"I dreamed we ran away from home, a big bird had come to take us away"

by Lis Xu

I wanted to combine a few ideas here in this piece- I’d been drawing these long, clerical-looking birds with trousers and dress shoes, along with these two characters that are loosely based around my own life.

I don’t actually have a lot of memories growing up with my younger brother, but maybe that’s exactly what inspires me to think up stories about this pair of siblings.

I love making images with opportunities to explore and play with shapes and negative space. I wanted to contrast the soft, napkin-like bird shapes on top with lush patterns on the bottom, so I found some drawings of spider plants to use as foliage.

I’m usually worried about getting bogged down in image planning, so I work out compositions, palette and value organization on the fly. It’s a pretty risky process. Some mediums are definitely more forgiving to re-work, and I find pencil crayon to be one of them. However, it is still super easy to get lost and muddy everything together too! I’m still trying to find a balance between letting my intuition and creativity roam within broader rules I’ve made for the image.

The extra comic was created as a light-hearted counter to the abstract dreaminess of the piece. I like these two characters a lot and have put them into some other stories like my book for the 2020 Perfectly Acceptable Pumpkin residency, WYD. I’m excited to keep making stories with this silly brother and sister duo.

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