Category: Veronica Murrel

Coat Kids Club 3

Surprising, this was my last Coati Kid’s Club. I started helping with these for the very start of my internship and time went faster than I expected. By now I was quite familiar with how these classes went; lecture, museum, snacks, and a craft, but it was still as enjoying as ever to assist in them. I just like hanging around kids, I guess.

The subject of this meeting was pack rats, those wily  little buggers. There was a table with information on how to safely remove pack rats in the back of the classroom, with no-kill traps put on display. As I looked over the traps, memories of a teacher telling me how he just drowned any pack rats he caught began to echo in my head. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Children were encouraged to bring in their collections, because pack rats also collect stuff, right? One child brought in plastic fantasy figures, another kid brought in rocks, there was a girl with a bug collection, one kid brought in even more rocks, and I think there might have been one last kid who also brought rocks. This was a valuable lesson in appealing to younger audiences, as I have now learned that children really like rocks. I would change my comic’s subject to Sonoran geology but unfortunately I have already left the time frame to do so. Maybe I could just draw a bunch of rocks in the background of the panels, that might work.

One other focus of the club was a future exhibit being planned for the museum, a child oriented activity area based around pack rats. It was made to be more like a play pen than a usual museum exhibit, but also had educational elements interwoven. The premise was that the children could play like pack rats, and by going through the play pen they would have a greater understanding of pack rat’s environment. It was a pretty charming idea, the kind of stuff I think I would’ve enjoyed as a kid. Thankfully, despite being a legal adult I am 5’2″ and could easily fit in most children’s playgrounds.

I’ve really enjoyed helping with these clubs for the last few months, and I’ll be sad to be no longer participating as a volunteer. Still, I really hope I can continue to help, since these have been very enlightening for planning out my project.

Desert Museum Week 6

What a wondrous week, I got to do something other than drawing! That’s cool.

Classes were what I did! I was an assistant in two of them. One was for a field trip group, and the other was for the Coati pups program. The Coati pups program was basically an education program hosted once a month made aimed at young children and their parents. This program focused simpler topics than Coati Kids club, but I enjoy how the education department at the museum tries to provide classes for a variety of ages.

Usually the Coati pups programs had around 10+ children, according to Ms. Robin and the other volunteer, but apparently many had cancelled in the days before, leaving just one little girl, her parents, and her grandma. What a lucky kid she was! Since there was only one child today, Ms. Robin and the other adult volunteer could handle the one child well on their own, and I got to help explain things to the parents and grandmother. This was definitely the easier task, though.

One thing I’ve come to realize after assisting with these classes for a while now is just how difficult it can be to break down seemingly simple concepts to be understandable for children. The other class I assisted in was for elementary school children, but there were many more, a whole class full. As Ms. Robin lectured on birds and showed the class Luca and a barn owl, I helped pass around various artifacts; bird wings, skulls, feet, and eggs. As the objects were moving around the room, being passed from student to student, one boy called me over with a question. He was holding a hollow ostrich egg, and he asked me where the baby bird was.

There was a hole drilled into the top of the egg, and the boy peered inside of it. He handed it to me, and I looked inside as well. I wasn’t sure what I expected.  I told him that the egg yolk was drained out through the hole, but the boy didn’t understand. He just wanted to know where the baby bird was. I realized I would have to explain how baby birds form from egg yolks, and early on in development the embryo would have been small enough to have been drained from the hole. I had to repeat myself a few times before he either understood, or just got bored of my rambling.

I guess this goes to show that what I thought to be common sense might not have been as common as I though, especially with younger audiences. As I write, I’ll have to make sure I’m breaking down the concepts in a way that could be simply understood.

Desert Museum Week 5

Finally, we get to the actual drawing! This week was mainly drawing, drawing, drawing, and more drawing, as it is every week, but this time I actually got to work on the comic itself! There wasn’t much going on at the Museum this week, so this was my main activity throughout the week.

First things first, supplies. After doing some research, I decided on getting smooth Bristol paper to draw on, it cost around 10 dollars for a pad of  24 11 x 17 inch sheets. Thankfully, I already own inking supplies so this should be my only cost in regards to this project. From that, I cut the sheets into 8.5 x 11 pages, as is standard size for many comics.

I made the mistake of assuming my process would be quick, easy, and straightforward.  I initially planned to do all my sketches first, then move onto inks. Unfortunately, that did not pan out. While doing sketches I often would get stuck on page and compositions. I would realize an image wasn’t working, and tried to think of a solution, but couldn’t discover one and I would just move onto other drawings. Some parts I realized could be more easily completed in digital, so they were just left unfinished. I ended up with many pages half done in sloppy pencils and half done in finished inks.

I discovered a few things as I drew these. the first thing I learned was that while doing life drawings of animals was definitely very helpful, I still needed to rely heavily on photo references when I didn’t have the actual living creature on standby. There were a lot of little details I just couldn’t draw down when I was drawing live animals, and while I feel my comic drawings are definitely stiffer as a result. It’s unfortunate, but it was the only solution.

Lastly, everything took much longer to draw than I thought it would. I had assumed I would be halfway done with the chapter at this point, but that was not the case. I may have gotten a bit too detailed with some of the artwork, I originally planned to do the comic with much simpler art so I suppose I underestimated the amount of time art would take. Overall, I’m satisfied with the art so far, but it’s taking me much too long. I don’t want to sacrifice quality, but I’d also like to pick up the pace.