GNSI

Sketching Bears, Wolves, and Dogs

This week’s assignment are gestures of bears, wolves, and dogs. Using a envelope for the animals and simplifying geometric shapes helps with simplifying. The class is setting into a routine of drawing gestures with a little value added in some, skeleton and ecorche version, and discussion post which looks at different rendering of animals characters and how they can be portrayed as protagonists or antagonists in a story. It’s fun seeing the examples that my classmates come up with.

I’m finding I really like drawing with the Procreate app on the iPad pro and Apple pencil. It’s close to drawing with a real pencil. When I want this soft effect with pencil, I usually prefer to use mylar (Dura-lar) which comes in huge rolls from Dick Blick and erases cleanly.

bearslittle-polar-bearwolves

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My discussion post:
There’s some amount of range when it comes to how sympathetically bear characters are portrayed. On the sympathetic side, there are characters such as teddy bears, and related characters such as the Care Bears and Winnie the Pooh, which are modeled more on the stuffed animal than the actual animal.

poohlitte-bear

More realistic sympathetic bears include Baloo from any of the multiple adaptations of The Jungle Book, Smokey the Bear, and the bear family of Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear.

On the more antipathetic side, there are characters such as the bear in the film version of The Fox and the Hound, and the grizzly bear from the film Balto, which are portrayed as bestial, inhuman predators.

When wolves are portrayed positively, they tend to come off as majestic, intelligent, loyal, embodying the nobility of nature; the wolf family in The Jungle Book, Moro in Princess Mononoke.

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Negatively, wolves are portrayed as crafty predators, as with the classical fairytale archetype of the Big Bad Wolf.

 

 

wolf-4The main example I can think of when it comes to neutral/background characters is how, in Donald Duck etc. comics, otherwise “human” side/background characters tend to be given dog noses, and occasionally ears. Here, the use of animal characteristics basically just signifies that these stories take place in a completely unreal fantasy world.
In general, I would say that completely realistic renderings of animals, as you might find in an educational book, often have less strong emotional expressivity, and are less immediately emotionally accessible as a result. Even mostly realistic designs often “cheat” when it comes to faces, adding human elements such as humanoid scleras, eyebrow muscles, and mouth expressions.

Moorehead and Doubleday – Rabbits and More

Meet Moorehead (left) and Doubleday (right). They’re a work in progress. I haven’t completely decided their back story yet. The sketch was colored in with CarbOthello pastel pencils (I like them) on Canson Mi Teintes paper. I just got a pack of La Carte and also Sennelier soft pastels and will be experimenting with those too.

I’m going to take a one day pastels workshop with Janis Graves this weekend through Cole Gallery and looking forward to it. I’ll paste a sample of her art below.

Janis-Graves-birdsThe Guild of Natural Science Illustrators also posted the group mural that I worked on at the Santa Cruz Conference.

There were 3. Here’s the one I drew a little egret (corner right) catching a fish. It’s on exhibit at the Sanctuary Exploration Center that’s part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It was a great conference.

 

 

 

gnsi-mural

Guild of Natural Science Illustrators in Santa Cruz

Here’s some photos from the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Annual Conference in Santa Cruz. It was great! It’s the first art conference I’d ever been to. Some highlights:

portfolio sharing of illustrators on the opening night, then opening keynote by Jack Laws who shared his approach to nature observation and inquiry while outdoors with his sketch book. Jane Kim told us about her gutsy Kickstarter to create art California Highway 395 (Migrating Murals) to call attention the plight of big horn sheep in the areas in which their migration was endangered, Breck Tyler who shared some wonderful discoveries about albatrosses in the Midway Atoll, techniques presentations where artists shared their Reid Psaltis, Jennifer Bates, and Linda Feltner shared technical details of their art, a communal mural of animals in the Monteray Bay area, and finally talks by Terryl Whitlatch (Star Wars, Brother Bear, many more) and even John Fleskes of Spectrum Fantastic Art who shared how he started spectrum many years go. Terryl’s talk was interesting because described how she used her understanding of animal anatomy to make imaginary creatures believable. I also was able to do a workshop with her where she showed how she designed a hippogriff. During her plenary talk, she shared a lot of backstories, including how she design Sebulba to be a an anti-Jar Jar based on the skeleton of a camel. The moose pictures are designs she created to imagine how a moose might move when it talked.

It was a great conference to hear from people at all stages of their career and working in very different ways.