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Sunday, August 21, 2016

An excursion to the Natural History Museum in LA to see the Pterosaur exhibit.  Since I draw dragons, this is an excellent opportunity to see how Pterosaurs flew.  Unfortunately the exhibit was so dark, it was hard to sketch or see the detail better.  I think they dim the lights so low that it makes it hard for photography~but makes it difficult for sketching as well.  I was fascinated with the silohuettes of the bones~such interesting and terrific designs.  Would be awesome to use a brush to paint these in~but museums are getting more strict in that most will not let you paint anymore near the exhibits.  So I always bring my pencils and Faber Castell brushpens.  These were sketched with a pencil that I thought is no longer made~Verithins (made by Berol, which is a Prismacolor pencil).  Verithins are a smaller point, and not as fragile as the modern Prismas.  They can take pressure and because of their point size, can handle finer details and more pressure then the Prismas.  Prismas have a tendency to crumble, but the Verithins don't.  We used to use some of them in Animation when 2D was still being done, but these days, I have to buy them online wherever I can find them.  Recently, I just found out that the black Verithins are still being manufactured in Mexico.  Just bought two boxes for the Sprites series I am working on.  I just met up with my friend John Quinn of Disney Consumer Products and he gave me several boxes of them that were dumped at work.  So now I don't have to buy online anymore!  :)  Thanks, John!!
I started off with the Pterosaur exhibit first, then proceeded to my favorite section~the Age of Mammals.  It blows my mind to think that many of these large animals lived here~right in California~and that we had the American Lion, which was a third bigger then the African Lion.  I drew a lot that day, and my brain was fried by the time I got to the Lions.  Check out the progression of skill:  Pterosaurs, roughly drawn in semi darkness, had lunch, blood sugar went up, here I get the cleanest drawings in the Dinosaur Hall, then my brain gets tired and the two last pages, the sketches get looser.  I've got eye and brain fatigue.
Which is frustrating since we finally get to the Big Cats and my brain is fried!  I don't know what it is~when I get to the Big Cats, the Lions, the Sabors, I get teary eyed.  They are my absolute favorite.  All curves and tapers.  Beautiful inside and out.  All paws and teeth.  Out of all the bones I've ever sketched, the prehistoric mammals, esp. the Big Cats grab my imagination; they are so majestic and are the epitome of incredible design.

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