Drawing from Real Life

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

If you’re an aspiring artist, one thing people will tell you over and over is to draw from real life. It’s actually good advice, so when I went to draw these pages with Cisco and Frank and all their friends, I thought back to experiences I had when I was a kid.

A little backstory is probably in order. My father loves birds and always has. I know he had a pigeon coop in the yard when he was growing up and as he got older, the assortment of bird cages he had in the yard grew. By the time my brothers and sister and I came along, my dad had pigeons, chickens, doves, pheasant, and peacocks. We also had a extremely mean goose which wandered around loose in the yard and would attack either us or the dog all the time, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, birds are pretty cool I guess but they’re also kind of filthy when cooped up, and since we were kids that meant that my brothers and I (and occasionally my sister) would be the ones who had to clean the bird cages. The pigeons were the worst because they’d always retreat to one side of the cage then once you got near them they’d all take off and stir up all kinds of dust, and feathers, and dried poo. It was always awful.

I think the fifth panel of this comic probably captures that experience best, and it’s the one in which I didn’t really draw anything. Weird, huh?