I’ve been staying up really late this week. Well… I always stay up late. I tell people I’m trying to be nocturnal.
But this week, I’ve been staying up to read about revolvers of the Old American West: cowboys, y’all. This research actually started with Charles M. Russell, a famous painter who almost exclusively depicted the wild, fantastic world of cowboys, settlers, and Native Americans. I had planned on simply pulling references from Russell’s work, since his semi-realistic style seemed to provide more than enough details for my cowboys and cowgirls. I wanted to know: “What do cowboys look like?”
Incidentally, the word “cowboys” originally referred to bandits and cow-rustlers. Didn’t know that.
Anyway, as I was studying Russell’s work, I got to the point where I needed to know what a revolver really looked like. Unfortunately, Russell never painted a close-up of a revolver. In fact, when he did paint guns, there was usually a large puff of smoke and gunpowder hiding the weapon. So I collected three books on pistols, hand-guns, and firearms, and I began closely
studying the photos. My question was this: “What do revolvers look like?”
Revolvers are complicated, though. How was a revolver different from a pistol? How did you load a revolver?
Good questions pretty much always lead to more questions, which is frustrating… at first. “I JUST WANNA DRAW DUSTER JACKETS, FORGET THE STUPID GUNS!” is genuinely what I said to myself when I started this process, especially since Russell makes dusters look so epic. But after a while, when you’re asking questions about something you really care about… you don’t want to stop asking questions. You want to know more. You need to know what comes next. What the heck was single and double action? What does a revolver holster look like? All of these questions take time to answer, and it’s a lot of just reading and watching YouTube videos, before I get to some point where I can do some studies. But you know what? That’s how I know I’m developing something really cool and interesting: I’m asking good questions.
I’m starting on rifles and shotguns this weekend, and I can’t wait. I’m even going to rewatch “The Big Country” for the gajillionth time.
What’s something you love to question? What’s a topic that you’re always eager to explore?