Category Archives: Animals

Looking forward

It’s springish here in coastal Alaska, which means a shifting soundscape. Varied thrushes are singing steadily now, and juncos and wrens have stepping up their song output. Our nesting raven neighbors chat with each other and holler mysterious epithets at us.

Some of the sounds I’m most looking forward to haven’t quite arrived. For example, we won’t likely hear the calls of sandhill cranes for another couple of weeks. But I did finish a painting I started last fall, in anticipation of that thrill.

crane small

Inktober 16th

The inktober.com prompt is “wild” and the GNSI one is “reptile.” I was tired. Neither sounded very inspiring, so I just went for the reptile; challenge was to see how much I remember about rattlesnakes without looking at reference images. I have a lot to learn…. but I do like the composition.

inktober-16th_hocker

In the meantime, I had an idea I really like for the prompt “wild”– and I might just substitute it for the prompt for today.

Inktober 15th

Halfway through!

Today’s GNSI prompt was “dinosaur.” This was a rush job–because I didn’t have much time, but also because I wanted to try something loose with no pencil sketch first.

I love thinking of birds as dinosaurs… so for this sketch I thought it would be fun to try thinking of dinosaurs as birds.

inktober-15th_hocker

I’m going to have to revisit this concept again sometime, because it was a fun illustrative challenge to take what I know about drawing birds and overlay it on what (little) I know about drawing dinosaurs.

 

Inktober

I’ve tried to take up daily-art challenges before, and always fizzled after about a week. But something about the “Inktober” challenge that I read about in the most recent Guild of Natural Science Illustrators newsletter made me think, that’s achievable.

The basic assignment is to create one ink drawing per day for the month of October. Prompts are provided. The GNSI-related ones all focus, of course, on science subjects. But I did a little research and found that the broader challenge, posted at inktober.com, has another prompt list that’s very open-ended.

So I copied both prompt lists, and got to work. Here are the results so far; I’ll post the rest as I do them.

October 1: GNSI #1 was “botanical.” I was sketching with my friend Carole that day. She decided to try the prompt too. We went outside at her house; she picked a fireweed stalk and I picked a grass stem and a rush stem. Back inside, I opened up my big sketchbook, borrowed a hand lens from Carole, and did a quick ink comparison study.

inktober1_hocker

October 2: I decided I want to be able to tape the Inktober drawings up as I complete them, building a kind of progressive mosaic. So I broke out a package of blank 3X5 cards to use for the rest of the month.

Carole and I had had a conversation about drawing horses the previous day, so I thought I would give it a try (haven’t drawn a horse for years). It fit just fine with the GNSI prompt for that day, “mammal.”

inktober2_hocker

October 3: New realization: if this is going to be a challenge, I need to take a different approach. The first drawings were pretty much exactly what I’m comfortable with: tidy and realistic. But comfort is not where I want to be. Hence new parameters:

  • Push the dark values (I have a tendency to stay very light)
  • PLAY! Get creative, quirky, surreal. Have fun.

So here’s my response to the GNSI day-three prompt “tidal.” I’m fascinated by the way the tide will sometimes rise so gently that it lifts an empty clam shell like a boat. In time, waves tilt it just enough so the edge dips under, and it fills with water and flutters to the sand below.

inktober3_hocker

October 4: The inktober.com prompt is “freeze.” Here is the pattern formed by early morning frost on the very dusty back window of our truck.

inktober4_hocker

I felt it was fantastical enough to count as creative and surreal.

October 5: GNSI prompt is “airborne.” I stared at the 3X5 card for a while, tumbling the word in my mind but trying not to clutch at obvious straws–birds, dandelion seeds, insects. A winged shrimp fluttered into my musings. I drew it. It needed something large above it–a curved line became a rattlesnake with wings. The snake needed something to chase. And so on.

inktober5_hocker

October 6: I put off the drawing until late in the evening; needed something quick. Inktober.com prompt for the day is “husky.” I challenged myself here to draw a husky quickly, with simple shapes, and without looking at any pictures.

inktober6_hocker

October 7: Inktober.com prompt is “enchanted,” and GNSI prompt is “fish.” OK, I can pack both into one drawing.

inktober7_hocker