When I was little, my mom would give me books about the various animals living around the world. We would usually read one each night before bed. I often express my interest in environmental studies and she almost always responds with how I would pick out the books about butterflies or fish to read at night.
Although I cannot remember the title, one book I will never forget reading is about a little girl who finds a Monarch butterfly caterpillar. She takes the caterpillar home and puts it in a jar with leaves and watches it grow. One day she thinks the caterpillar died when she discovers it in a chrysalis but her dad reassures her that it’s only changing form. Later on she wakes up and checks on the jar and sees a butterfly inside. The weather was changing and it was getting too cold for the butterfly to live in their house, and the little girl is sad. Her dad has a friend who flies helicopters and he happened to be taking a trip to Mexico, where the monarch migrates to in the winter. The girl puts her butterfly in a shoebox, with holes poked on the top, to the pilot. The pilot’s trip is successful, and he releases the butterfly into a butterfly farm.
I vividly remember how in the end, there is an illustration of hundreds of monarch butterflies flying in the sky. It made me really happy seeing them all across the pages of my book. I wanted to recreate that “free” happy feeling with my maquette. I chose to make paper monarch butterflies that seemed to fly in the sky when placed on a clear paper. I found it difficult to hang the butterflies on string due to their weight, but I still wanted to create the illusion they were flying. Rather than make it a box model, I chose to use actual scenery around me found in nature as a backdrop. Instead of artificial light, I used the sunlight. I went to a meadow in my hometown to photograph the various ways the paper butterflies interacted with the plants there.
Pictured below are the 5 final photographs of my maquette.
Pictured below are the 5 sketches that coincide with the final photographs.
Picture below is the final tonal drawing I did of Photograph 1.