Great Frigate

2010.5.14 Great Frigate

If you love odd looking birds, then the great frigate is your man. The male frigate has a giant red puffy sack on his throat, which he inflates during mating season like a balloon. Actually, a male will inflate the “gular sac” and shake his head vigorously from side to side, attracting the attention of lady birds flying by. Which, in bird speak, is almost the equivalent of a floppy air-man used at car dealerships – doing a crazy air-fueled dance to stop traffic – only to sell himself as a mate and not to sell used cars.

In any case, a truly weirdly wonderful bird.

Emperor Penguin

2010.5.10 Emperor Penguin and chick

I was shying away from drawing a penguin because they are just too damned cute. It’s impossible not to draw a cute penguin. And I am leery of getting to cutesy.

But by this time, the baby vibes were really getting to my pregnant head. We had just crossed over Mother’s Day, and I was secretly smiling to myself that I was a mommy-to-be (but not telling anyone). So I drew this mommy & baby adorableness the day after Mother’s Day as an homage to mother’s love.

I know, it’s “aw” inducing, isn’t it?

California Osprey



One of my favorites from the year. This one just works. Great, powerful profile, such fun little feathers to draw, and I like the simple elegant composition.

I used the brush tip pens, which I completely fell in love with through this bird project. I also used colored pencil. Another proud California bird.

Andean Condor



Not one of my favorites, but great fun to examine the wrinkles on his head & neck. I think I drew this one at 1am, so if it seems a bit rushed, it is.

Peregrine Falcon



The peregrine falcon is one of my favorites. I love the profile, the stateliness of his brow.

Plus, it’s a California bird and I am a proud coast-hugger. My state is the best, therefore all our animals are also the best. Well, at the very least, they are the most diverse in our nation. This is true: California is a biological “hot-spot” of diversity, because we have so many different climates and eco-systems. So our state has, if not the BEST of every kind of animal, then at least more kinds of animals than yours does. My state is awesome. Not that yours isn’t great, too. But mine is clearly better. At least bio-diversically, it is. (Yup, that’s totally a word. And I did not just make it up. OK, maybe a little, I did.)

Unfortunately, the scan makes the falcon look very faded. He’s in graphite, which doesn’t scan well. It always looks too, well, grey. And he looks more worried than noble. ergh.