|"Arctic Soldiers" 12"x16" scratchboard and ink|
The musk ox is a phenomenal creature, perfectly adapted to living in the harsh Arctic year-round. Their dense fur traps heat and blocks the wind. Their native range is northern Canada and Greenland, but they have been introduced into parts of Alaska, Russia, and Scandanavia. Musk oxen are part of the Bovidae family, making them related to bison, buffalo, sheep, and goats.
During the rut, males excrete a strong, musky odor to attract females. This, of course, is their namesake. Males butt heads to determine dominance and mating rights. Dominant males will make off with a harem of females, while the subordinate males will spend mating season alone or in bachelor herds. After mating season is over, herds recombine for the winter.
For this drawing, I used a large clayboard, which I airbrushed with black ink to create the background shadows and basic ox shape. I then went in with a paintbrush to paint the details of the animals. I used the fiberglass brush to scratch the fur, face, and snow details. Photo references from the USFWS (public domain).