Monday, January 21, 2013

the life aquatic

Hooray! Here Come the Humpbacks! has arrived. When the box of complimentary copies shows up, it's official. Since the non-fiction story by April Pulley Sayre is about a mother humpback and her calf's migration, my dedication is to my daughter, "who crosses water twice a day," her own six-word memoir, written in a comics class exercise.

Yes, we live the life aquatic here on an island, crisscrossing Casco Bay. She headed to the ferry one morning wearing a t-shirt she designed.

The same day I hung up a sparkly piece I bought from Maine College of Art student Devon Johnson.

The semester has begun, and I am excited to share the classroom with Devon and the rest of the class of 2013 illustration majors. In reviewing their work, I spied several interesting illustrations for an assigned article about ocean trash.

I, too, illustrated a trashy scene for Here Come the Humpbacks!

It's a daily reality here. All manner of things wash up. Sometimes a neighbor makes a statement, like this monstrous driftwood covered in lobster buoys.

On my daily walks with the dog, I collect any stray debris on the beach.

It's my personal beauty regimen. See, isn't this more beautiful?

Illustrating a non-fiction picture book is more than just drawing. It's getting immersed in the subject. I learned a LOT about whales while working on this book. Every bit of trash I pick up is one less particle of plastic being ingested by sea life.

I came home and found another surprise: my adoption package from Whale and Dolphin Conservation! Here is Salt, my plush toy that represents a humpback first identified in 1975 who has 12 known calves and became a grandmother in 1992, the year we moved to Maine.

Besides a certificate of her history, I received her family tree and a DVD of whale watch videos. Cool!

Meanwhile, my better half was doing his part to preserve the ocean. He designed this poster for an upcoming rally about tar sands.

And what's a rally without a banner? A group of hardy islanders gathered to pull one together, but saved the actual painting task to Marty.

So we draw, paint, and care about our world. Right now there's talk of snow again. Here's a view from Here Come the Humpbacks.

Could be Salt and her kin, making their way back home.

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