Sunday, May 17, 2009

Animating Nature

As a nature artist I have a much different artistic education than most in the field.  I was trained to and continue to work making animated films. In animation you learn how to watch the movement, weight and balance of your subject matter. There is a lot to learn about any animal just by its manerisms and movements.  Sometimes when I'm in the field I will sketch and then record some footage.  If I can't draw from life I would rather draw from footage than a photograph. I have always been captivated by large birds.  Over a few visits at the La Zoo I did these sketches and and then from footage animated this sequence with pen and water color.

The cassowary is native to New Giunea and its surrounding islands and is also found in parts of Australia. There are several anatomical anomalies which set the cassowary apart from other birds. First their feathers look like thick pointy hair which consists of a shaft with loose barbules. Second, protruding out of their head is a large crest called a casque. But the strangest feature is the dagger shaped inner toe.

Supposedly according to some naturalists this sharp claw is used for defense and can easily eviscerate it's enemies.


  1. Ok - this is just too cool! What a unique background you have. I've always loved animation -- all that drawing you get to do! :) What a great way to observe nature and movement, etc. Thanks for posting!

  2. Love the explanation of your method and background, as well as things I never knew about cassowaries! I like big birds, too...he's a beauty!

  3. Love this and animation...great post

  4. I enjoyed seeing the studies and then the animation both. The animation was wonderful because I got a real sense of the way the cassowary looks and moves in space, the way he places his feet and the weight of his body. You are incredibly talented!


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