museum staff and docents have been overwhelmingly kind and helpful, providing me with no shortage of information and ideas. Ms. Robin wanted my first week to just have my head getting crammed with information, to which I think she succeeded. In just the first week of internship I’ve been able to help feed porcupines, get up close to barn owls in the aviary, and watch cactus wrens build nests inches in front of me!
What an absolute doll! This wee pokey critter was taken out so her enclosure could be cleaned. She was given some fruit and veggies as a treat, which she eagerly gobbled up. She didn’t appreciate the sweet potato, though, and refused to take it when I offered it to her.
The cactus wren nest in this chain fruit cholla was right next to the main trail in the cactus garden. Hopefully no on will disturb the birds by the time their eggs are laid.
This week was quite calm at the Desert Museum, not too many visitors, no educational events, so I had plenty of time to talk to the docents and staff to gather research and sketches for my comic plans. I’ve already gotten plenty of ideas, the main trouble will be deciding what info to keep in and what to keep out. If I made a comic about everything I had learned so far, it would probably be at a hundred pages long, and I simply don’t have the time to draw all of that.
The current plan is to have the comic around 48 pages long, with section on specific features of the desert each being 8 or 16 pages long. Comics are usually made to be some multiple of four pages long, due to the way the paper is folded when printing. This limit is already proving to be a bit tricky to write around, as it means I’ll have to compress a lot of information if I want to get everything I want in the comic.
As for working on the comic’s art itself, I’m still getting a handle on drawing live animals, many of them are quite animated in their enclosures. It’s hard to get even a decent gesture sketch down when the critters refuse to stay still.
These raptor and raven sketches are some of my favorites, mainly because I got to do them in the raptor aviary, where the birds for the raptor free flight are kept. It’s not on exhibit, but some of the staff members very kindly allowed me to go back there to observe the birds following the show. It was wonderful, they had all sorts of birds there, Chihuahuan ravens, barn owls, peregrine falcons, grey hawks, and even more. Unfortunately I was only able to spend a short time there, as I soon had to leave. I hope to get another opportunity to sketch some of these gorgeous birds, but it might be a little difficult to make the arrangements. As always, I’m extremely grateful to the people at the Desert Museum for the numerous opportunities they have provided me.