Saturday, July 9, 2011

Indiana Dunes

     Seeing as how I am pursuing natural science illustration, I think it's important to research the habitats of some of the animals I will be illustrating.   Over the past few weeks I have been visiting all the areas of the Indiana Dunes.  With my camera and a bottle of water I set out to take reference pictures, learn, and exercise.
     The first day, I went with my son to the State Park area and visited the Nature Center.  He loved it there, especially the bird viewing room.  The room had windows for walls on three sides.  Outside, bird feeders littered the immediate area where the tree line began.  We saw several types of birds from the order Apodiformes, Piciformes, and Passeriformes.  Present were Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, and a few Goldfinch.  Fox and Red Squirrels also added to the busy life around the feeders.
     Eventually, we went for a hike around the marsh and stopped at the bird observatory.  It took a little while to get started because little Aaron insisted the forest reminded him of a Scooby-Doo episode.  It didn't help that he had a conversation with the young lady working at the Nature Center about the cartoon.  Needless to say, with periodic stops to check for "the woodsman," we endured about a two hour walk(an hour and a half of which I carried the little guy).  Toward the end we heard several Pileated Woodpeckers and enjoyed observing one as it worked.
     On one of the trips, I took my brother along to Cowles Bog.  I haven't been everywhere yet but this trail is one of my favorites.  I say this despite the experience.  See when a White Tale doe is blocking the way out and becomes mad that we are interfering with her eating, the atmosphere gets a little tense.  Also, I failed to mention that not too long before, tornado sirens filled the air.  Maybe I didn't pick the smartest time to go out but I definitely will do it again.  The rain provided a nice relief to the strenuous hike.
     I did manage to snap several pictures during the rainy hike of a few deer and a northern leopard frog.  Surely a better camera would have made for some quality photos but I'm an Illustrator not Photographer.  I can't afford to have my own photos show me up.
     The trips are well worth it if you are a nature lover and the staff at the Nature and Visitor Centers are very kind and informative.  Granted, I finish some current work soon, I plan to visit the Dunes many more times ahead.  Painting trips are next on my list and anyone is welcome to join me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Animation Short W.I.P.

In preperation for upcoming programs, I have been studying when time permits on the fantastic universe of animation.  Here is a very rough practice short to demonstrate a walk cycle, movement speeds, and the need to paint in layers.
This particular wip has been drawn traditionally on newspad for the grainy effect.  Photoshop painting has been added in the more finished areas.  The video was created using the animation feature in Adobe Photoshop.  A total of 133 frames were used at various delay times.