Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wooden Statue - Drawspace Challenge has "challenges", where you can post sketches and have members critique them. This was my first, a sketch of a wooden statue from a photo... a Lithuanian national park statute?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Basic Skill Building - Atmospheric Perspective

Another basic skill - atmospheric perspective. The idea here is that with distance, you lose contrast & focus. So the mountains in the background are lighter and less distinguishable from the sky than those in the foreground. Again, these are "squirkling" exercises.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Basic Skill Building - Squirkling

I'm working on building some basic skills through the help of If you are interested in drawing skills, you should check it out.

I need a lot of help on shading and providing texture. One of the basic methods of shading taught is "squirkling". It's using random squiggles/circles to provide an organic looking method of shading. Here's a tree on a cliff and a sketch of an iris and an avocado showing this shading/texture method.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gollum - Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings... Gollum.

Lex - Age 2

Lex at age 2 after coming out of the pool.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Natalie at 3 months

Here's a sketch of Natalie at 3 months. Look at those big cheeks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Childhood Memories - King Kong (2005 Version)

Working my way back to natural creatures by way of King Kong. I liked the King Kong character from the 2005 film, the war-scarred face and everything. So here he is at left. I think I did a good job of capturing his intensity.

I also darkened the pencils by increasing the threshold in GIMP, my image editing tool.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Childhood Memories - Dracula

I darkened up the original pencils on the "monster" sketches to good effect.

Count Dracula... the Christopher Lee flavor. All due respect to Bela Lugosi, I think that Lee had the scarier take on Dracula.

Childhood Memories - The Mummy

Here's a sketch of Boris Karloff as "The Mummy". Ah, Boris Karloff. You were so cool.

Childhood Memories - Frankenstein's Monster

I also had the plastic model for Frankenstein's Monster. You can probably buy all these old plastic models on e-Bay now. In a way, I don't want to even look at them because they probably aren't half as awesome as I remember them.

In the 1970s, a local TV station (WCCO) would broadcast "Bride of Frankenstein," "Son of Frankenstein" and all the other great horror movies from the 1930s and 1940s, late on Saturday nights. Because the kids were so enamored with these movies, they also started broadcasting on Saturday mornings, but kept to tamer offerings... along the lines of the "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" or whatever.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Planet of the Apes

A departure from nature and animal sketches... well, I guess it's an animal of a sort.

I was walking through the tunnels underneath the state capitol today and as I passed an area where some work was being done, I smelled something that gave me a flashback in time... glue. Specifically, it smelled like plastic model (or "airplane") glue . I immediately remembered, in great detail, a set of plastic models I had when I was 10 or 12 that were based on the "Planet of the Apes" characters.

Of course, I don't have those models anymore so here's a sketch of Cornelius from a model photo on the internet. Roddy McDowall played Cornelius and was found in nearly all the movies, only the first of which was any good at all. But despite the general crappiness of the movies, they were unbelievably AWESOME for a kid of about 10 years of age.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Uno the Beagle - Canis lupus familiaris

Like a lot of people, I smiled when I saw the overall winner of the Westminster Kennel Club show this year was a beagle named Uno. Here's my sketch of Uno.

It brought me back a few years to when my parents had a beagle named "Buster".

There's nothing on this earth cuter than a beagle puppy.

And there's nothing on this earth more stubborn than a full grown beagle.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Human Skulls

Maybe slightly creepy, but I'm reading a book on sketching portraits and basic knowledge of bone structures and proportions is pretty important. So here are a couple of skull sketches.

Also, this sketch marks an important milestone for me.

Last November, I returned to regular sketching, after about a 25 year break (I hadn't drawn on any regular basis since I was 17 - when I joined the Army). Over the last few months, I've tried to sketch something daily, sometimes a couple times a day. The milestone, then, is that I've filled up my first sketch notebook... about 140 sketches (I don't post everything I sketch. Some of it is REAL garbage.)

I hope I can keep this pace. It would be good to be looking back a year from now and seeing two or three more filled sketch notebooks.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ring-necked Pheasant - Phasianus colchicus

The male Ring-Necked Pheasant is hard to confuse with any other bird. All adult males have green iridescent heads with large areas of red, unfeathered skin around the eyes. And of course, they have the distinctive white ring around their necks. The female pheasant can be confused with several species of grouse, except it typically has a longer, pointed tail and bare, unfeathered legs.

The Ring-Necked Pheasant is not native to North America. Instead, it was introduced to this country from Asia in the 1800's. Since then it as successfully spread across most of the northern and western United States.

The Ring-Necked Pheasant is a popular game bird in Minnesota. There is an organization in Minnesota (and many states) called "Pheasants Forever." It is dedicated to the support and conservation of wild spaces so that the bird can continue to be hunted in its natural habitat.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Ladybug - Coccinellidae

The ladybug is a beneficial beetle, as it eats other insects, like aphids that feed upon garden plants. It is not native to North America. But because it is such a beneficial insect, it was actually introduced to the United States, several times over. Harmonia axyridis, the "Multicolored Asian" was introduced as late as the 1980s and has since become the most populous in the mid-western states. It has succeeded to the point where it has actually become a bit of a nuisance. Like box elder bugs, they attempt to get inside houses to spend winters, leading homeowners to combat them as pests.

Ladybugs are orange or red with black markings. Some ladybugs have limited yellow markings as well. Ladybugs eat aphids in both their larval and adult stages. A single ladybug can eat over 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Black Bear and Cub - Ursus americanus

A female black bear will typically have two or three cubs at a time. Bears have cubs every other year, this gives them nearly two years to get their cubs ready to fend for themselves. The cubs are born in January or February, during the hibernation season.

Recently, there was some controversy in northern Minnesota, when "One Ear", a female black bear decided to hibernate under a vacation cabin. The state Department of Natural Resources, fearing that the bear would be a danger to humans, planned to euthanize the bear and her two cubs. This outraged the community, so instead, the bears were tranquilized and moved to a new hibernation area.

A black bear's size and weight depends on their age and the availability of food, but a healthy male be be up to 500 pounds in a good year. The largest wild, male black bear recorded was 880 lbs.

The black bear can live to be over 30 years old.

Moose - Alces alces

The moose is the largest North American animal in the deer family. This same animal is referred to as an "elk" in Northern Europe.

This is a huge animal. It can be up to 7 or 8 feet in height in northern Canada in Alaska and over 1,200 pounds. Moose found in Minnesota are more typically 1,000 pounds. The moose is dangerous in a couple ways. First of all, they are mostly docile creatures. But a female moose with a calf can be very aggressive when defending her young. Canoers, hikers and hunters in northern Minnesota have been charged when surprising a mother moose.

Also, because of its huge body mass and long, long legs, it is extremely dangerous for a car to hit a moose. The speeding car undercuts the moose's legs and then 1,000 pounds of moose come crashing through the car window without slowing down at the bumper or hood. Do a Google image search for "moose accident" and you'll see how bad it can be.

Moose are good swimmers and are known to dive underwater to get to the water plants that they prefer to eat. Their have splayed, wide hooves, which are good at walking through marshy, boggy areas.

Moose hunting was banned in Minnesota until 1972, but now selective hunting is allowed, keeping moose populations at an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 animals.