On the Drawing of a Katydid
It’s no secret that I like to draw bugs. Nor is it a secret that I’m a huge fan of bugs in general. In fact, I have a ton of students who are more than willing to catch a cockroach, put it in a jar, and leave it on my desk to discover first thing in the morning. I often wonder why no one ever drops off really cool things like giant hercules beetles or magnificent rainbow scarab beetles. What is it about the grossest of all vermin that makes kids want to give them to me as gifts? (Now a good mostly-decomposed animal skull…? Yes please!) But I digress.
I have a bug collection and I even add to it here and there. It’s true that most of my collecting was done in the past, but I still add to it now and then. Especially if I get a really good bug. Like if I get a Florida Giant Katydid, whole and undamaged, I’ll pin it and preserve it. They make for great drawings. I even share with my students (which accounts for the poor state of my collection). In fact, I’ve shared this very katydid with my students. I left it in their care and was very careful to tell them to put it away when they were done drawing it. They did not. As they left it out some nocturnal visitors in my room found it and ate it from the inside out. To living insects, preserved insects are simply their version of beef jerky.
So I’ve drawn this imperfectly preserved insect. And I hate to admit it, but I’m glad there is a gaping hole on the side of this bug. I think it’s made for a more interesting drawing. There’s always a deeper layer to look at the longer you stare at it. A sort of Inception of bugs.
I think I’m drawn to bugs (ha) because even in death they look alive. More than a few of my students are pretty sure that my bugs are going to come back to life (never mind that they’ve been pinned in place for nearly 20 years). Their exoskeletons, or shells, are like the hulls of tiny little robots. All they are waiting for is to be plugged in so they can spring back to life. I suppose my drawings are the closest they will come to that.