Monday, June 2, 2008

Rodent research redux

Here’s introducing one of a couple of big projects that I’m happy to be working on in the coming months, the drawings for the sixth (and final) book in Avi’s Poppy Stories series, Poppy and Ereth. Research got underway last week with a trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The visit provided useful material and also a full circle moment: years ago, before the idea of sequel or series was a glimmer in anyone’s eye, I visited the museum for help with the drawings for the book Poppy (no longer first in the series, but the first of the books published). On last week’s trip, I made a point of finding the great horned owl who gave aid to that book’s drawings of Mr. Ocax. It was a good visit, and a reminder that while Google image search will do for you some of the time, there’s no substitute for looking at the real thing, even when stuffed.

Back in the day, by the way, the sign over the door did not say Harvard Museum of Natural History. It bore the more cryptic and (therefore?) more satisfying name Museum of Comparative Zoology. Technically that name name still applies; the Harvard Museum of Natural History was invented in 1998 to serve as “the public face of three research museums,” one of them being the MCZ, but good luck to you if you try to find the words Museum of Comparative Zoology anywhere in the place. No big deal, I suppose, yet there’s something in the older, less expected name that I miss.

1 comment:

tim b said...

Oh, the joy of drawing the Real Thing... especially with the birds and animals, accept no substitutes. The American Museum of Natural History in New York could as easily bear the name "My Big 3-D Illustration Answer Key".

Did get yelled at once by a guard for taking a forbidden photo of a possum, though...