Blob Birbs

Yi Shun Lai
2 min readJul 31, 2021

“A bird is just a blob that has wings, a beak, a tail, and legs. I have never met a blob I couldn’t turn into a bird.” — Sophie Lucido Johnson

Alt text below the image.

Artwork: YSL

Alt Text

Watercolor-and-ink paintings of various watercolor blobs turned into birds. The blobs are multicolored and splotchy; bad paper quality has produced feathering and puddling which (editorializing coming) looks like markings. Birds are labeled A–M.

A. [Oblong round-edged yellow blob; one feather on head, dots for eyes; triangle beak; feathered legs and markings]: Chick, clearly.

B. [Squat orange blog with inked comb on head and feathered ruff]: Maybe belongs to A? Obviously a Rhode-Island Red!

C. [two green blobs each looking to left]: Clearly green parrots.

D. [Bright blue blob; bird is seen from back; wings out to the side; looks like it’s shrugging on a blue coat of feathers]: Elvis-bird. You see it, don’t you?

E. [Orange blob with weird wrist-smudged “tail.”] TRUMPBIRD OOPS

F. [Squat tan blob.] G. [Squarish blue blob] [F. & G. are facing each other. Two inked coffee cups between them.] F & G: Coffee-klatch birds.

H. [hot pink diagonal blob with convenient tail; eye is an upside down smile] Aloof pink bird.

I. [Tear-shaped cerulean blob; inked legs are akimbo]: Bird, catapulted.

J. [Tilted sap-green blob]: Bird on a hill.

K. [Sap green blob; paper warping has made a turtle-shell pattern] Rare turtle-bird.

L. [huge orange blog with smooth edges]. True blob.

M. [indistinct blue blob. location of inked eye and beak give off the illusion of a head in the whitespace.] My favorite bird. (Don’t tell the others.)

Yi Shun Lai (say “yeeshun” for her first name; “lie” for her last) is the author of Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu and Pin Ups, a memoir. Her column on writing and publishing, “From the Front Lines,” runs every month at The Writer magazine. She teaches inclusion workshops for creatives at

Yi Shun Lai

Author: A SUFFRAGISTS’S GUIDE TO THE ANTARCTIC (2024), Pin Ups (2020). Columnist, The Writer.; @gooddirt. Psst: Say “yeeshun.” You can do it!