Polar Bears

Ursa Major Cut Paper Image
Ursa Minor Cut Paper Image

Choosing which constellation should represent the Poles was not as easy as I thought. Like everyone else, I have my favorites. And since I've recently finished fifty or so of these guys, I certainly had enough to pick from. In the end, I decided to go with the constellation that actually includes Polaris, the north star: Ursa Minor. Naturally, where the little bear wanders, so goes the mama bear, Ursa Major. The curious thing about Ursa Minor is that, in order to include Polaris, the little guy needs a big ol' tail. Which, in my opinion, makes our diminutive ursine friend look a whole lot like a beaver. My working theory is that the artists who drew the original constellations had never seen a live bear, but rather went by the descriptions furnished by witnesses. Seeing as I've met and fled bears in the wild myself, it's my opinion that most witnesses don't spend alot of time memorizing the little details.

These critters, and their fifty-odd friends, will grace the pages of P.K. Chen's book, A Constellation Album: Stars and Mythology of the Night Sky. This will be my first book, to be released this September. Each piece of art was cut from a single piece of paper (Yay! No glue!), and fashioned to fit around the particular constellation's stars. I'll be posting more about the book as it comes closer to launch.

Illustration Friday

Ursa Major Book Spread