Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pasqueflower (Prairie Crocus) in pen and ink

In 005 Prismacolor Premier, to be more precise. Extra small pen because I felt extra scribbly this morning, I guess.

I grew up knowing these as crocusses, but that gets a person confusing it with the European crocus. Today I try to stick with Prairie Crocus or Pasqueflower, just to be on the safe side. Even safer? Pulsatilla patens, I suppose. Although some sources are still using the synonym Anemone patens... I thought that the scientific names were supposed to make things less confusing?

Anyway. I'm a big fan of this flower, but for a fairly simple form I find it tricky to draw well. And why? Hairs. This is a really hairy plant. Hairy stems, hairy sepals (no petals at all on the flower, despite appearances)... and I've never yet found a way to draw a hairy plant that really makes me happy. Suggest a few hairs? Doesn't give the right idea. Go hair crazy and draw lines all over the place? Way too busy. Today? Well, like I said above I'm apparently in a scribbly mood.

This was done fairly quickly in my small moleskine.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Torpid in pen and ink

... and Inktense wash. And a bit of soluble graphite in the background, which the scanner has, as usual, not been able to see. Doesn't matter -- it wasn't terribly important.

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is asleep. Kind of a tough one for me since I'm more than a bit of an insomniac. My first reaction was very much "asleep? what is that, exactly?"

Anyway. What you have here is me taking advantage of the prompt to do a little bit of preliminary sketching for a project I'll be doing at work. I need some pictures of Richardson's Ground Squirrels (that'd be Urocitellus richardsonii for the nerds among us. You know, like me) during various parts of their life cycle for a school program I'm in the midst of rewriting. Still haven't decided whether I'm going with drawings or photos, but this is a start.

Ground Squirrels are crazy good at hibernating. And yes, while the little biologist voice in the back of my head is saying that torpor isn't the same thing as sleeping, the rest of me is saying that it's close enough for the purpose. At any rate, if you're an adult male Richardson's Ground Squirrel you start your hibernation in mid-June. Yes, seriously. It's mid-July for the adult females. Even the youngsters don't stay out terribly long; the last stragglers are generally down before mid-October.

The hibernation den is lined with grasses, and is completely blocked off before the animal beds down for the winter to help reduce the risk of predation. Imagine that: you wake up after a looong sleep, and the first thing you have to do is dig yourself up to the surface. It's the Great Escape every single spring for these guys.

If you're interested at all in Ground Squirrels and want to know more, the best place I can think of to start is with the University of Lethbridge's Richardson's Ground Squirrel pages. I find them kind of fascinating, but then I've already admitted my nerdity to you folks...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Umbrella in pen and ink

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is soaked.

No big explanation for this one. Just a quickie in the sketchbook.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Tulip in watercolour and oil pastel resist

Not too much to say about this, since I was only just testing a couple of things out.

As a matter of fact, I'm thinking that i probably should have called the post Juuust testing, because that's all it's really about.

Testing what?

Well, the look of different colours with the white resist, for one thing. And the other thing?

That'd be the scanner.

This very quick, slightly crooked, and haphazardly-edited shot is not from the scanner. My scanner, as with many scanners, decidedly does not like watercolour wash. It's serviceable for pen or pencil stuff (although the difference is pretty obvious when I scan things here as opposed to with the higher quality scanner at work), but it's hopeless at anything involving a wash. Watercolour, ink, soluble graphite... a person may as well not even bother. I'm sure that a lot of you know the same tune, there. Just to compare, above is an admittedly slightly dull shot from my autofocus camera. Nothing to write home about, but you can still see the entire flower. Whereas:

Yeah. Scanner. And that's even after I did my best with what limited editing software I have to make something show up.

Ah well, what can you do?

And considering that I don't even own a computer, it's nice that I have access to a scanner at all, really.

I own the scanner, in fact. Don't own a computer, but I do have a scanner. That sounds odd when I type it out...

Ah well. Again. Thus endeth the pointless post.

Wait a minute. Aren't pointless posts supposed to go to my other blog?

Ah well.


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Microhike in conte crayon

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is safari. There's more than one way to go on safari, and some of them are a lot cheaper and easier to get to than others.

One of the tools we use in natural history interpretation to get children (or people in general) to look at things on a different scale is called a microhike. Participants are given 1 m pieces of string or yarn and are asked to think of the string as the trail for their hike. The trail can be "set" anywhere, and then the person "walking" the trail gets down on hands and knees to examine every little thing they find along the way. Tiny saplings become redwoods, pebbles are boulders, grasses are jungles... and the wildlife, of course, is mostly insects and spiders.

It's a simple game, but if you introduce it right it's amazing how involved kids can become in the microworld. It's also amazing what you can find if you actually start seeing what's around you.

Personally, I think it would do a lot of adults some good to take a few minutes and look at things in a different way, too.

Oh, and for the record: I have no idea why it's a black paper day today.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Not abandoned, no

Just having an unhappy wrist at the moment. Don't worry -- it's nothing serious. Back with new doodles soon, I hope.
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