Friday, September 28, 2012

More from the dead.

This is for those of you that might find your self in a museum with dioramas in the near future. Things to remember are that school children will normally be in museums in the mornings until about 1:30. Afternoons are the best time to have halls mostly to yourself. However sketching while students watch can have its benefits as children will say exactly what they think. "Dude that is a cool house!!!""Its the tiger.""Ohhh."
Bringing large sketch boards or sketch pads can be a problem as visitors will bump them. Also if you plan on bringing an easel call first. Many museums do not like to have easels or tripods in their halls.
Bring a bag for you sketch book and other supplies like a snack and something to drink.
The more willing you are to share your art with folks the more cool things seem to happen. I have been given tours of other museum's collections a few times just because some one asked what I was doing and I was open to talking about my love of natural history museums and sketching from their exhibits. You never know when you are talking to some one who loves their work and is excited to show it off.

Enjoy your selves and get out to a museum!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sketching from the dead

Dioramas are wicked cool for artists trying to become more adept at sketching animals. First you can get really close to the animals and they don't try to eat you. Bonus right?! Second the critters stay freaking still totally unlike the caffeine hyped squirrels that hang about the city park system. Thirdly museums often have skeletal elements from the diorama animals in their collections which can often help figure out fur obscured body elements.

All that said, I spent last night drawing from the dioramas of the Academy of Natural Sciences after hours. Sketching at the museum is a great way to spend time and to get your skills going. I spent most of my time in African hall avoiding the animals I have drawn before.

I do like to sketch in ball point pen so you can still see mistakes and the history of the sketch. The first lines and often the lightest are the basic shape or sketch map. Then I work quickly shaping the animal or animals in greater detail as I go. Shadows can be handled very loosely or you can layer hatch marks or lines to gradate shadow and ball point pens work well for both.

I used to carry several pencil types, several eraser types and colored pencils along with my sketch book. but I have scrapped them all except the sketch book and pen. Some times I will still bring colored pencils but I find notes on color to be fine.

That is all I have for now. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Its not all just dinosaurs kids. Really...

So I have spent the last two weeks with a fossil fish head. It is a beautiful specimen. I will post a photo of it as soon as I have permission from its collection manager.

Fish are strange critters with far too many skull bones. The fish in question is a Cretaceous fish called Enchodus. Life restorations can be challenging but luck would have it that in this case I have been guided by a couple of great paleo folks from The New Jersey State Museum, Jason Schein and David Parris.  Some of what I find cool about this fish are the heavy brow and sure the teeth are totally wicked cool. The fossil I am working from is incredibly complete and beautiful but full of surprises for the researchers and for me. You will see more from me about this fish soon as we continue to learn more about this animal who was first published by Joseph Leidy at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University about one hundred and fifty years ago.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A while ago I was asked to do some silly "Dinosaurs and Beer" sketches. The sketches where used to indicate how close to the bar a person was, measured in dinosaur lengths.

These are the sketches.


So once in a blue moon a good friend of mine and I kill a night catching up with each other over brews and pie. "Berserker" brings the pie and loads to talk about. This time the pie totally "took the cake".
Let me explain: Berserker is a huge fan of all things paleo and history related. Some times things make their way into his everyday life or his pies. Any way I would explain more, but just have a look.

Crazy cool right!!?
Until next time Berserker. Cheers!