Thursday, October 27, 2016

Scribbling a Buffalo Skull

A few years ago I bought my brother-in-law a buffalo skull for his new cabin.

Yeah, in my family that's a legit cool gift.

Anyhow, I borrowed it recently for a few weeks to draw it.  Bones are really hard, I find, and great to learn on because the white surface helps me see shadows really well.

Which doesn't mean I can render them really well... but I have great fun trying.  And I learn a lot.

Below are three versions of the same view of the skull.

First, ink contour lines and watercolor for the shadows.  I allowed myself to play some with color.

As often happens to me, I didn't get the scale of the object correct on the page, and ran its nose right off.  Still, I liked a lot about this drawing, particularly the teeth and the angles of the horns.

Second, I explored the shapes again, but this time with a fat brush and fun colors.

And, dang if I didn't run that nose right off the page again.  VERY frustrating to me.  I really have to map things out in advance on the page more, or something.  

I suppose if I started with a pencil drawing and fiddled with that until I got the scale right, and then went in with ink or paint, I'd be better off.  But I like the "no erase" scribbling approach to my sketchbook.  So, I just have to remember that scale failure is something I need to work on.

Or maybe I should embrace it as "my style!"

Third, I started on the left, with the nose and tried to fit it on one page, but again, no go.  This time, at least, I could cross the gutter and finish on the right page.

I really enjoyed the colors I used with this one.

The skull is complicated and unfamiliar.  For me it is hard to draw so that a viewer can tell the inside of the skull from the outside.  All those cracks and crevices--what to leave in and what to leave out?

Doing several scribbles in a row like this helps me get to know a shape.  Each piece makes the object a little bit more clear in my brain.

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