Swingin’ With The Rhinos….

Once again, it takes a public competition of some sort to get me to draw anything. This one was fun though — there was a a “Weird and Wonderful Creatures” category, so naturally I had to take that one.

The inspiration was that crazy old-timey woodcut of a rhinoceros that clearly just took “well, it looks like it’s covered in armor…” and ran with it. At first I tried copying the actual shape and placement of the armor pieces so I could just change the position (and add the fun bridle, obviously), but that was a minor disaster I scrapped in the sketch phase:


In the end I decided to just go with the impressions I got from the original image but use my own design for the actual pieces of armor and hide. I do kind of wish I’d remembered that wave pattern from the brow band in the old sketch, though; I could have used something like that for a tooled-leather kind of effect on the “saddle” portion in the finished piece.


I used a slightly different graphite pencil for the pieces I considered “armor” and the ones I considered to be “skin.”


That idea got harder to implement around the face because I kind of had no idea what was going on anymore, but I managed.


Yes, I forgot the throatlatch until this part. I’m not sure whether I forgot the noseband or purposely left it out or if that little bit near the bit was supposed to be it and then I got too focused on drawing the horn … it was around midnight at that point so I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I could have been.

SIDE NOTE: thank you internet for allowing me to find “If I Didn’t Have You” from Quest for Camelot when literally all I could remember is that it had the words “the rhinos” in it and thus would be appropriate for this post. I’m not sure how I forgot that song (and that movie) existed, but it’s gonna be in my head for a whiiiiiile now.


Out with the old….

I did a picture way-back-when of a modern raptor (a Harris’ Hawk) perched on a fossil raptor’s skull for “Clever Girl”; it took forever and I was never quiiiite happy with the results, though it did teach me how to draw hawks (a skill I somehow lost again after a few weeks).

“Fallen Tyrant” is a variation on that older idea, but whipped up in one night after a rather depressing scroll through my Facebook feed. Instead of raptors I went with a tyrannosaur (“tyrant lizard”) and an avian rainbow of modern birds perched and nesting on its now-harmless fangs.

Size reference … well, mostly didn’t happen aside from roughly establishing the size of the dove and raven and eyeballing the others against that, then strategically placing the peacock so it’s not entirely clear how far away it is. The skull …  tyrannosaurs come in lots of sizes, shush.

Obvious symbolism is obvious, but I feel most subtlety is wasted these days anyhow….


The Runty Pigeon returns

Alright, I guess I should get back to this. No pictures today; for what it’s worth, it’s a wonder I managed to stop procrastinating and/or napping long enough to write at all!


Olivia wanted so badly to fly; she would feel safe in the air, where no human could hope to reach her. But the door was latched, and her wing would not take her far either way. Sol’s would not take him anywhere at all, and after all his help she couldn’t imagine leaving him behind.

“Don’t fear,” cooed Paloma, “it’s only the healer.”

Still, she fluttered her wings nervously, and Olivia was hardly reassured. Paloma had spoken kindly of Mar and the other humans, and yet the humans would not let them leave. Were the cages to protect them, like a hatchling’s nest? Why, then, would Sol need one, lively and clever as he was? And humans were lumbering ground-dwellers who knew nothing of flight; what help could a human healer possibly offer an injured bird? Olivia feared that Sol and Paloma had gotten it wrong somehow. She thought back to a day, not so long ago, when Columbo and Granny Columba had called her over to see something outside the nest. A huge, glossy wasp was lumbering by, carrying an even larger insect in her claws. Her prey was one of the plump, long-winged, noisy creatures that clung to the trees and joined the cricket-chorus on summer nights. Olivia had never seen a wasp fly around with its food before eating it, and she said as much to the other birds.

“It is not for her,” cooed Granny, “and it is not dead yet.”

Surprised, Olivia and Columbo watched the wasp disappear as Granny continued. “She poisons them,” Granny went on quietly, “and traps them in her nest for the young ones to eat when they hatch.”

Olivia shrunk down, horrified at the thought. Seeing that she had the squabs’ attention, Granny had flapped her wings with a dramatic flourish as she finished her tale.

“Never trust the humans, little ones, even if they offer food and make kind sounds. They are like the wasp! They will cage you in their nests, and then one day–“


Father Pigeon had interrupted here, puffed-up and furious-looking.

“Are you frightening the squabs again with your stories?”

The two had argued, then; Granny insisted that the tales were true, while Father tried frantically to assure Olivia and her brother that they wouldn’t be captured and eaten alive by humans. In the end, Olivia had not been sure who to believe. Columbo was certain that Granny was only teasing, but was it possible that she and Father had both been partly right? Before Granny’s story, Olivia had certainly never heard of humans gathering pigeons to eat them alive; but everyone Under the Bridge had heard of cages, and no one seemed entirely sure why humans used them. Did some humans eat pigeons? Perhaps she could ask one of the other old birds. Granny Columba had never spoken of it again, though, and so at the time young Olivia had forgotten about her question. It looked like she would not be able to ask it now, either: The whistling had stopped, and two huge black-and-white eyes peered down at her through the door of her cage.

Stopping by woods on a summer evening…

Okay, so on the one hand, don’t go out for a walk in the woods in the middle of the night. It’s dumb, because you will probably be ax murdered/fall in a hole/get eaten by bears or whatever, and there will be mosquitoes everywhere, and weird birds that sound like angry old ladies yelling, and you will forget there’s a bridge and almost trip over it; and you will definitely forget about that stadium that means even in the relative middle of nowhere it will still be too bright to have any hope of seeing the Northern lights no matter how long you hang out there.
HOWEVER, on the other hand, definitely go for a walk in the woods in the middle of the night, because no one else will be out there (not even ax murderers really, because someone who camps out in the middle of a low-traffic path in the middle of the woods on a Sunday night is going about axe-murdering all wrong), and all that light pollution will actually make it just bright enough to keep to the white gravel path, and to see the wings of low-flying bats or glimpse the fur of a young raccoon scooting up a tree; but also there will be places where the cottonwoods and the creeper and the wild grape all meet overhead and in those moments it will be friggin’ Miyazaki-level magical because there will be nothing but dark trees, pale stones, frog song, and more than enough fireflies to make up for the stars you can’t quite see.
Also your phone has a flashlight, so what are you even worried about.

Right round….

Me, meeting a yellow fidget spinner for the first time:

“Oh hahaha it looks like those things that go in the middle of records



Alternate song lyrics I could have used for this post:

“Too much time on my hands….”
“I think I need help….”

Happy weekend!

Stay low to the ground….

It’s one of those enforced lazy days where I don’t have any really pressing errands, but I’m not feeling well enough to go out and Do Stuff for the heck of it. Days like this I’m thankful for the radio, and for the fact that I enjoy low-activity pastimes like reading and drawing.

After all that screen-staring required for Counting Sheep, I decided to go low-tech and break out the graphite and Prisma pencils. I also didn’t feel like looking up any more reference images after Googling 25+ sheep breeds, so I went with an old familiar character, my owl/kitten Gryphling, in a slightly birdified version of a pose any cat lover (or even cat acquaintance, really) can pull up reasonably well from memory:



As usual I had some issues with the wings and paws, but it nicely served its purposes of killing some time and justifying my purchase of that “artichoke” colored pencil. I’m … not really sure “Artichoke” is any more accurate for this shade of brown (the main pelt/feather color here) than that AI’s infamous choice of “Turdly” was, but I suppose it does sound a little better….

Count me away before you sleep….

Sheeps! So many sheeps! And another P!ATD title, sorry about that, but really how could I resist with this one.

Turns out, these RedBubble challenges are often the only way I can be bothered to do anything remotely constructive art-wise. I did feel pretty awful yesterday, but it came on quickly and wasn’t really the reason I’d been lounging around for most of the morning. I just don’t like, y’know, doing stuff.

Anyhow, along those lines, I originally wanted to do 50 sheep, which working alphabetically through the Wikipedia list would have taken me roughly to the cool polycerate Jacob sheep (skipping the ones without articles or pictures as well as some of the not-so-distinctive meat breeds). Halfway through, though, I decided maybe 25 was a good number and I could finish it up for a special 50-sheep edition some other, more ambitious day.

Even so, there’s actually a ton of variety considering I literally just grabbed the first 25 names for the most part. I skipped one that looked too much like the Beltex, for example, but dang, what is with the Beltex in the first place? I didn’t realize until now that putting a bunch of extra muscles on a shortish ram turns it into a sort of unsettling woolly hog. Likewise, bulking everything up evenly and taking off the wool, like the shorn Australian White rams I saw, gives you tiny cows with floofy (or missing) tails and adorable noses.

Look, we don’t have a lot of sheep where I live.

All in all it was a pretty fun project, once you past the crippling headache and the difficulty of finding reference pics for a lot of the lambs. And yes, I cheated and included the Jacob anyhow, because somehow it seemed more sportsmanlike than skipping all the way down to the Navajo-Churro. What can I say, they’re too cool to leave out.