I have been working on the design for this year's Christmas card. I decided to base it on a little sketch I made from a drawing I saw in a dream last week.
About two years ago, I was curious to see what filters people were using with their photos on Instagram etc would look like applied to drawings. I made my own custom filters in Photoshop and experimented with a set of ‘Superhero’ cartoons I was making at the time.
Above is a compilation of recent drawings the way I post them on Instagram, playing around with those filters.
This compilation of nine recent bug drawings reminded me of flies fossilised in amber. When I was a little girl my Grandad (”Bumpy Yoyo”) had a piece of amber with flies in it, and I thought it was the most magical thing I had ever seen (apart from the prism he also had). He would tell me how the flies got in there and how old they were, which boggled my mind.
Reflecting on this memory today, I began to wonder what kind of flies are preserved in amber - they must be very old. How do they compare to the flies and bugs which populate our world today?
This is a great headline! Curious about the evolutionary process of the leaf insect, I was Googling their predators when this statement popped up in my search returns. Unfortunately there was no content when I followed the link.
It suggests to me, however, that pandas might eat leaf insects: I know leaf insects are often called “walking leaves”, and Pandas include several leafy greens in their diet and share common habitats with leaf insects in China. I suppose that pandas may occasionally grab a leaf insect, or walking leaf, for a snack, mistaking it for a real leaf. This wouldn’t be a problem for the Panda, as they like to include a little animal protein in their diet as well as leaves.
I couldn’t find out much else about what eats leaf insects. I bet slugs would - I know they eat just about anything leafy in my garden and porch, and enjoy the occasional insect as well as greens, so pandas and slugs probably eat leaf insects. I did discover stick insects will eat them too (which seems cannibalistic as they are so closely related) but only when other food is scarce.
I have yet to find evidence that humans eat leaf insects, but I would imagine they fry up nice and crispy ...
I am a great fan of bookplates. I dream of winning the lottery and becoming a collector of bookplates. The ones pictured here are by Estonian artist Vello Vinn, dated 1971 and 1970. These and more by Vinn can be found at The Digital Exlibris Museum.
I had never heard of Vinn until one day I was rambling around the marvellous 50watts drooling over Russian bookplates, and accidentally stumbled across Vinn’s illustrations for Helvi Jürisson's Putukajutud (Insect Stories, 1983, Estonia). I fell head over heels - possibly because of the insects, but also the intricacy and humour in the drawings ...
THE WEEKLY: BINKY McKEE AND ME
Welcome to my blog where I share my work as an illustrator as well as occasional events from the week.
I illustrate under the pen-name of Binky McKee, McKee being my mother's maiden name. Binky was the name of every single cat my great-grandmother owned - about 40 of them during her life! It seemed natural to devote my more nurturing, colourful, story-telling work to the female side of the family, whilst practicing my art work under my paternal name.
Currently I am working on illustrating a children's book, and of course I can't resist an Instagram challenge such as Folktale Week or Inktober!
I hope you enjoy the work!
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland