Thursday, March 3, 2011

New artwork III: Smilodon life restoration

Late last year I was asked by my buddy/coauthor Morgan Churchill to draw a life restoration of Smilodon or some other machairodontid for a new exhibit at the University of Wyoming Geology Museum.
Unfortunately, I didn't really get a chance to start it until January, and I finished it a few weeks ago. This was largely an experiment for me, as I've never really drawn fur before; I've had plenty of experience drawing hair in portraits of people, but never really furry mammals. I've never really drawn any life restorations of (non-human) mammals before, for that matter. I suspect that doing something hairless like marine mammals might be quite a bit easier. Anyway, I clearly need more practice. Perhaps next time, I'll try and copy a photograph, to at least get some experience with texturing fur, instead of attempting to "paste" it onto a fossil face I've never seen before.

Any way, I'm relatively happy with the outcome. I initially wanted to draw it with it's mouth closed, but I figured that would look less impressive for the museum exhibit. So, yawning is a behavior that inadvertently shows off an animal's oral weaponry that is far more common than snarling, baring of teeth, etc. - and very few paleoartists have attempted Smilodon yawning. Almost all Smilodon art I've seen depicts the animal snarling, which of course looks very impressive, but it does get a little boring.

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