Saturday, February 18, 2017

I Draw at Museums, and So Should You!

Hello, All!

I'm glad to see you're all still here. Clearly I need to start posting much more often....

For those who don't know, for almost two years now, I've been spending my Sunday mornings Volunteering at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I'm a Docent, where I do interpretive work in various halls, answering questions, showing people around, and more importantly encouraging people to make their own discoveries and connections from their own observations. It's great fun, very rewarding, and (I think) extremely important work considering the seemingly growing amount of people these days who don't understand how the scientific method works. So I figure if I can help show people how science works, and let them lead their own understanding of it, it will be a more lasting impression than someone simply saying 'you're wrong, this is what it is!'

Anyway, you may be wondering, what the butt does this have to do with Evan's art blog??

Einiosaurus skull sketch by me

Sometimes on Sunday mornings at 9am, the Museum can be pretty empty before people start to trickle in. I'm still stationed in various halls during that time, so what do I do to pass the time?

Sometimes I just really take time with specimens to observe. You'll be surprised that if you spend enough time really looking at something, you'll start to come up with ALL sorts of great questions to look up, even if you're a very knowledgeable person (and if you can't find the answer, then THAT, my friends is how scientific research starts!)

Other times, I take the time to sketch. Often wondering about various things as I do it. Here are just a few of the drawings I've done over the years (as always, click images to enlarge):

Triceratops in the main Foyer, trying not to be attacked by Tyrannosaurus

Sauropods like this Mamenchisaurus have REALLY interesting feet! They are definitely NOT like the over-simplified elephantine feet you often see people depict them as

Often I will try to use mounted skeletons as a starting point and sketch life restorations on top of them. 

Young Tyrannosaurus based one one of the mounts. I added a little tortoise to give it a bit of a story.

Sometimes I'll draw the bones themselves though. Not only does it help to understand the underlying structure of these animals better, but they are filled with all kinds of amazing aesthetically pleasing shapes:

This is the same young Tyrannosaurus the above sketch was made form, just a different angle

Ceratopsians like this Einiosaurus have such cool shapes!

I don't exclusively draw dinosaurs though:

Waterbuck (and the top of a cropped Great Blue Heron's face)

Sometimes I'll even take things I'm looking at and caricature them or just use them as inspiration for my own mind's creations:

Like this Maniraptoran!

I'll try to post more museum sketches as I do them. Museum Drawing is a fun way to work on life drawing skills while also opening your mind to wondering about the natural world. There are infinite questions to ask, and through that combined observation and tactile experience of recording what you see, you never know where you may end up!

Shameless plug time! My activities have been noticed, and I was contacted by my friend and fellow museum volunteer, who runs a website called Pincelbox, a cool new site that helps you find interesting artistic learning events in the area! They asked me if I would be up for developing a class, and so I've reached back to my roots to come up with an event to draw dinosaurs and learn about the very rich (but often overlooked) world of Paleoart in the process! 

Click the image for more information!

The class is being developed to be mindful of people with no artistic or science background, so everyone is welcome! It will be part drawing demonstration, part lecture on history, paleoart theory, and dinosaur anatomy, and mostly hands on drawing time with me giving pointers here and there. It should be fun!

 If it goes well enough I'm hoping to do a series, because there is SO much information on this topic that just can't get crammed into a casual 2 hour class. So don't be shy! This should be a good primer for anyone interested in learning more about how scientists and artists work together to come to the conclusions they do about Dinosaurs and their appearance. You can find all the information you need here.

Until the next time!