Monday, August 27, 2012

Tor at the Zoo


Goal: Have a good time while improving animal drawing skills by reading eight animal anatomy and art books and completing a two week submersion experience drawing animals at various Midwestern zoos.

Dates: From August 11th to August 26th- 16 days

Miles traveled: > 1,800 (all done at night after zoos closed)

States traversed: Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri

Zoo visited (7):

Milwaukee Wisconsin
Indianapolis Indiana
Columbus Ohio
Cincinnati Ohio
Saint Louis Missouri
Brookfield Illinois
Chicago Illinois

Sketch pages completed: 101

Total sketches: 684

Notes on some of my favorite sketches:

Baby elephant: This was a two month old at the Indianapolis zoo. They had 8 total! I also saw two amur tigers, a leopard, and another elephant at various zoo of about the same age.

Orangutan: Seemed as interested in me as I was in him- posed for about 15 minutes until I got surrounded by too many kids and couldn’t work anymore.

Reptiles: Being slow moving, I had a chance to develop the drawing more than others

Zebra: My horse anatomy much improved from animal anatomy books

Bantengs: Usually animal instincts interfere with drawing because they perceive being stared at as a threat or challenge. In this case, I started to draw the young calf and the father but the mother saw me focused on her calf and came and put herself between me and her calf. It made for a perfect composition.

Pachyderm: This was my best overall page from the trip probably because I was fresh in the morning and had good concentration. The elephants are actually composites of three elephants in the same yard. I was utilizing the tactic of drawing multiple animals that eventually return to similar positioning to complete various poses on one page.

Wrestling bears: Although very unfinished, I consider it my best accomplishment at capturing action. The technique requires three skills: a shorthand suggestion of the composition done in about 10 seconds, visual memory, and application of knowledge of animal anatomy to add some detail afterwards.

Bathing elephant: Indianapolis zoo brought out one of their elephants for a crowd demo and chance to touch the elephant. The elephant got a bath with a hose, an activity it seem to relish very much.

Very angry parrot: The blue parrot on this page was well behaved and quiet until a human visitor squawked at it. It got very agitated and started screaming, beating its wing aggressively, and showing its claws. The perpetrator left quickly leaving me with the parrot who decided to direct his anger at me for the next 10 minutes.

Gorilla: This gorilla, like the orangutan above, came over and sat on the rock 2 feet from the viewing window. It stayed about 20 minutes and seemed to enjoy looking at the people as much as they did at him. I had the same experience a few years ago with the same gorilla at the Milwaukee zoo.

................... Tor Muehl

(Editor's note: it's not really my intention
to focus exclusively on the bizarre projects of my friends.
All bizarre projects are welcome!
Just send me the text and pictures)


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