Nomatter how much you dress up a Polack and try to hide'm, he'll still stick out like a sore thumb. Or in this case, I'd never pass as Inupiat. Hell, I can't even draw a halfways decent seal-skin kayak, much less stay afloat in one.
Actually, in all seriousness, I have to love the irony of getting caught ignoring my own cautionary advice to students. This panel was based on a really rough sketch (seen posted below) abandoned while visiting the Anchorage Museum of Art this fall. It was one of the educational dioramas using these creepy looking mannequins for Native Alaskans, this one depicting a whale hunt. The gesture of the pose what the only redeeming aspect, and the fact that I totally failed to duly note crucial details, like stitching patterns, snuck back up and bit me on the ass when it came time to try and recreate the scene. Google Image Search can only take you so far, and I'm always harping in the classroom on the importance of taking really good visual notes for reference sketches, as working from a photograph is essentially useless. In particular, with something like this, nothing short of the actual object will do. Unless, of course, you are a slacker cartoonist, and can get away with just about everything.
And despite all the reading, writing and thinking about gags (the "research"), it's either professionally gratifying or psychologically worrisome to just have completely, utterly random ideas fall from the sky and splatter onto the page right in front of you.
I just love coming up with absolutely ridiculous situations that in turn beg even more silly questions: just what exactly is it we are hunting here?
"Frivolity is a stern taskmaster." - Bill Griffith