Big Cat Sketching for Paleoart: 3 steps plus one
Making a lot of quick sketches is an excellent way for you to absorb the shape and structure of animals. Doing it fast enhances your concentration and makes your brain feel that what you are doing has “survival value” and you switch to deep learning mode.
But as a paleoartist you will want to give things a further, more analytical turn. Once you have captured the shape of the animal you are sketching, it is a useful exercise to try and identify the “bone points”, those spots of the animal’s body where the bone comes so close to the skin that you would feel it if you could touch the animal. Once you have located those points, you can draw a quick sketch of the whole skeleton inside the outline of the living animal. I have done this exercise many times, and it makes you ever more familiar with the way soft tissue is arranged around the bony frame. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this concept in order to reconstruct extinct animals from the inside out!
Now here is an example: three steps in the making of a quick sketch of a galloping lioness, and finally an outline drawing of the same animal with the inferred position of the bones inside.
And here is a schematic representation of the “bone points” in a jaguar.
Go get your pencils and practice, it is useful -and a lot of fun!