Monday, June 15, 2015

Into Summer At The SF Zoo

And now, some sketches from recent excursions to the San Francisco Zoo. They've just started their summer event schedule, which includes a nature trail manned by young volunteers, twice-daily wildlife theater shows, and lots of keeper talks - plus the newly unveiled Sculpture Learning Plaza! A great time to take the kids, if you've got 'em.

The new Sculpture Learning Plaza has dozens of life-size and larger-than-life models of exotic critters, sturdy enough for kiddies to climb on. Coming soon: a coelacanth!

 Otherwise, last week's trip was about the rhinos. Here's magnificent Gauhati, two tons of fun.

And here's young Boone, who's currently the subject of a research fundraiser to develop a cool food-dispensing foraging ball.

From back in May, here are five giraffes all stripping one stalk of acacia. This was an irresistible drawing opportunity.

A comprehensive indictment of that wicked, wicked guanaco.

My beloved sloth and his colorful roomie. They'll soon be relocating to the new tropical aviary.

Another irrestible sketching situation. I've never seen the shy bongo this close!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Oakland Zoo 05/23/2015

In which Julie and I return to OZ to celebrate some elephants! Volunteers were on hand to share their pachyderm knowledge, and remind us to support California's SB 716 (banning the use of bullhooks) and AB 96 (cracking down on the state's shameful ivory trade).

The utterly adorable white-handed gibbons. The blond one doesn't seem to be quite as extroverted, but they're both serious swingers.

More sun bear fun, plus a recognition guide and your daily reminder to seek out products that use sustainable palm oil.

My main goal for today was to learn how to tell the elephants apart. Here's Donna eating a yummy cardboard box, plus a basic recognition crib sheet.

We signed up for the once-a-year tour of the elephant barn, and saw Osh getting his daily pedicure and checkup. Tomorrow, he turns 21!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Touch-A-Truck Day 05/16/2014

Last weekend, I spent a few hours being enthralled by a menagerie of awesome huge vehicles. Then I went to see a Mad Max movie. But never mind that - here's a roundup of exotic vehicles from the Star of the Sea School's 42nd Spring Festival, conveniently located just outside my front door.

The giant vacuum truck is officially known as a Combination Flushing Unit. My wife spent a lot of time quizzing the crew about how it's operated and what qualifications you need. They said the thrill wears off after a couple of days, but she doesn't believe that.

The fire crew claim that Engine 31 isn't their prettiest one, but I think it's very nice. At some point I'll have to go check out its predecessors at the SFFD Fire Museum.

Since the PG&E bucket truck also has a winch, it's officially classified as a Material Handler.

It would be totally worth writing parking tickets all day long if I got to drive one of these groovy three-wheelers. Of course, I'd have to learn how to drive first.

After you take your turn running the street sweeper, the crew will draw your attention to how hard it is to see the bicycle. So watch out, kids!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Superhero Costume Workshop 05/08/2015

And now, some sketches from the traditional end-of-the-semester workshop hosted by the AAU Comic Book Club...

Aaron as the TV version Daredevil, and Margo as a very kittenish Catwoman. This is clearly the role Aaron was born to play. He's so hardcore, he didn't take the mask off all evening!


And here's Margo getting ready to punish us in the name of the moon.

By the Power of Grayskull, it's Jonathan as He-Man! I may have action-figured him up a bit.

A time-lapse sequence of Jonathan fighting some Fin Fang Foom kinda dude.

Aaron versus Jonathan, wow! Since these were just five-minute poses, I doubled them up for maximum effect.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oakland Zoo 05/07/2015

At last, I made my first ever field trip to the beautiful Oakland Zoo! All via public transit, no less.

At first it seems like they're just hanging out, but if you stick around a while, you'll see the fruit bats doing all kinds of fun stuff! Now I know they pee upside down, but poop right-side up.

The fossil recreations, and the mini-doors for the Reptile & Amphibian House, seem like great kid-pleasing features. But sometimes you just want to hang out and eat some strawberries.

I ducked into the Reptile & Amphibian House to wait out the rain. The gila monster eluded me, but here are some chuckwallas and what I believe is a Colorado River toad.

I think I've fallen in love with the Aldabra giant tortoise. And maybe it's just my fancy, but from the way he kept looking at me, I think it's mutual.

As I recall, using sustainable palm oil was one of Tony Barnosky's top ten tips for saving the world. The sun bear will thank you, and if you're very lucky, she might give you a flash of her amazing termite-catching tongue.

Last but never least, I spent the final hour hanging out with the elephants. These are really just preliminary studies - I'll have to go back soon and really observe these beauties! I've since identified the ones shown here as M'Dundamela (top left), Lisa (top right and bottom left), and Donna (bottom right).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Info & Graphics

I've been playing around recently with infographic illustrations, but when you're pressed for time sometimes you end up with more info and less graphics, or vice versa.

These from a recent visit to the California Academy of Sciences are mostly pictures with minimal text. Next time I check out their awesome Whales exhibit, I definitely want to integrate more of the informational content.

The taxidermy collection at the Academy's Naturalist Center is really impressive. I didn't even get around to drawing the roadrunner.

Meanwhile, I did a stint as a graphic recorder for the City of San Mateo, documenting a discussion about the future of the local arts scene. Due to the amount of information I had to get down, the graphics here are pretty minimalist...

One extra perk of that event was that I got to meet daredevil "yarnbomber" Lorna Watt of Knits For Life. You should all be jealous!

Monday, April 13, 2015

SF Zoo Sketchnotes & More

And here's some recent infographic drawing from the San Francisco Zoo. First, sketchnotes based on two recent conservation lectures...


Whew! Meanwhile, I also took notes during one of the zoo's Wild Walk guided tours, with the intention of going back and integrating them into a big montage illustration afterwards. As it turned out, doing all that drawing took hours.

After all that infographic effort, it's a positive relief to just doodle a quick owl or a couple of chickens.