Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Drawing Bones

image courtesy University of Washington

Last night I noticed Dragonstar was working on a sketch of a cat skeleton.  She was using an online photograph as her model.  The image was either an actual skeleton or a realistic recreation.  At the time I wandered by, she was drawing a foreleg.

Some time ago she had explained to me how an understanding of cat anatomy helped her to draw better dragons.  For example, she'd pointed out how the bones of a cat's hind legs are set at acute angles, even when the animal is standing up, a trait shared by her dragons.

If you want to draw fantasy creatures that look like they could actually exist, it helps to know how real animals are put together, she told me.


She usually wears headphones when she works. Often she's listening to Celtic tunes on Pandora. Tunes are not the same as songs. Songs have lyrics.  Lyrics can be distracting, depending on what you're doing.  Tunes -- instrumentals -- tend to stay out of the way.  But they are very much heard.  At one point yesterday  she pulled off the headphones and raced upstairs, where a moment later I could hear the trill of her pennywhistle.  Apparently Pandora had just played a tune she'd been learning, with a particular passage that had been giving her trouble, and she wanted to commit what she'd just heard to memory before it got away from her.

A few minutes later she was back at her tablet, drawing bones.

I love unschooling.

Update: A couple days after I wrote this, D explained to me that the smaller the animal, the more angeled that back leg joint will be.  Which means you can judge the size of her dragons by the set of the back leg.  The wider the angle, the bigger the dragon.  

I.  Love.  Unschooling.

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