in my talks on scientific illustration, I caution against building an
illustration from limited references. to make my case, I co'opted a Far
Side cartoon called "first dibs." what if the only reference you had was
a pic of that poor, soon-to-be-eaten antelope?
> Oh...don't get me started...
> Okay, not really "scientific" art, but still...
> My peeve, being a bird (and other wildlife species) artist is the
> illustrators who slavishly copy photographs of birds without any
> understanding of what is going on. Thus we see paintings of ducks, geese,
> swans and other such species with a full set of primary feathers on one
> wing, but not the other...obviously pinioned, thus obviously captive, and
> yet supposedly wild birds. There are often two sharp white highlights in
> the eye...sign of a strobe since here on Earth we have but a single sun.
> Overweight lions, tigers and bears, oh my...zoo specimens all. One of my
> first professional jobs was illustrating animals for the zoo...naturally I
> wanted to do the birds, since that was my specialty, but was assigned
> reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Okay...but the person who did birds
> was a commercial artist. She showed a Fairy Bluebird with tail feathers
> bent outward...exactly like the photo of what was obviously a captive bird
> in a popular book of that time...but their feathers don't really look like
> that unless frayed and bent from being pushed against cage bars. And
> yes...I've had not only my own art copied, but some years ago a painting of
> a Golden Eagle by the late Arthur Singer, clasping its prey, was copied in
> pencil by an artist who simply left out the prey, and published, without any
> attribution to Singer, by the local newspaper. It was remarkably brazen,
> but at least accurate since Singer's art was accurate. I've seen less
> accurate work by Audubon "inform" other artists, not realizing that Audubon,
> for all his attributes, was not necessarily accurate in his choices of pose
> and posture.
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