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She was drawing a Black (White-tailed) Gnu, not the Common (Brindled).

 

Her commentary focused heavily on proper anatomical terms for bones and muscles and the importance of knowing where key points in the anatomy were, places where things take a different direction. 

 

I have no great expertise with gnus, but I agree that her drawing was, in effect, too slender through the body, and horse-like, but she constantly emphasized that it was just a sketch; I did not get the impression she was suggesting it was necessarily all that accurate, but rather, that she wanted to lay down something that one could build upon.

 

Mammals are, to my way of thinking, somewhat less variable than birds in that fur and hair tend to be shorter and perhaps a little less mobile than feathers.  The same species of bird can be either round or rather slender, depending on how it holds its feathers, but while there is obviously some variation in mammals, it’s not quite as much, generally speaking.  In both cases you have to know the direction they (fur or feathers) are going, and in birds it is essential for most species (Kiwis and penguins excluded<G>) to intimately know the feather tracts. 

 

My own way of drawing is different.  I do a rough sketch, and yes, I often use the specific points (knees, wrist at the forward bend of the wing, scapular placement, so on) to create a sort of armature, or framework, sort of working from the inside out, like her.

 

But I don’t keep working the same drawing.  I then lay a sheet of paper over top of what I’ve drawn and re-draw it, tracing what I’ve done before where it “works”, changing it where it does not look right.  I keep doing this until I’m satisfied, or until I decide the whole pose was no good and start over.   This is when I don’t have a model (although I’m always surrounded by photos, specimens, other artists’ ideas, unless I’m just doodling).

 

If I’m doing life-studies (which I have done rarely in the last couple of decades, but used to do before I started wearing glasses) I tend to be more traditional, just lightly sketching the outside and getting the proportions right before even thinking about adding any level of detail or shading.  

 

Getting back to the video, I wonder if she was “winging it” or had a photo or other reference off camera? 

 

Anyway, I find both gnus and moose to be among the more difficult of hoofed mammals to render if only because their proportions do vary so much from most animals in the Bovids and Cervids, respectively, and both are species that, to my eye, look best when not shown standing at right angles in open space.   I am more familiar by far with moose, and they look really weird when they are standing out in the open, but somehow they don’t look so weird at all…quite the contrary, when in the bush, or belly deep in a bog or when lying down.  

 

Barry

 

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mieke Roth
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2010 4:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Wildebeest Lesson

 

Hi,

 

I haven't heard the comment (I am sitting behind my work pc and it has no sound), but although she is putting the emphasis on the anatomy, I have to comment on this one: she is drawing a kind of horse with a wildebeest head. The torso of a common wildebeest is much deeper, the neck also and has to be strait or even bend down instead of upwards. All in all the common wildebeest looks more like a very slim bison without the hairs than a horse. The body of the much rarer black wildebeest looks a bit like a horse, but more a bulky pony or even a moose than the slender animal she is drawing here. I also have a bit of a problem with the head if she is trying to draw the black wildebeest: the head of that one is mostly curved and not strait with an animal that is old enough to wear horns of that size.

 

Sorry, sometimes I am a bit of a perfectionist..

 

Here, by the way, an excellent photo of a common wildebeest in (almost) the same position as she is drawing: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/mammals/ruminantia/images/73898314.yfOuIxNo_327w.jpg to show the difference.

 

Pity though, because I agree with everyone that this is a really good way to show how to draw. The quality of the film itself is excellent.

 

Mieke

 

Mieke Roth

Scientific and technical visualizations

Mieke Roth, Msc.

Breehorn 46

8223 CN Lelystad

The Netherlands
www.miekeroth.com

+31 (0)320-412117


From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barry K. MacKay
Sent: donderdag 4 maart 2010 21:43
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Wildebeest Lesson

 

One of the things I say to folks about drawing animals (mostly birds in my case, but also other vertebrate animals) is that it is usually pretty well all curves and countercurves, which this lesson shows very well.  She’s a great teacher…I love her commentary.  Super indeed.

 

I once briefly met the late George M. Sutton, a bird artist from my youth.  I was just a wide-eyed kid but he looked at my drawings and said, “always draw the skull underneath”.   Good advice for birds…you have to know the placement of the eye, the ear, the jaw and so on, as well as the feather tracts, and underlying musculature and bones, throughout just as in mammals. 

 

Barry

 

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Linda Feltner
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 2:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Wildebeest Lesson

 

Thank you for this contribution!
This is super!
Linda

_______________________
Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538
www.lindafeltner.com



[log in to unmask] wrote:

Hi all,
I came across what I thought was an interesting video on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLPcy3ciz5c

I always find it enjoyable and informative to watch others draw.  This artist puts a lot of emphasis on using a proper understanding of the anatomy of her subject to render it successfully.  Links to parts 2 and 3 can be found in the sidebar.

Enjoy!
Alex

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