… though I admit this is quite a little bit. Today’s drawing/sketching/doodling session, a fraction of which is pictured here, was devoted to working on my moth-making skills. I have good photos of White-lined Sphinx, Polyphemus, and … I dunno, one of those little grey fellows that have an unfortunate habit of dying in light fixtures. So, those were my focus.
The Sphinx is by far the most graceful, with the bold colors and hummingbird-like dexterity of its wings. The grey fellow is a good Prototype Moth, with all the standard features one comes to expect in a midsize lepidopteran. Mighty Polyphemus is the most impressive of the bunch, but at the same time the most pathetic — no little moth-tongue to lap at the flowers with, and (by the time I found him on the front porch) only 1.5 gorgeous feathery antennae (two eyes though). Grounded as he was, I have a feeling he was not long for this world.
I’m now looking at how to combine the most useful elements of the three into something that has the look I want. There needs to be a dainty little curl of a proboscis like the Sphinx has — sorry, Polyphemus — but that enigmatic lady lacks the extravagant feathery headgear of her Cyclopean cousin. Smallest Moth isn’t encumbered by crazy specialty wings, so it should make for a good study of the thorax and the legs (which you can technically see on Polyphemus as well, but they are GIANT ADORABLE TEDDY BEAR LEGS that might be a bit hard to work with).
The wings are where it’s going to get interesting, and I think all three of my buddies are going to have to work together on that one. It’s definitely going to be one of the more “artistic license”-y parts. But by golly, I WILL finish this drawing this time, beyond the “weird sketch” or “why-did-I-save-this-PSD-file” stage! CAPS LOCK is easier than switching to italics for emphasis! So are exclamation points! Enjoy your Memorial Day!
I’ve never actually seen a moth around a flame, probably because I don’t use candles and because big smoky campfires tend to have something of the opposite effect on insects.
Anyhow, this is one of those infamous ideas-that-never-become-more-than-that. I’ve started it a few times as a proper drawing, but I always get frustrated trying to work out the angles and proportions, and wind up scrapping the whole thing. What I need to do is go back and do some proper moth/butterfly studies, to get the groundwork down before I try modifications. It’s what I do with the dragons, the griffins, and so on. It’s these humanoid figures that throw me. And clothes. And anything tied to the human world, really. I don’t even know what an umbrella looks like, for crying out loud. I don’t live in a box, I swear, and it’s not even that I don’t pay attention. I can easily tell, say, a Mustang from a Firebird — but ask me to draw *any* car and you’ll get something that looks like it was made from a Velveeta box.
Anyhow, one of many practice pages I’ll be drawing before this lady comes to life. Maybe between this blog and my new-found free time (I’m only working 20 hours a week now, on account of now being in a 20-hour-a-week position) I’ll finally finish Ms. Moth this year. Ideally she’ll be in full color and fairly good-sized, but we’ll see how that works out. Here’s hoping!
One of these days I’ll learn how to draw dinosaurs, or at least practice, but for now we’ll settle for disembodied, out-of-proportion heads that resemble dinosaurs more than they resemble other things. Actually, they’re not meant to be dinosaurs at all, they’re meant to be a sort of intelligent dinosaur-bird-alien dude who starred in a book I never wrote for NaNoWriMo one year. I mean, I finished the NaNo and all, but I never went back to proofread and I’m not 100% sure I even finished the story.
But anyhow, the basic gist of it (some of which was actually included in the story itself, some of which I just sort of assumed, implied, or thought of afterward) was that he’s the extraterrestrial equivalent of a slightly larger Velociraptor/Troodon type theropod, in which the males have a decorative crest and (as with modern raptors) are rather smaller than females. The females might have less contrast and color in their markings and be of an overall sturdier build, without the showy head ornamentation — like lionesses, they might traditionally be the hunters in a group. Suffice to say, our friend finds human gender differences a little counterintuitive and doesn’t always guess correctly.
My first try for his species/race/tribe/what-have-you was simple bold markings in black and white, focused on the face and underparts, like you might see in flocking seabirds or orca whales; I may transfer this over to his coastal neighbors, though, and give him something from the desert parrot palette instead. I definitely want a splash of red somewhere. I like red.
I also feel as if I’ve probably described some part of this somewhere in the past of this blog, which is one of the dangers of having an increasingly large number of posts. No worries, though — if I don’t remember, I’m counting on no one who’s stuck with my blog this long remembering either.
Well, I guess this is it for this picture? If I go any further, there’s an increasingly good chance I’ll slip up on something major and botch it up for good. Presenting, for the first time all in one photo, Mr. and Mrs. Beastie and some plant life.
Of course, I don’t actually know what I’ll *do* with this now it’s done. It’s just going to exist, I suppose, like the pages before it on this sketch pad. At least it doesn’t take up any more space than the empty paper itself, which is a plus. Then again, the empty paper takes up a lot more physical space than a file on my computer would, which is why I’ve gone mostly to digital art for bigger projects.
One way or another, though, it’s done, and that’s pretty cool. That’s really the only goal I had for these guys in the first place, so it’s no surprise that it’s the extent of their usefulness. Drawing them in detail also gave me a good idea of how they “really” look, which will make quick character sketches a lot easier later if I feel the need. My local co-op displays work from local artists, and I really wish I had a body of work I could submit for that, but honestly I just don’t “do” pictures like that. I make little scribbly folks floating around in a white void and standing just shy of on-the-level.
Maybe some day I’ll get better at this “real art” thing. Maybe I’ll just stick to what I know. But I’ll have to keep in practice either way, and that’s one thing this blog encourages me to do. It’s not fool-proof, as there are still some abandoned projects in its past, but it’s a start. Maybe next week I’ll use it to get me started on Madame Moth — I’ve been putting her off for years, and I’d really like to see how she looks….