budgie smugglers


The mental image of ‘budgie smugglers’ makes me shudder a little. I feel like budgies have been a little hard done by here, so I wanted to create an illustrati­on that helped me feel less disturbed. I’m originally from the UK and only heard the term after moving to Sydney two years ago. I love to swim, but am not a fan of the beach, so I’d managed to avoid it ever coming up. When I first started hearing it, I’d just nod knowingly like I totally understood, while envisaging a lumpy, tweeting package. For this illustrati­on, I’ve drawn a group of budgies being smuggled to freedom by two female characters. I felt they deserved to be liberated, and imagine it would feel amazing to release an animal into the wild. (Though maybe less so when there’s such a high risk of bird poo.) I love focusing on intricate details and pattern within my work, so I really enjoyed painting the beautiful patterns on the feathers. Recently, I’ve gotten into poppy pastels and bubblegum colours, too, so I loved playing around with those. The least offensive fake slang I can think of is ‘a slug’, aka when you’re stuck behind a person walking too slowly. When a friend asked me to pass the ‘snags’ last Christmas, I fell about laughing. I couldn’t guess what the heck he meant. It’s pretty crazy feeling outside a language that’s so familiar to you, but I’ve loved learning new things.

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