When ants go marching

Wednesday 20 May 2015
Ladina Ribi's drawing of a bullant.
Ladina Ribi's drawing of a bullant.

I'm a very impatient person, but as soon as I start drawing, it just clicks and I sink into another world”

They are considered by some to be an annoying pest, they can bite and there's no shortage of them around the ANU campus.

But the common ant is something that insect illustrator Ladina Ribi loves to draw. During her career, she has drawn wasps and bees but has most recently focused on the tiny six-legged creature, creating about 20 drawings to be used for teaching purposes at the ANU Research School of Biology.

The time taken to draw each ant varies. Ribi says the hairier the specimen, the longer it can take.

A typical drawing can take three-to-four days. Ribi has been at ANU for six-month periods during the summers for the past 12 years with her husband, Professor Willi Ribi. The other half of her year is based in her native Switzerland.

She also draws fruit and designs on Christmas cards, but finds ants interesting subjects to draw. 

"The bull ants are a great animal. The have so much brain [power]. And they are realy aggressive if you walk close to them. The size of them is just incredible," she says.

'The behaviour and the different heads they have are just so incredible."

Ribi's art may take some time and she has to fight her natural personality to complete each peice

"I'm a very impatient person, but as soon as I start drawing, it just clicks and I sink into another world," she says."I can't hear what happens around me and I just concentrate on the end. It's amazing"

Source: ANU Reporter. By Simon Jenkins

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