Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Worry Too Much

This is just the kind of detail I always agonize about.

Our local SCBWI chapter asked our illustrator group to create cards to send a message of hope and recovery following recent bushfire disasters in Victoria, Australia. SCBWI Australia and New Zealand organized the Hope Card for Australia project, for children’s authors and illustrators to show support for the children and schools of Australia.


To brainstorm an idea, I looked for images that to me conveyed a feeling of hope. I liked an image I found of grass growing against a blue sky.




A nice enough start. I thought I’d go with a universal children’s book character, and added a mouse.



I wanted to include something specific to the area, so I researched native wildflowers and added the cut leaf daisy.



Something about the picture didn’t seem right. As I added finishing touches to my painting, it dawned on me – I’ve seen a documentary showing an overpopulation of mice plaguing Australian farm life. Oops. A message of hope for wildfire recovery probably shouldn’t include an animal whose wildly fluctuating populations occasionally wreak havoc on crops.

I searched images of Australian wildlife, found adorable pictures of Australian Wood Duck ducklings, and quickly redid the illustration:



And just after I turned it in, I learned that these little darlings have ALSO been known to be pests, although hopefully to a lesser degree.

If you think about it, plenty of lovable characters could be nuisances in real life, starting with the sweet little bunny. I’ll bet there was a darn good reason Peter Rabbit’s father was baked in a pie.

In Australia, even the beloved kangaroo has given headaches to farm communities. I’ll have to console myself with believing my little duckling wouldn’t dare cause any trouble.

Maybe I should’ve gone with a koala. Anyway, with all the best intentions, I'm sending good thoughts (along with a sometimes misbehaving duck) to Australia.

21 comments:

Ocean Girl said...

Sometimes, even pests (or who we consider as pests), may want to come out and help and contribute. That little bird portrays just that. It is perfect (in my opinion).

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, it's a sweet picture. Think of all the pests we've become accustomed to see as "cute"--mice, rabbits, rats...

Suzie said...

The koala are all suffering from syphilis (for real) so I think they may a be a little gross too.

ICQB said...

It's a beautiful image - no worries, mate!

C.R. Evers said...

That picture is beautiful and perfect!

Great work!

Christy

MG Higgins said...

Funny story, Adrienne. A wonderful demonstration of creative angst. The end result is adorable.

Lily Cate said...

"Pest" is just perspective, isn't it?
I have a half dozen squirrels in the bird feeder right now, and I don't mind a bit- but the one we had in the attic this spring was a different story entirely.

Ara Burklund said...

Your artwork is gorgeous, Adrienne! I think you're reading too much into it. They'll just appreciate its beauty, along with the warm wishes. : )

adrienne said...

Ocean Girl - I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks!

Green Girl - I always think it's not their fault they are pests - a rat's gotta eat, too!

Suzie - How sad...I've heard about diminishing habitats, but nothing like that.

ICQB, Christy - Thanks!

MG - Leave it to me to find something to fret about, even in a simple card... :)

Lily - That's a great way to look at it. I'll bet the birds have another opinion entirely!

Ara - I'm sure you are right - I think it was the rampant mice images that got me going. Or, I just need something to worry about... :}

LW said...

Your card is adorable and made from a heart of gold…

Here in the northeast the deer has become a big nuisance.
They are the carriers of the ticks that carry Lyme disease
and deers also eat thousands of dollars of shrubs and trees in people's yards each winter..
Nevertheless, I still marvel at the young fawn and his mother that I see each morning in our backfield.
Without a doubt that same little fellow will be in my yard this winter making my shrubs into deer topiary ..

Louise

Vodka Mom said...

adrienne- you made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!

Thanks! that was a great story- and the pics rocked.


you are very talented, woman. In more ways than one.

:-)

Mary Witzl said...

Lovely pictures. And at least you didn't pick a cane toad!

In a country like Australia, it is inevitable that some animals are going to get in the way or be a nuisance. That's probably the same everywhere, come to think of it. I think bunnies are great, but not when they've scarfed up all my tender young broccoli plants.

adrienne said...

Louise - My mom had that same conflict with the deer - there's a delicate balance between appreciating nature and not letting it take over. But they are so cute...

Vodka Mom - Thanks! If you like tales of my foolishness, there's plenty more where that came from... :-D

Mary - Ha! I thought about the cane toad! That's an odd one. I guess island countries do have a unique challenge.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Your little ducky is so cute! It's hard to believe he could ever be a pest. Love the artwork! Great job!

Nora MacFarlane said...

Beautiful art work!

Rena said...

Adorable drawings! Koalas are so overrated. ;) You could try the Numbat. They live in SW Australia, if I'm not mistaken. They're super cute, but I'm sure there's something wrong with them too. LOL!

Anne Spollen said...
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Anne Spollen said...

I wish all our choices were creative ones like this -- with such great outcomes! You are really talented.

Anne Spollen said...
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adrienne said...

Suzanne - For an example of something that can look innocent and cause trouble - just look below at my dog's baby pic...

Nora - Thanks!

Rena - Numbats...they ARE super cute! I think they could get away with just about anything. :D

Anne - I could use one of those 'Easy' buttons for decision making...good thing I steered away from things like politics. :)

Angela said...

Adrienne,
Thank you for contributing to the HOPE Card. Your illustration is sooo beautiful. I think it sends the perfect message!