Friday, February 24, 2017

Spider Sketching

Last week I reviewed books about predators and prey, so this week we're taking a break from books to study local predators. One predator that you might find - even in the winter - is a spider.

Spiders aren't very active this time of year - at least in the northern part of the US where the weather is cold and snowy. Nope. Most of 'em are snugly ensconced beneath layers of leaves, or hanging out in the northeast corner of my bathroom (because it's warm and humid and there's usually an errant fungus gnat cruising about).

If you can't find any spiders around your house, you can always look online. Check out spiders with Bill Nye.

In the next town over, six-year-old Zuri has been busy drawing bugs. Some are imaginative multi-legged mini-monsters, and others resemble sketches you might find in any field journal. But the other day he emailed me a spider - OK, a drawing of a spider, complete with annotations.

Zuri likes drawing spiders because there are so many species and he likes to learn about them. The drawing he sent me isn't any particular spider; it's a "generic" spider. 
Even so, he paid attention to small details, like the hairs on the legs. They act as sensors, he notes on the drawing.

If you like spiders and you're stuck inside on a snowy day, why not draw a bunch? You can copy from photos in a field guide or from online sources (there's gorgeous photos at Spiders rule). Spend time closely observing the photos, and check out details: Can you see their eyes? What do their legs look like? Are there spikes or stripes or dots or zig-zags? What do their feet look like? Their fangs? Are they smooth or hairy?

Want to learn more about spider anatomy? Here's a great resource. Then go on a spider hunt around your house. You might find some dried-up spider remains in the windowsills, or live spiders lurking behind the stove. Draw pictures of those, too. But above all - have fun!

1 comment:

  1. On warm days you'll probably find spiders exploring the lawn...