I can’t take full credit for this piece of land art. The pheasants, up to twelve of them at a time, worked hard over our long drawn-out winter circling the bird feeding pole, pouncing on any fragment of sunflower heart dropped by the goldfinches, bullfinches and others, gradually trampling away the grass and compacting the clayey soil.
Taking a tip from Nick Bailey on last week’s Gardener’s World, I sharpened my spade and half-moon turf cutter before starting to dig over the resulting bare patch. I went around the trampled area with the turf cutter first then dug spade-width sections.
A sharpened spade made it so much easier but, even so, I’m taking a break before forking it over, adding a bit of gravel and sowing it with grass seed.
IF YOU START working out your ideas for a comic strip with thumbnails (quick pencil roughs) you can check that all the elements of the story – words, pictures, the way they break up into panels – fit together coherently before committing yourself to anything approaching final artwork.
This exercise from Drawing Words & Writing Pictures calls for you to create your own characters, perhaps taking inspiration from staple characters of long-running comic strips such as a married couple, a group of children or talking animals.
I looked out of the window for inspiration but Biscuit the Welsh pony in the meadow wouldn’t work because he’s always on his own. Barbara suggested that the characters with most comic potential in our garden are the pheasants. Her favourite is the female who stands under the bird table pecking fallen sunflower hearts from the edge of the patio, as if she’s sitting at a desk.
The male struts about pompously, so you assume that he’s always heading for an undignified fall.
With my first quick draft I realised that I didn’t need the ‘desk’; amusing as it is, it plays no part in the story. To present the dialogue in the correct order I needed to move the female to the right.