Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Delphinapterus illustration

I recently attempted a new drawing and experimented with adding a bit more detail than I normally do. I find that every drawing is a learning process, and I try to challenge myself by learning new techniques and styles every time I put a pencil to paper. Until about a year ago, I had never really used anything other than a #2 pencil - which is a relatively soft lead. More recently I have started using somewhat harder pencils, including a 3H - which remains sharper for longer, and can be sharpened more finely - allowing for much more detailed work.

Skull and mandible of Delphinapterus leucas from the MNHN, borrowed from Wikipedia.

Occasionally I'll see a photograph that speaks to me and looks like it would be fun (or challenging) to illustrate. A few weeks ago I found a neat looking photo of a beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) skull and mandible from the MNHN in Paris (shown above). It's a rather old mount as can be gathered from the nails and wires securing the teeth. This one was of sufficiently high resolution to elaborate minute details of the bone texture, and was an excellent candidate for an experiment in substantially more detailed illustration than what I've previously attempted.

The completed illustration, measuring about ~14" wide or so.

This illustration took about 20 or so hours to complete - perhaps double the time I've invested in similar sized illustrations previously. I spent about 6 hours just on the temporal region of the skull. Altogether, I am really pleased with the end result. Come to think about it, I should probably post some illustrating tutorials at some point in the future.

 Close up of the temporal region. I went a bit crazy here.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bobby, Nice drawing, but I'm wondering why you would illustrate something that seems to be sufficiently illustrated by the photograph? I think of using drawing to highlight features that don't show up well on photographs or to complete something that is incomplete. Just wondering.

I also wanted to make you aware of a new camera lucida - I've invested in one but have yet to get it. I think it would be useful to your work.



Robert Boessenecker said...

Excellent question. First and foremost, drawing is my hobby - not my occupation, so I'm fine doing something that would otherwise be made redundant by detailed photography, since I do this for fun. I do put together illustrations that are more utilitarian from time to time, and for published papers - generally these have been for fossils, or regions of fossils, that are difficult to photograph (unless ammonium chloride coating is used of course). This Delphinapterus illustration was done effectively for fun, but also to try experimenting with some new techniques. I've not used camera lucida before - what is probably easier, and more cost effective for me, is to photograph the specimen I'm about to illustrate, print it off on an A4 sheet, and trace the outline and salient features onto the drawing paper, with the original specimen next to me, which is effectively the same thing (and more advantageous since you can pick up the specimen and turn it around without altering the image you're working from).

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you looked at the link but the camera lucida - was only $30, $40 if I remember right. So the price isn't all that much. If your interested when I retire I'll give you mine - maybe 5-6 years.

Robert Boessenecker said...

Hey Chuck, I saw something that said 400$ on the sidebar of the webpage, and thought that was a bit steep, but 30-40$ is obviously very reasonable, and might be worth a look once I put a few more bucks in the bank.