Thursday, July 14, 2011

Paper Butterflies

When last I posted it was all about vintage maps and envelopes. And I have been working furiously to make lots and lots of them in the intervening week. But I was also becoming fascinated with butterflies and their iconic shape. With a little web surfing I realized that a lot of butterfly art is actually kind of crappy--not like a real butterfly at all. Proportion of upper and lower wings and angles are key. Its not so simple to draw a realistic butterfly, it turns out, so I resorted to my trusty Audobon Butterfly field guide, National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Butterflies Of North America (National Audubon Society Pocket Guides) and even a real Morpho butterfly I had under glass.  (Here's a link if you're interested in getting your own iridescent blue Morpho; the frame will be different from mine, but its the same famous South American beauty: Mounted Blue Morpho Butterfly - Displayed in Framed Acrylic Case 7" x 7" x 2" ) Of course, in order to get both halves of my butterfly templates symmetrical I simply did the fold-in-half trick that we all learned in grade school when it was time to cut out hearts for Valentine's day. :)

Those resources did the trick, and, as you can see, I cut out several pleasing and biologically accurate butterfly shapes (after a couple of false starts). I wanted them oversized compared to real butterflies, but still clearly recognizable and not stylized at all. I wanted to evoke a real butterfly collection, like the one seen here in this nice pic by Mike Beauregard on Wikimedia

I think the initial thing you perceive is the variety of all of the different shapes. Then all of the colors. I plan on playing with both of those parameters in my ultimate application.

Soooooo... then came the big question: Now that I got'em, what do I do with these handsome butterfly templates?? Hmmm.  Well, I did what I always do when I'm trying to work out a design issue: I stuck them up on a blank wall so I could look at them from across the room and live with them for a few days.

Here they are in a row. Not bad.

And here they are grouped more tightly. I like them both ways, actually. After this picture, I made 3 additional ones and pasted those up so that I had a 3 x 3 square grouping. Very nice.

Well that's all for tonight.

Next post: maps + butterflies + envelopes = ????


1 comment:

Luísa Lión said...

Liz!! Your butterflies are so beautiful and I could never cut them out as perfect as you did!! Congrats they look amzing and would go perfectly on the wall just like you did!!