A shorebirds day

Today is the day of those pesky little creatures that fly every year through the continents… silly behaviour just to annoy 4×4 drivers who happily ride the vast shores, or those creative entrepreneurs who see the void wetlands and see towers of private owners and cascades of money…

Somehow.. there is many people who think like this.

And is for these people that we need one day a year to celebrate the living shorebirds and the places they use to live and raise the future.

Crazy people like me, who love the nature and enjoy all the colours and all the smells (yep all of them), we keep present and take care of the world all year long!

Because if something can be learned from nature is that we all live in this planet, and this planet is all we have.
The ones who didn’t learn to live and let live, go extinct sooner or later…
We must take the lesson of the shorebirds, they are many, they are diverse, and they all share the same shores to feed and live.
How? take a look at this illustration and guess..

One shore, many chances - Skulls and silhouettes of six shorebirds that visit the San Antonio Bay (Rio Negro - Argentina) Click for high resolution .jpg (this image can be use under CC 4 non commercial license, feel free to share and use for educational purposes)

One shore, many chances – Skulls and silhouettes of six shorebirds that visit the San Antonio Bay (Rio Negro – Argentina) Click for high resolution .jpg (this image can be use under CC 4 non commercial license, feel free to share and use for educational purposes)

For more information about this day and shorebirds please contact this blog or search in the web. And for more real hints about what I’m talking about, please shut down your internet device, go outside (the farther, the better!) and be conscious of all your senses! (we haven’t at least 5 for nothing!)
Have a really nice day!

Manuel

Categories: Birds, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

A year full of surprises!

garzas copy

White egrets and skull – Derwent pencils on Kraft – 85×60 cm (one of my rare big format illustrations)

It’s about six months I can’t resume the blog for so many reasons…

Fortunately many of these reasons are good things, like the beginning of my studies at the university, several works in progress and more recently an achievement I expected many years: to become scientific illustrator within the CONICET (National Council for Scientific Research and techniques) wich is the Argentine government agency which directs and co-ordinates most of the scientific and technical research done in universities and institutes.

A lifelong career in the place of my dreams! Drawing for an institute that works in the fields of animal morphology and ecology.

Somehow, I think I could turn this space into a place to transmit this experience .. but for now I can not guarantee the continuity of publications…
In troubled times it is better to take action than sit to writing!

Anyway, for this special day, the World Shorebird’s Day, I will make a second post about a figure that I made early this year, about the San Antonio Bay shorebird assemblage!

Greetings and thanks for visiting this blog despite my absence!

Manuel

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A very busy beginning

I have been postponing my blog activities in favor of some vacations, and the beginning of my new student adventure: Bachelor’s degree on Visual Arts! Hoping to find some place on the graduate world and “papers” to allow me to teach properly.

And speaking of teaching: I´m sailing to a new level of experience in workshops on field sketching.
This time rebooting my last experience (at the World Shorebird’s Day) and improving my methods and objetives. (I’ts too easy to overload a 8 hours workshop hoping to give as much information and tips as possible)

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Poster for my next workshop!

For many reasons,the discipline of scientific illustration catch the attention of many people, and is my deep purpose to finally set a full course to share what I’ve been learning the last years as a student, naturalist and professional.
But, one of my biggest learnings is: not yet, not yet but soon.. I still have lots of things to learn and for appropriately teach scientific illustration I need a well equipped space and tons of resources! So: not yet, but (hopefully) soon..

Well, I hope this year still keep many surprises! See you next time!

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Grand finale for this year!

The best way to end this year in this blog about the drawing of the fossils is with some dinosaur bones!

I have been changing the scope of my posts as much as my interests and experiences in the “real life”..
While I was painting this skull of Rajasaurus narmadensis, lots of thoughts came to me.

I remembered my first steps on blogging and my initial intentions, but at the same time I was thinking about the future: next movings, projects and hopes…

rajasaurus skull crudo

Rajasaurus narmadensis skull, based on sources from around the web

This is the first skull (or bone) I illustrate decently on watercolours . I tried to do this few times in the last year with various results, but this time was different: I performed with no fears, or knots on the stomach, no desperate brushing to rescue the outcome.
Painting this was a pleasure, I knew every next step, the response of the paper to the water, the reach of the brush (a new brush only for watercolour)…

It’s clear that this is only the beginning, and I happily welcome all the new chances awaiting in the next year!

rajasaurus skull web

Rajasaurus skull, with some reconstructed missing parts in grey

Hope you like it and happy new year for everyone! Many thanks for stopping by here!

Cheers😀

Manuel

Categories: Paleoart | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reaching the very tip of the year

An american kestrel, maybe staring back in the year...

An american kestrel (Falco sparverius)

Two weeks to the end of the year and two weeks to the beginning of a new year!

I believe if I start to think all the things I’ve done this year I will fall asleep for three days row!

This year was one for endurance, for patience and for acquiring valuable knowledge in many aspects of my life.

Twelve months more of doing what I like to do in a country in full economic crisis, keeping alive the flame of hope (almost a miracle!).

Yes, I think that I could have done more in this time span, but between the things I’ve learned this year is that each project and each idea has it’s own time, and maybe it’s good to take a little time for seeds so they may grow strong.

The only thing I really regret is that I could not travel as much as I wanted.
I have most of my friends living in cities far away from mine, and we always are telling wishes to gather around some beers, always making plans that vanishes in the lack of funds or time..

I know next year will be different (I hope better) Next year I start a grade on fine arts (a two year pending plan) and the distant chance of a full time scientific illustrator job will get closer to reach a definition for yes or no..

All the forbearance, all the sweat and all the hours drawing like a illuminator locked in the monastery, all gives me golden fruits that I keep for the future.
From the edge of this seat I can see waves of new horizons flowing like a smooth watercolour on a virgin sheet. Waiting any excuse to departure…

But not before look over the shoulder all the way that I left behind.

Hasta la próxima!

Categories: Birds | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Koala portrait

koala web

Can I take a little nap after lunch?

Koalas are creatures somewhat like me in this days, or vice versa… well disposed to nap anytime, with picky taste for food and suffering the heat of the summer.
I found a Koala photo on the image bank of my old computer and can´t stand the chance to try to add a new specie to my drawing list, so here we go! Hope you like it

Categories: Sketchs | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Making the first steps

Cráneo de feto 8 9 m web

Newborn skull with some of the relevant landmarks labeled (in spanish)

Medical illustration is something I didn’t try yet, maybe because most of my clients are paleontologists with no links to medicine and maybe because I don’t know how to approach that world.
Although in the last years I tried a few times draw the human body, my passion is biased to other vertebrates…

A week ago I discovered a new favorite museum at the Hospital Nacional de Clínicas: The Pedro Ara Anatomical Museum. Which houses a vast collection of anatomical preparations in dry and wet techniques, some with historic value due to the date of the specimens (some back to 1920 and two skeletons of natives of more than 500 years old in burial position)
The museum is focused on didactic activities for faculty students and general public, it is open and free all year (which is wonderful!) and for some reason, i find mesmerizing the surreal look of some of the specimens.

I hope this little newborn be a new point to climb and see new horizons.. who knows

What I do know for sure is that I will return to visit that museum and share the results here!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Born to be a Killer

Killer whales are spectacular creatures, they are the largest among his kin: the dolphins. They are smart, with a fancy look, sometimes friendly and capable to eat viciously a great deal of meat! What else you need to fall in love with them?

I’m drawing for some prints on T-shirts based on Patagonian fauna, and on the way I left some unfinished sketches and drawings… this time the post is about an Orcinus orca skull I composed from various sources.

orca craneo boceto web

Orca Skull + hyoides

orca craneo B web

An almost finished skull drawing… I still have to make some changes to get more accurate anatomical details

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Genyodectes, the smiling dinosaur.

Genyodectes serus (Woodward 1901) is a poorly understood dinosaur.

Original plate taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genyodectes#mediaviewer/File:Genyodectes.jpg

Woodward 1901 original plate taken from Wikipedia

I met him while I was working at the Collection of Vertebrate Paleontology in the La Plata Museum.

Luckily, the fossil had been prepared for the study conducted and published by Rauhut (2004) so when I did my duties in the collection (2011-2012), the holotype (and only assigned material) was in excellent condition. A marvelous smile shining on the shelves!

Since then, I wanted to do a portrait of him as those things that are put on the long list “to do”.

Finally this year the inspiration came and a few weeks ago I started the research background and the sketching, to constrain a bit the rush of the creative speculation…

genyodectes2 web

A heavily modified drawing of the skull of Ceratosaurus (Dark area corresponds with Genyodectes remains) Source: Flickr

As you can see … there are not too many barriers to the imagination in this case.. but Genyodectes is very close to Ceratosaurus in dental morphology and some other small details, and both were medium sized theropods.. so cut something here… stretch other there and done: a very conservative skull but not to the boring limit!

genyodectes wip

Intermediate stage in the drawing…

If you are wondering where I got the pattern for the skin … well is based on the skin of my dear “overos” (Tupinambis merianae) which fortunately still can be seen in the countryside or in the mountains near my house.

overo

Picture of one that came as guest to our BBQ last summer.. (a better picture which I used as a reference here)

To end the suspense (and after several hours of drawing and computer) here is my portrait of the mysterious smile that captivated me years ago:

Genyodectes limpio web

Genyodectes serus, the “biter jaw” from patagonia

Categories: Paleoart | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Titan inside all of us..

Atlas is the name of the first cervical vertebrae, because it supports the “globe ” of the head like the primordial titan of the greek mythology.

I’ve been wandering at the hills days ago, with the senses sticked to the ground hoping to find new treasures, and In the middle of this noble quest  (like a lesser Humboldt or D’Orbigny ) I stumble with a solitary vertebrae..

vistas foto web

Indeterminate mammal atlas in anterior, dorsal, posterior and lateral views (scale = 1cm)

… and a solitary vertebrae entails many questions for the curious!

Knowing that I could take good photos of it at home, I grab the fieldbook and my pencil ready to spend a good time sketching the details while cleaning a little the dirt.

atlas 4 web

Anterior view (detail)

atlas 2 web

Posterior view (detail)

atlas 1 limpio web

A: original sketch depicting half sides at the same time (to save time and avoid parallax errors), B: Anterior view mirrored by computer, C: Posterior view also mirrored by computer.

atlas 3 web

Speaking of parallax.. A: Dorsal view sketch as it was done, B: Same sketch rotated 90º to note the false alignment, C: Dorsal view (left side mirrored), D: Dorsal view (right side mirrored), note the vast differences between both sides.

Beyond the fine concave-convex surfaces, there are many things to consider: such as the broken transverse processes  (perhaps by a predator?), or the different colors of the bone (how much time was semi buried?),  which animal belonged? and where are the remainder bones? (essential question if it were a paleontological find!)

Questions like these took away my sleep as a kid, and fill my dreams as an adult. Whether as a naturalist or an artist, looking at the ground and sky with the intensity of a child is the key to life itself!
So, let the kids play in the mud!

atlas 5 web

The inspiring side of the atlas?

  

Categories: Sketchs | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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