Rediscovering AMNH

22 May

I rediscovered the American Museum of Natural History this spring.  The last time I was there, I had to research a project for an undergraduate class — maybe anatomy or zoology — not sure.  Before that I remember several field trips from elementary school.  My visits this spring have been absolutely awesome!

MountainQuailMy reason for exploring AMNH is to study animals for natural science illustration, and to include realistic animals in children’s fiction.  I started with birds and drew mountain quail because a sketching buddy alerted me to the Discovery Room.

Oryx-gazella_GemsbokA second visit included a stint in African Mammals.  I think it took two or three trips to complete the two gemsbok.  Other African antelopes that appeal to me are the nocturnal bongo and the nyala with their extraordinary patterns of vertical stripes on their backs, sides and hindquarters.  Unlike the gemsbok, the bongo and nyala are primarily nocturnal forest dwellers and their horns are spiral, not straight.

It was a real eye opener to discover how different antelopes, horses, cattle and goats are from each other.  I’ll be far more critical of any mammalian characters I draw!

Bubalus-bubalis_Water-BuffaloAfter so much time with African mammals, I was motivated to study Asian antelopes and bovines (cattle, buffalo and oxen).  The water buffalo shown here is my first study.  I knew water buffalo were used as draft animals, but was unprepared for just how massive their legs and joints were compared to antelopes and horses.  Clearly I’m a city girl (lol!).

I hope you enjoyed these research sketches.  Please leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you.

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Adrienne May and WinsomeWays, Inc.
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One Response to “Rediscovering AMNH”


  1. Beetle and Goliath | WinsomeWays Illustration - Thursday,Sep 19, 2013

    […] my friend Barbara, and I’ve also been looking for storybook character ideas.  In an earlier post I included drawings of gemsbok (a kind of gazelle), a water buffalo and mountain quail.  However I […]

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