I am involved in several outdoor shows each year where they have fly tying exhibited. I lay my samples out and answer questions to people interested in my work. Since I specialize in realistic patterns I usually have a lot of questions and interest in what I do, what I used to do it, and how I became interested in doing it my particular way.
On one occasion I had an encounter with an eight-year-old girl who quickly sat in front of me and began to fondle one of my creations with the barrage of questions coming so fast I couldn't answer them fast enough. After my blood pressure raised about 20 points, I tried to cut the conversation short because I could see my answers were above her understanding when I gave her specifics on materials. Since she wasn't about to give up and move on, she came up with another comment. She pointed to a bug and said "if you are trying to re-create this bug, why didn't you do it correctly?" By this time I was really ready for her to leave. But I did ask her what she meant by that last remark. And without hesitation she told me what the real bug had that my sample did not. Unfortunately, she was right. I thought I had put everything necessary in the bug, and what was missing wasn't necessarily in my mind.
But here I was in my usual pompous state seething over being dressed down by an eight-year-old, who added a comment as she walked away." If you're going to tye it correctly, you want to put all the parts in, and in the right place." You know, there's some encounters you fluff off in this world, and some that stay with you. But a comment from an eight-year-old. That's a reach! But I knew I had been caught, and that was the issue that stayed with me.
After mulling it over in my mind as to how to correct it, I came up with what I thought was the perfect answer. There is a tyer in the southern area of the United States, Fred Hannie, who is an artist and a tyer of amazing talent. Many of his flys accompany a painting/drawing of the subject and fly, combined in a framed setting. And his flys are spectacular in detail. This is a perfect illustration of knowing your subjects thoroughly before presenting it. In the past, I have used drawings or sketches to help me with leg or body proportions, so why not just draw it in detail, and then create it. Then you have all the "kinks" worked out.