Friday, December 10, 2010


The fight for illustrated glory was to be fought on a field made not of earth nor ore. Rather, the sparring ring is a place known only to sailors and skycaptains: that faint glimmer on the horizon, that distant shimmer at the world's edge; where The Sky meets The Sea.

Birds fighting Fish. Was the squid to be knocked down the pecking order, or was it the chicken who was going to be schooled? No one could predict the outcome, and frankly - no one could figure out the outcome even after the fight had ended. Since chickens can't swim, and squids turn to heaping gelatinous puddles when removed from water, this showdown sure was hard to host - much less officiate. The crowds feared the match may go the way of the infamous Apples V. Oranges battle of decades past, where a winner was never named, and the uncomparable fruits of the fighters' labor rotted in the judiciary sun.

This challenge was to tackle two tasks in tandem. In Monday night's corner: one highly detailed and accurate rendering of a chicken skull, and due on Wednesday: one free-flowing watercolor-blasted impression of a squid in perspective. Here are snapshots of the contenders taken during the epic battle.

Representing the Featherweight Class:

"Avian Skull, Final Rendering" (2010), graphite [poster mock-up]

Gallus gallus domesticus (The Domesticated Chicken)

Anatomically accurate and structurally sound, this cock flew in ready to fight. No, really, it's a fighting cock! It is a breed called the Aseel Chicken. Notice its enlarged supraocular bones (labeled) to help protect its vulnerable eyes from being battered by its opponent's beak during battle! Evolved with a point in mind.

And representing the Heavyweight Class [or, Heavier-when-wet Class]:

"Squid Watercolor, Final Rendering" (2010), watercolor

Loligo opalescens (The Opalescent Inshore Squid)

Smart and slimy, this aquatic adversary uses jet propulsion to move quickly in seaworld skirmishes. Simply by being cousins with the octopus and the cuttlefish already makes this marine mate cooler than most; and that's even before talking about tentacles! Watch out for that sucker punch.

But, to tone it down: mastering the shadowy nature of value scales is enough of a gray area in its own right. To add color is to truly add fuel (and fuchsia) to the fires of frustration. Achieving depth without darkness can be the greatest of conundrums. Until you see the light! Ah, the good ol' visual light spectrum, showering us in waves of profound and punishingly-pure prisms. But perhaps all this small talk is just my enlightened way of providing some foreshadowing for my next pun-smattered post... which'll be in technicolor!