Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lycaenops: Part One


This comes from The Ecology And Biology Of Mammal-Like Reptiles and is credited 'after Colbert.' I'm taking this to mean that it was actually drawn by Edwin H. Colbert, but I could be wrong.


The thing that gets me is that I have no idea whether or not this pose was one that Lycaenops could take. Because I am an ignorant swine.

So I'm nosing up against a deadline here and I know I'm gonna be late... so it's time to liveblog another paleo art piece.

I've been wanting to draw a gorgonopsid (gorgonopsian?) for some time so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I've been in a bit of a daze lately -- when spring break hit my brain went into a hypercogitative state and rendered me useless for all practical purposes. Instead I thought about things like my novel, my place in the arts, the state of my life, my conception of reality -- you know, the light stuff. It was good and useful but now it's over and I've got to get cracking.

So hunted down the two reference images above in order to start work. I prefer to start with good photographic reference for the skeleton but a) if the photo is anything but a strict profile it distorts the proportions badly and b) there just ain't enough photos like that around. I frequently wind up using a skeletal diagram, which makes me feel like a fraud and a ripoff. Oh, well.

In order to quell those feelings I like to reposition the animal. This involves figuring out the new pose and then tracing the individual bones of the skeleton to match. I felt a little dissatisfied with pose of the last one of these I did, so I hunted up my yardsale copy of Animals In Motion by Eadweard Muybridge and poked around until I found the second above image.

I took the skeletal diagram and enlarged it in Photoshop, printed it on two sheets of paper and taped 'em together. Now I've got a piece of tracing vellum taped to my drawing board, a .5 mechanical pencil, an eraser, and my references.

The fun part of drawing is that I can listen to music. The missus gave me her old iPod and an amp for it a while ago and I've got it loaded with a really odd mix of pop -- I just heard a bluegrass version of Casey Jones (they found him there with his hand on the throttle/scalded to death by the steam) and now Black 47 is singing about Irish political resistance and it's time to put graphite to paper.

More to come.

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