Sabertooth Diaries 5: concepts you will not see in the book
When you start working in a book like “Sabertooth” you see it as a sort of limitless box where you will be able to put all your ideas on the subject matter. But as the project takes shape (and especially when the deadlines begin to loom in the horizon), you realize that many of your concepts will not find a place in the finished book. In fact, you may realize that MOST of your ideas will be left out!
In my case, a good many concepts never went beyond the stage of a crude pencil sketch. It doesn’t mean they won’t go beyond that stage: I expect to find them a home in some future projects, and it is my experience that a sketch may find its opportunity many years after its initial inception. Many of the illustrations that you will see in “Sabertooth” derive from discarded sketches originally intended for “The Big Cats and their Fossil Relatives” or other projects from the last years.
Now let me share with you a few of those concepts that didn’t make it to the book. Between them they span almost 20 years in total, but at some point I seriously considered to make each of them into a finished piece for the book.
1.-Here is a violent scene showing Barbourofelis as it gets ready to dispatch a hapless Syntethoceras.
2.-Here is a quick study of Megantereon leaping from behind some branches in pursuit of some unseen prey animal.
3.- Some more violence here: a scene based on the famous fossil skull of Nimravus with a wound apparently inflicted by the saber of a bad-tempered Eusmilus. I had to manipulate clay models of both skulls in my hands until I managed to position the saber of Eusmilus in the right angle to inflict a wound like the one seen in the fossil. And then the difficult part was to arrange the rest of the bodies of both animals (at least the front part of them) to fit with the relative positions of their skulls.
4.-Finally, here is a scene with a pair of Smilodon emerging from among the branches of a fallen tree as they stalk their prey.