Thursday, December 11, 2014

SF Zoo Backlog

It's been a while since I posted zoo drawings, so let's catch up. The month of November was kind of overshadowed by the very sad accidental death of Kabibe, the SF Zoo's baby gorilla, and I didn't really have the heart to go sketching for a while. I did do a little tribute drawing for the impromptu memorial shrine, though, showing Kabibe with her doting grandmother Bawang.

Going back a little further, here are some drawings from November 8.

While I was tagging along with a friend and his daughter, I sketched the climb-able hippo sculpture, and subsequently Brian the actual hippo.

Some pretty birds from the aviary, and one of the newly arrived agoutis.

Naturally I went by the ARC for the daily Animal Encounter. Louie the common green iguana was posing very nicely.

My first serious attempt to draw the kangaroos and wallabies. I had to do a lot of warmup sketches.

And here's a color scene, with background emu.

Lastly, a selection from the little-known African Aviary. The zoo closed on me while I was still putting in the guineafowl's speckles.

Later in the month, I came back for World Anteater Day, which is apparently November 29.

A few sketches of Evita the giant anteater, plus a nearby capybara.

Uulu the polar bear was kind enough to pose for me.

The baby Francois' langur, now 17 days old, is starting to toddle around on his own unsteady feet.

And most recently, here are a few from December 4.

The siamangs are such a cute couple. Some days I want to run away and become a gibbon, too.

Jahari the lion posing magnificently. I'm not liking the blotchiness of the background paint - I just ordered a bunch of new "Art Alternatives" brand sketchbooks, which have slightly better paper quality.

I ended up doing a lot of quick pen-and-ink doodles today. Here are a few of my favorites.

And this one's for my wife Julie, who requested a chicken.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cryptic Critters

Over the last few weeks, I've been working on a comic about a zoo for imaginary creatures. I actually started doing some daily illustrations for Inktober based on this concept, but lost my momentum partway through. Just to freshen up this blog a little bit, though, here are a couple of group shots showcasing some of the featured crytids and bestiary beasties...

These are all labeled, so they should be pretty easy to identify. They're not actually to scale, by the way.

This batch includes the wendigo, Flatwoods monster, dingonek, wolpertinger, Dover demon, hodak, jackalope, Montauk monster, unicorn, and hoopsnake.

And here's one of my Inktober illustrations showing the Montauk monster, feejee mermaid, and globster cavorting in the crypto-aquarium.

While we're talking about strange creatures, I'll also throw in a couple that I doodled while watching the Syfy Channel's excellent makeup FX contest Face Off...

So yes, those are kaiju-style giant squid, sloth, and mantis costumes. You're welcome.

Friday, November 7, 2014

San Francisco Zoo 11/06/2014

A rare opportunity to go to the San Francisco Zoo all by myself and draw whatever I like! Let's see if we can find some new corners to explore...

The 10:00 AM feeding seems to be your best chance to see the koalas awake. I came back a couple hours later, and found that Zakary had simply flopped forward and gone straight to sleep.

First time drawing the meerkats. They were keeping watch on me the whole time, so it was a mutual observation.

I learned that the Eurasian eagle owl, like the gorilla and the wolverine, has one of those Latin names that's the same word twice.

The obligatory 11:30 AM grizzly feeding frenzy. A huge crowd today, even though it was a non-free weekday.

My first pass at the agoutis, which are surely the most elegant rodents I've ever seen. I'll research them a little bit and refine the likeness next time.

It was pretty hot today, and a lot of the animals were just napping.

The regular flamingo chick check. They're getting bigger and darker, but not yet pink.

2:00 PM is time for the spectacular Animal Encounter in the children's zoo - a must-see for artists! This is the first time I've seen a bearded dragon up close.

There was also a common green iguana. I drew this one a few weeks back but never posted it on this blog, so let's have a sketchbook flashback!

They brought out tons of critters for the Animal Encounter today. I was so spoiled for choice I couldn't decide which to draw, so I just did them all.

The 3:00 PM Aye-Aye tour. It wasn't easy drawing in a room so dark you can't see the paper! As with the agoutis, I might do some research and then try this again.

It's often hard to see the emperor tamarins, but it turns out that the glare on the window goes away by 4:00 PM, so we could get a good look at each other. This little guy seemed quite fascinated by my colorful paint set.

Boo at the Zoo 10/25/2014

A few sketches from the annual Halloween festivities at the San Francisco Zoo. I was showing friends around, so the sketching is going to be a bit minimalist this time.

A lot of the animals received Halloween-themed enrichments. Here's Tenzing the red panda getting to grips with his pumpkin.

The Haunted Nature Trail was not to be missed, with costumed volunteers and spooky decorations aplenty! I also checked in on the status of the flamingo chicks.

The lemurs had an entire haunted house installation, with gravestones and bedsheet ghosts.

The langurs dig into their Halloween treat buckets.

Siamangs grooming each other as they laze in the sun.

A medley of two-toed sloth action from the adorable Moony and his toucan buddy.

A couple of lazy big cats - snow leopard and lions.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Academy of Sciences 10/17/2014

I took advantage of a neighborhood free day to finally check out the famous Skulls exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. Honestly, this is all research for a comic project...

I showed up at the Academy of Sciences waaaay early, expecting a big line for the neighborhood free day, but the place was deserted. A crowd finally started forming just before the museum opened.

I'd forgotten that the first thing you see when you walk in is a big old tyrannosaur skeleton cast.

And now, the skulls! I only had time to draw a fraction of them, so I gravitated to the ones that seemed most bizarre.

Had to do the warthog. So crazy tusks!

I did a bit of drawing in the Africa Hall, but zoo sketching has spoiled me, and I find it pretty dull drawing stuffed animals. I prefer the lively exhibits like the penguin tank.


And finally, the famous white alligator and the subterranean aquarium.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

International Ghost Convention 10/11/2014

Drawings from the Fall 2014 costume carnival at the Academy of Art's Illustration department. This time, Sarafina the model coordinator came up with the theme of an International Ghost Convention, featuring spectral beings from all over the world.

Abby Muñoz as La Calavera Catrina, the "elegant skull" who symbolizes Mexico's Day of the Dead.

Jessica Chan as Japan's Kuchisake-onna ("slit-mouthed woman"), a modern urban legend presented here in retro kimono duds. The teeth were, as they say, added in post.

Katie Longua as Anne Boleyn, wife number two of England's King Henry VIII. The decapitated head was another artist's addition.

Frank Wollesen as Frederick Federici, Melbourne's benevolent opera ghost.

Simone Rene as La Lllorona, Mexico's child-snatching "weeping woman."

As always, there were elaborate mood-setting backdrops. Apparently Abby decorated this stage herself, so it's appropriate she's pictured here.

Speed round! As the event drew to a close, I tried to flesh out my ghost collection with some quick sketches. Here we have Nathan Shorts as Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron"; a banshee; and Marvin Ellman-Gardner as a djinn.

Last but not least, here's Michael Glenn as the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was erased from history by his successors and presumably has a few scores to settle.