Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Diamonds in the Rough

Here is the finished version of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. This is a 9"x12" scratchboard. I think, after doing all those scales, I may not complain about bird feathers too much.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

WIP - Rattlesnake

base layer
In the few weeks since my last post, I had the opportunity to visit the local wildlife hospital and rehabilitation facility, called The Wildlife Center for their annual open house. They had many of their educational animals (the ones that cannot be released back to the wild) out, and I got many great photos of several owls, an osprey and a peregrine falcon. But my favorite photo of the day came from the snake demonstration. We got to see several types of snakes, like corn snakes, bull snakes, and, of course, the diamondback and prairie rattlesnakes.

detail added to the head
The rattlers were kept in boxes with clear fronts so we could see them. This one I am drawing would get very upset any time someone walked near him, apparently because snakes' eyesight is based on movement, and spent most of the demonstration in this pose.

I find I can get a bit impatient when I have to draw large areas of the same thing. This goes for fur to some extent but I knew these scales would drive me crazy. So I took the fiberglass brush and marked in where all the scales will go. Since taking the first photo, I blacked in most of the left side and re-did it (this was the last part I worked on, so I was rushing too much instead of paying attention to where the scales should really be). Next, I took my new really sharp knife - I'm going to do a post soon on all my new tools - and started detailing the scales on the head. I'm using a diluted ink wash on each scale followed by additional scratching of highlights on top. In the second photo, the head is nearly finished.

I know this drawing will take a long time given its tedious nature and large size (9"x12"), but I am enjoying working on it and I know it will be worth it in the end.