I always love seeing an artist's process, so I thought I would share a few process sketches of the character Anna and her goanna. The initial sketch, where I was playing with the style. The line art, completed with pen, to the digital colour.
I wanted to talk a little about how this image came to be. It came about as I was listening to the NPR podcast Radiolab, the episode Galapagos. There’s often something to stop and make you think, covered with a mainstream approachability, but this one has stayed with one even years after I first listened. The host recount how the researches on Galapagos went about saving the famous turtles by killing more than 200,000 goats.
“After endless planning and meetings, we commenced project Isabella…In under a year, through an aerial attack [by helicopter], we ended up wiping out 90 percent of the goats on Isabela. But to give an example of the nature of this business, its relatively easy to remove 90 percent of a goat population from an island. As they become rarer and rarer, they become harder to detect. The become educated. So the goats start hiding. You end up flying around in an expensive helicopter not finding any goats.
So the way we deal with that is an interesting technique called Judas goats. Goats are gregarious and like being in groups. They’re herd animals. The technique we would use was you fire up the helicopter, capture goats live, take them back to base camp, unload them, put a radio collar on them, and then throw them back on the island. Instinctively, that goat will go find other goats. A week, two weeks go by. You fire up the helicopter and…start tracking the Judas goats until you spot it with other goats. And then everyone gets shot except the Judas goat. And then they do it again. Every two weeks for a year.”
It’s a terrible, powerful image. The betrayal, the slaughter. And yet - I can’t deny the necessity of their actions, and I think that’s what intrigues me the most. Have a listen and see what you think.