Lessons from feline violence

Out in the wild, the big cats spend most of their time just resting, and it is only on rare occasions that one gets a glimpse of their full potential for explosive action. And yet it is those brief moments that their whole structure is designed for. When I sit at my drawing table conceiving an action scene, as in the case of my illustration of two fighting Barbourofelis, I try to get all the details of the action right, and I use my memory and all the reference material available to represent the conflict taking place.

This reconstruction of two Barbourofelis fighting over a kill was an attempt to portray sudden action
escena-barbourofelis-1-low-res

But last summer in Botswana we had a totally unexpected opportunity to see what a big cat fight really looks like. I referred to that episode in a previous post, but there is so much more about those amazing moments. One amazing aspect which unfortunately you cannot show in a painting is sound: the animals are impressively loud, and you don’t just hear the sound, it really gets to your guts. Another important factor is speed (it all happened in less than 5 seconds) but that is also impossible to show in a static image, even if it can be implied. There is a lot of other elements that can indeed be represented through drawing and painting, and they take a good deal of study to comprehend. It is a good thing that we can bring back our pictures and videos in order to elaborate an experience that struck us like lightning and will stay with us while we live.

Here is a picture showing one particular moment of the lioness’ hair-rising charge on the male
lion-fight-1-low-res

And here is a sketch showing a detail of this same conflict
furious lioness 7

Watch this video showing a few of the many highlights of our trip:

Posted on 16/11/2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I always, always enjoy your artwork Mr. Anton, your paleoart is fantastic! Really love your fossil mammals, especially your Sabertooths! Your artwork overall has helped me gain more of an interest in Sabertooth carnivores, I also have your “Big Cats, and their Fossil Relatives” volume, and I just purchased your “Sabertooth” book on Amazon. I’m anxious as well for your African Cats volume. Just wanted you know how much I really like your work!

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