Side Project: Nat the Gnat

It’s been over a month since my last post?! Well, that’s just unacceptable! 

 

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Truth be told, I’ve been awfully busy the last month with life in general. That, and massive writer’s block. I have many things lined up and have much to tell about what I have done in the time I was away including what I worked on for the second Side Project post! I did yet another piece for the San Diego Natural History Museum (also referred to as “theNAT” which will come into play later in this post) to coincide with their newest exhibition all about insects! More after the jump…

 

 

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The newest exhibit to make its way to theNAT is Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders with “Entomo” being short for “entomology” meaning the study of insects. The exhibit has the feeling of a circus sideshow and features a wide variety of insects and the odd and strange things about them.

 

At the museum, The Department of Entomology has a wide collection of bugs and other little critters found in San Diego county and everywhere ranging from beautiful butterflies to creepy millipedes. I’m not a big fan of bugs (I don’t even like them in my Pokémon team) so seeing all of the bugs leaves me with a very icky feeling. I’m also not a big fan of snakes but that’s another story. (Which leaves the very important question: WHY do I work at a natural history museum?)

 

During the course of when Dr. Entomo will be on display, the museum will be having Six-Legged Sundays featuring activities for the kids and a chance to meet one of our museum Entomologists. One of the activities on the list is “Find Nat the Gnat at theNAT”. A gnat is a tiny flying insect and usually seen flying in groups. The activity is simple: guests have to find Nat who is a little gnat amigurumi (crocheted toy) that is hidden somewhere in the museum. To add a little fun, my manager approached me with the idea of illustrating Nat for buttons to wear on Sundays.

 

For those who aren’t familiar with how I work, I like to do an extensive amount of research when approached with a new idea. That means going onto Google and search for everything. You can imagine my “excitement” when I looked up images of gnats in… all of their glory. I found everything from cute little cartoon renditions to close-ups of maggots. Surprisingly enough, this was not the grossest thing I’ve have to look up (I’ve research for leprosy before; it’s a LONG story).

 

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The first draft of Nat came out to looking a bit more of a mosquito with its long nose and the big note I received was to make it smaller and turned upward like a hook. He would be colored the same as the amigurumi; red eyes, black head, white wings, and green abdomen and thorax. I added his rosy cheeks and big smile for character (almost as if he’s saying, “Hi, there. Can I have a hug?”).

 

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The final drawing was sent off to the Graphics Department in where it was prepped for the 3” buttons. We (the Visitor Services team) wear them during Six-Legged Sundays and pass out insect-inspired prizes to those who can find Nat during the day. We’ve had a few visitors asking if the button is available for purchase. I talked to my manager about it and it could be a possibility… just have to see how it works out!

 

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The exhibit will be in town until June so if you’ll be here, come and stop by! Just don’t make me hold any Madagascar hissing cockroaches…

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