Great schools are made up of great teachers, and one of them is Gary Geraths
, who teaches animal drawing at Otis College of Art and Design
in Los Angeles. He has brought in camels (and belly dancers) to his class so that students can draw them directly from life.
Understanding what's going on beneath the surface is not always obvious, so Gary does demonstration drawings of the skeleton and the surface features.
He brings the students to the Page Museum
, where they can sketch from articulated skeletons of animals that fell into the nearby La Brea Tar Pits.
Gary works with students of all ages, and he has taught other things, like rock climbing.
His knowledge of animals is extensive, and his demos cover sea creatures and invertebrates.
For students wishing to get jobs in animation or illustration, having a deep knowledge of animal drawing is extremely valuable, and a good way to set your portfolio apart from the competition.
Here's a video
of Gary's animal drawing in action.
Because of the logistics of bringing in live animals, or bringing students on field trips, there aren't many schools who can offer such a thorough study of animals as Otis does, and there aren't many teachers like Gary.
|James Gurney visits Gary Geraths (center) and Bill Eckert at Otis in 2010|
Here is a new piece done in my new style.
December 14th is Monkey Day. The origin behind Monkey Day varies depending on who you ask, but regardless, it is internationally celebrated today, especially to raise awareness for primates and everything primate-related. So in honor of Monkey Day, here are some facts you may or may not know about these creatures.
Headline image credit: Berber monkeys. Public domain via Pixabay.
The post A few things to know about monkeys appeared first on OUPblog.
Middle Grade Readers
1) One Dog and His Boy
- Written by Eva Ibbotson, Published by Scholastic Inc. New York, NY 2014. Hal is just an ordinary kid with a large dream of owning a dog. On his birthday Hal is allowed to choose a pet that is when Fleck becomes a part of his life and an adventure begins after Hal finds him gone on Monday. Together with a girl named Pippa Hal rescues Fleck and running away is his only option, made trickier when Pippa announces that she and the other dogs want to come along. It not only teaches your children about the power of friendship and love but it takes them on a journey through life. I highly recommend this book for your middle graders. Get out and pick up a copy today.
2) The Path of Names
- Written by Ari Goelman, Published by Scholastic Inc. New York, NY 2013. Dahlia Sherman loves magic tricks, math and video games. She is not so found of campfire songs or lighting storms or mean girls her age. When she is placed in a sleeping camp strange things start happening like ghosts of little girls and an ancient maze guarded by a mysteries caretaker. This books take her on a journey through the past to discover what all this means. It is a mystery based on ancient Jewish scripture that is much better suited for your older middle grader. The book is a fun read and has a very strong connection to Jewish traditions and mystical culture.
My friend David Starrett is the son of Charlie Starrett, the great cowboy actor. A few years ago I sketched David and one of his dad's old holsters.
And that's David's loyal dog Randy, a sweet bear of a dog. Jeanette and I got to take Randy on a walk around the block. Randy passed on last week, so so we send our sympathies to David on the loss of his best friend.
I have fantastic news! I am now represented by Justin Rucker of Shannon Associates! I'm thrilled to be part of such a wonderful agency. I have been a fan of their artists for a long time and am proud to be included amongst such talented people. I'm looking forward to a long and successful partnership.
This has been a long journey for me and I'm so happy to have reached this goal. Now on to the next one.
And because every post should include art, here is a completely unrelated sketch.
I've been busy. I've even gone on a couple of short trips recently, to get things in order and to meet up with family. So I'm a bit behind ... the slow internet connection doesn't help much but it seems to be behaving today, so am taking advantage and posting a few more pages from the sketchbook ...
This (very sketchy) illustration was based on Aesop's Fable, The Crow and the Pitcher. The crow is standing on a little booklet that tells you the story but if you'd like to read one of the (many) versions online, you can find it here.
And here are some 3D pieces I've worked on, a woven case for the ketupat (Malaysian rice is cooked in this for festive ocassions, read more here), and some metal-work that I thoroughly enjoyed. Might make a pendant out of one -- or all -- of those.
Yes, the theme for the moment is shoes. Well, sort of. More on that later. Meanwhile, have a fantastic week.
I'll be posting the final "I Choose" free printable next Saturday, and that will be available (along with the previous 11 from 2014) till the end of December to all subscribers of the Floating Lemons monthly newsletter. After which it will be gone, and I'll be thinking up something new for you for 2015. If you'd like to sign up for the newsletter and the free printables, just click here.
Topic - Wolves
A fun topic but my time is short today, so here's a quick grab.
Topic - kangaroos
Today was another one of those days I wanted to keep my sketchbook to myself. This challenge has been both good and bad. On the one hand it has got me practicing drawing a lot more consistently, but on the other it has obliged me to show drawings I'm not exactly proud of. I do enjoy looking at the unedited sketchbooks of other artists though, so here's to the spirit of openness.
(Ken Hultgren studies are noted, otherwise they were from photo reference.)
Topic - crustaceans
The past few days I've tried to go beyond my original challenge and show more finished illustrations instead of just studies. With all the visual research I've done the last month I'm starting to get quite a few fun ideas. I thought it would be more interesting to see the results of my research rather than the research itself. I was hoping to show another finished piece today but I underestimated how hard it is to come up with something finished every day. Anyway I hope you find something of value in seeing my studies.
topic - Tyrannosaurus rexTo feather or not to feather? I heard in a radio show that more has been learned about dinosaurs -since- the film Jurassic Park than in all the time before the film! The bottom image shows my preliminary studies, mostly from the above mentioned film, and from Walking with Dinosaurs the puppet show. The uppermost image was a test to see what I'd learned from the reference material.
Illustrator Sam Usher burst onto the scene two years ago with with a riot of colour and pattern in Can You See Sassoon?, which was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2013. When your first book gets flagged up as a potential prize winner, there is some expectation and anticipation when it comes to future publications.
More than two years after Can You See Sassoon? was published, Usher is back, and like all good things, it has been worth the wait.
Snow by Sam Usher celebrates that wonderfully exciting feeling in the pit of your stomach when you open your eyes in the morning, draw back the curtains and… your world has been transformed by a deep blanket of snow. The potential for play, the white world waiting to be explored, the possibility to really make your own mark….ahh! Just how quickly can you get out there to delight in at all?
A young boy zooms through getting ready, frustrated by the time it takes his Grandfather to join him. Will it be worth the wait for other kids are already out there leaving footprints everywhere?
A whole lot of snowballs and a little bit of childhood magic later, Grandpa and child agree “some things are definitely worth waiting for“. With Snow, I couldn’t agree more.
Usher’s illustrations are full of life and energy; there’s a comfortable looseness about them, and I cannot help but draw comparisons (in the best possible way) with Quentin Blake. Perhaps it is because the Grandfather in this story physically reminds me of Blake, with his bald pate and avuncular manner. But it’s also in the noses, the wonky fingers, the hand gestures and I love this stylistic echo. Indeed I get a real kick from these potentially vulnerable pen lines that speak to me of a real person, drawing a line that connects creator, story, reader and listener together.
With another contender for my favourite page turn of the year, showing how an almost plain white page can produce both gasps and a burst of warm delight, Snow is a wintry classic that will bring much delight and joy, however long you have to wait for it.
Alas weather in our part of the world has been unseasonally warm so I don’t hold out much hope of snow any time this year. Ever the optimist, I instead made some snow to play with in the warmth of our kitchen.
Snow dough is a moldable yet friable substance akin to commercially available ‘moon sand’, made out of corn flour (corn starch) and oil. We mixed about one part sunflower oil to four parts corn flour, and just for good measure added in a few drops of peppermint essential oil so that our snow dough smelt like Christmas candy.
I smoothed out the snow dough to recreate that blissful untouched vista of snow, and brought out a load of playmobil people and plastic animals (matching those in the book where possible). A small pot of glitter, for pinching and casting over the scene to add a little extra sparkle completed the invitation to play.
Lots of tracks in the snow were made, and because the snow dough is moldable, caches of snowballs and even an igloo were also prepared.
The snow dough has a wonderful crunch to it when you mold it – satisfyingly just like real snow!
Cake and hot chocolate completed our afternoon playing in the “snow”.
Whilst playing in the snow we listened to:
Dean Martin sing Let it Snow!
Snow Day by Zak Morgan – we really love this one!
Snow Day Dance by The Fuzzy Lemons
Creating your own snowstorm at home. Inspired by the ‘Snowstorm in China’ magic trick (click here to see in action – I’m assuming shiny trousers are optional), you – and the kids – could tear up large quantities of white tissue paper and then use fans to get the “snow” falling in your home.
Using a jam jar to male a snow globe. I particularly like this tutorial on Our Best Bites.
Researching how to make the best hot chocolate. Why not make a “science lab” with different types of milk, cocoa vs hot chocolate powder vs melted chocolate, optional extras like marshmallows or flaked chocolate and investigate different ways of making this wintry drink; kids will no doubt enjoy coming up with their own recipes. Here’s a comparison of different recipes to get you started.
Other activities which could work well alongside reading Snow include:
I know at least one of my readers has already got snow this November (Hello Donna!), but has anyone else had the chance to play in snow yet this year? Or are you heading into Summer?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Snow from the publisher.
I've been busy at college. Started learning metalwork recently and it's wonderfully fascinating. I've done a couple of rough, small pieces and will show them off soon. Meanwhile I've managed a few doodles when time permits, adding colour to my Float Like A Balloon drawing and sketching a few ravens for fun, all in my moleskine blank book ...
So yes, I'm still fascinated by the black birds and their mythologies and fables, so will pursue that further whenever I find spare moments to do so. Right now I'm occupied with filling in college sketchbooks and drawing tons of shoes ... so expect to see loads of footwear up here soon.
Wishing you a week full of blessings and lightness. Cheers.
With a humorous voice and multiple anecdotes, Joey, a chocolate Labrador who enjoys digging and escaping beyond his home’s fence, provides an entertaining narration for both children and adults.
Little bee, no swerving from your line when you deliver the goods back home.
A busy place with no door but when you enter you still use your buzzer.
Then back again from flower to flower, collecting the pollen that gives you power.
It’s home again, little bundles carried to feed the Queen
Topic - camels, or The Ships of the desert
Topic - tigers
Well there's no way in the world a day is enough to master the drawing of tigers.. but I feel I've put in a good effort today and inched my way forward.