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Gurney Journey

This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.

gurneyjourney.blogspot.com

A Dinosaur-Eating Mammal

A Dinosaur-Eating Mammal

Here are two concept sketches of the Cretaceous mammal Repenomamus.

A Dinosaur-Eating Mammal

It's an extinct badger sized animal who raided dinosaur nests.

A Dinosaur-Eating Mammal

I also made a maquette out of an air-dry craft foam.

A Dinosaur-Eating Mammal

The finished painting of is fully documented in a Gumroad tutorial called "The Mammal That Ate Dinosaurs."

A Dinosaur-Eating Mammal

The illustration appeared in an article on paleo mammals in Scientific American.

Raymond de la Nézière, Animal Artist

Raymond de la Nézière, Animal Artist

Raymond de la Nézière (1865-1953) was a French illustrator and comic artist with a gift for capturing expressive poses in animal caricature.

Raymond de la Nézière, Animal Artist

He began drawing and painting from a young age, encouraged by his mother, who was a painter and potter. 

Raymond de la Nézière, Animal Artist

In his early years he painted in oil and then began using more gouache and watercolor.
 
Raymond de la Nézière, Animal Artist

He illustrated many books and sketched all sorts of animals, sometimes in naturalistic poses, and sometimes anthroporphized as human types.

He also participated as a hunter and a horseback rider.

The Horse Pictures of Eduard Thöny

Eduard Thöny (1866-1950) was known for his excellent draftsmanship. 

The Horse Pictures of Eduard Thöny

He loved to include equestrian subjects and often put his horses in dramatic action poses. 

The Horse Pictures of Eduard Thöny

In 1890 he visited Paris to study the historical paintings of equestrian specialist Edouard Detaille.

The Horse Pictures of Eduard Thöny

Die allerhöchste Auszeichnung für Künstler (The Highest Award for Artists) 

In 1899 he made an incisive caricature of the famous artists Anton von Werner and Adolph von Menzel).

The Horse Pictures of Eduard Thöny


See more examples of Eduard Thöny on Wikimedia Commons. (1866-1950)

Previous post on Eduard Thony's Caricatures

Detailed German Wikipedia entry about Eduard Thöny.


Feather Identification Websites

Find a feather? What bird is it from? 

By law you're not supposed to possess feathers from wild birds (in order to protect birds from being hunted for their feathers), but there are a couple of good websites to help with feather identification anyway.

Feather Identification Websites

The Fish and Wildlife Service has a website called Feather Atlas that helps you identify feathers based on  color, position, pattern, size, and kind of bird.

Featherbase is another website focusing on bird feathers. The site lays out the feathers of a given bird, and arranging them in groups so you can see the variety of feather types that cover a bird's body. 


Animal Fable Illustrations by E.M. Rachev

Animal Fable Illustrations by E.M. Rachev

Evgenii (or Yevgeny) Rachev (1906-1997) was an illustrator best known for his images of animal fables from Russian folk tales.

Animal Fable Illustrations by E.M. Rachev
Postcards based on Russian folk tales, 1960, E.M. Rachev.

He used animal characters to tell his stories, but of course the allegories were really about human foibles.

Animal Fable Illustrations by E.M. Rachev

He said: "If my birds and animals help you to fathom that the story is actually about people it means that I reached the same effect as the folk tales did."
Animal Fable Illustrations by E.M. Rachev


His wife Lidya Ivanovna Racheva collaborated with him by compiling stories, researching costumes, and writing texts.

Animal Fable Illustrations by E.M. Rachev

His books are beloved in Russian and French editions, and there is at least one book of his folk tales available in English.

Therianthropy

Therianthropy is the ability to shape-shift between human and animal.

The Kelpie by Herbert Draper

Kelpies are one example. They frequent occur in Celtic folklore, appearing as black horses in the water, but with the ability to change into human form.

Some cave art has also included strange figures that scholars have interpreted as therianthropes. For example, this drawing of a cave painting by Henri Breuil shows what appears to be a human with an antlered head. He suggests it represents a shaman, sorcerer, or magician.

Other famous therianthropes include the selkie, which alternate between seal and human. The movie "The Secret of Roan Inish" is one of many interpretations.


Wikipedia summarizes the standard plotline: "A typical folk-tale is that of a man who steals a female selkie's skin, finds her naked on the sea shore, and compels her to become his wife. But the wife will spend her time in captivity longing for the sea, her true home, and will often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean. She may bear several children by her human husband, but once she discovers her skin, she will immediately return to the sea and abandon the children she loved."

Another famous example is the werewolf (therianthropy), as well as dog-human shapeshifters (cynanthropy).

Book Review: 100 Flying Birds

Artists who paint birds need clear reference photos of various flight positions. 

Book Review: 100 Flying Birds

A new book called 100 Flying Birds: Photographing the Mechanics of Flight delivers a helpful collection of images in a beautiful and useful form.

Book Review: 100 Flying Birds

Author and photographer Peter Cavanagh has documented the flight poses of a variety of species, from swans and geese to hummingbirds to eagles and owls. 

Book Review: 100 Flying Birds

The photos are sharp and clear, reproduced full-page along with the author's commentary on the facing page. The text presents the context of the shot, the mechanics of the flight pose, or insights about behavior or the environment.

Book Review: 100 Flying Birds

That text combined with the photos makes this an unusually welcome resource for birdwatchers or ornithological artists who want a better understanding of their subject.

--

100 Flying Birds: Photographing the Mechanics of Flight, by Peter Cavanagh, Firefly Books, 320 pages, all color, 11 x 11 inches. 

Mr. Cavanagh curated the exhibition "How Birds Fly" exhibit at Seattle's Museum of Flight in 2015.

Photos by Peter Cavanagh (@howbirdsfly on Twitter).


Bernard Garbutt's Animal Sketches


Bernard Garbutt (1900-1975) was an animator and teacher at Disney during the studio's golden age. He taught animal drawing during the production for Bambi, when everyone was trying to understand the structure and movement of animals.

Bernard Garbutt's Animal Sketches
Bernard Garbutt grew up in southern California, where he worked as a staff artist for the L. A. Times, producing sketches of horse races and county fairs for the Sunday edition. He also wrote and illustrated children's books about dogs and horses.

Bernard Garbutt's Animal Sketches

Veteran animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston said that when he worked at Disney Studios, Garbutt would help the other animators figure out how a certain animal should move.
"Garbutt would perch on the edge of the table, more like a bird than a draftsman (he never seemed to sit in a chair), and start explaining, and while he talked his pencil would start making a thin line that seemed to meander aimlessly across the paper. We would turn our heads first one way. then the other, trying to see what he was drawing, but the lines resembled a tangled cobweb as much as anything else. Then, suddenly, we saw a deer in the precise phase of the movement we had described; only Garbutt was drawing it upside down so it faced us."
Bernard Garbutt's Animal Sketches
"While we were blinking and trying to absorb that combination of rendition and explanation, he would continue: "Now with a camel, he'll put this leg out first and keep his head down. ..." When he had finished drawing a camel getting up, he would go on to the buffalo, just so we would have a thorough understanding of what was unique about the deer in this particular action."
Books: 

Thanks, Paulo
BulldogA Dinosaur-Eating MammalRaymond de la Nézière, Animal ArtistThe Horse Pictures of Eduard ThönyFeather Identification WebsitesAnimal Fable Illustrations by E.M. RachevTherianthropyBook Review: 100 Flying BirdsBernard Garbutt's Animal Sketches

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