Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sketchbook date

Crowned crane and hornbills

I had to make another run to the city this week. It's always a major undertaking, since the two large cities nearest to us are 2 and 2 1/2 hours away. A down-and-back trip is common, but grueling.

This time I managed to sneak in a couple of hours to run off to the zoo, sketchbook in hand. I got there early, just before the (people) gates opened, and managed a couple of pages of scribbles before the crowds got enormous and irritating.

The hardest part about drawing in a public place like the zoo is not the drawing, but the people. I'm going to avoid a rant because a) it could get ugly and b) I'm tired, but c'mon, adults! How about at least TRYING to pass good information on to the kids you're hauling around? Despite signs and information in front of every exhibit, it's appalling the sort of misinformation I overhear while I'm working. Adults just make stuff up if they don't know!

Well, kids do, too.

The funniest thing I heard all day came from kids who must have been 5 or 6 years old. A group swarmed around me as I sat sketching in front of the giraffe yard. One boy noticed that some giraffes had darker spots than others, so immediately announced that "Boy giraffes had black spots and girl giraffes had brown spots." The adult with the group responded with, "Really? I never heard that before. Is that true?" To which aforementioned child responded, "Oh, yes. My dad told me. (pause to decide how to back up his claim) He works here. (Another pause.) He takes care of the giraffes. I help him. I feed the giraffes...."

Kid #1 was definitely warming to his topic, and the story was growing when Kid #2 literally did an end run around Kid #1 (and me). Kid #2 insinuated himself between Kid #1 and the rest of the group and said, conspiratorially, "Well. MY dad told ME that giraffes can suck your brains out just by sticking their tongue in your ear. You don't wanna get too close to THOSE things."

Next time I go to the zoo, I'm taking ear muffs. For multiple reasons.


  1. At 18 inches long, those tongues could clean your brains out pretty good. And I'll bet that the staff weren't as much fun as they used to be back in the day!

  2. the sketches of the crane are really nice :) they are such interesting looking birds

    When I am at the zoo when a parent gives the wrong information about an animal I say something :p When there are signs everywhere there is no point making things up when you can just read the sign :p Parents I find are just being lazy instead of educating their kids :/ which is a shame

    its different when a kid does it because most of the time they have no idea and its just using their imagination.

  3. I always love to see your sketches, Sherrie. Unfortunately I wasn't a sketcher when I last visited a zoo - we had a wonderful one in Sydney (as zoos go, that is).

    Beautiful crane, is he going to become a linocut?

    Love the brain sucking tale.

  4. Hey, Dipper... you're right, not so much fun as the olden days, but I did see Eric!

    Yup, Jennifer, don't get me started! One of these days I might even write a book of the unbelievable things I overhear whilst drawing. Could be funny or tragic....

    Robyn... I haven't given much thought to the crane in lino... I'd need to make more sketches, I think. But they ARE nice, graphic creatures... hmmmmmm.....

  5. i think it would be funny because then you could also draw some of the stupid stuff that you overhear :D

  6. I had a very vivid picture in my mind of a giraffe sucking the brains out of some of my 10 year old 4th grade boys. :-D

    Love your sketch.

    Lindy - one more week of summer school - I'm exhausted!

  7. LOL! Lindy, I think most boys have their brains sucked out at 10. Thank goodness most of them eventually get them back.

  8. It supports my argument for isolating all male children from 10 til 25!
    But you're right about some parents dishing out rubbish.