My project is a continuation of the nature journaling website I created, thanks to 2 Small Neighbourhood Grants. On this occasion, the topic of the next round of drawing demonstrations was BUGS! Big bugs! I was able to borrow 9 specimens from the Spencer Entomology Collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. I met Karen Needham, curator of the collection, and one of her students at the Museum. They walked me through several specimens that they had carefully selected for me, according to my initial request. There were 2 amazingly different cockroaches and I immediately saw an opportunity to draw them together. Instead of a scorpion, I ended choosing a vinegaroon, because I had never seen anything like it in my life. Finally, instead of a spider, a katydid made the final 9. They placed the specimens in a box and taught me how to place them safely into a tiny foam for the drawing sessions. They also told me how to keep the box inside a plastic sealed bag, to avoid home bugs eating the preserved bugs. The travel home was full of excitement knowing I was carrying a precious cargo of 9 huge bugs (and was also a little stressful, hoping that no one would bump into me on the bus and the Canada Line). It was raining a lot, but I managed to return to Richmond in one piece.
Recording took place at the safety of my own home. Since the inception of this project, I have developed a good pipeline to record and edit the videos. I recorded the drawing session and then edited the video (adding labels etc.) in the free software Microsoft Video Editor, compressed them and uploaded them into YouTube. Then I create a page for each project on my website and embedded the videos. Each project has a unique icon that I also created, which are also shown on the main menu. I also took close up photographs of each specimen, showing details only visible up close, like those amazing tarsal claws! Lastly, I sent a newsletter to announce that the projects are officially uploaded and created a new 5×7 card to distribute locally and electronically. Overall, it took 5 full days of work during the holiday break.
During recording, I had some fun outtakes and several moments where I went blank, but overall, the process went very smoothly. This was also a HUGE learning experience for me: I had to do a lot of research on the specimens I was about to draw, and I found amazingly interesting facts about their anatomy and behaviour, and I included these in the videos, with genuine interest and enthusiasm. I cannot not possibly pick a favourite from the 9 specimens I drew. They all have something unique and different that made them extremely appealing. I truly hope these 8 new projects ignite curiosity and help promote and better our understanding of nature, because bugs are an amazing and important part of nature!