Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sketchbook: Birds Of The Natural History Museum

  Attending New Designers 2016 yesterday, I had arrived in London a few hours early to get the most out of my visit to the capital. One thing I decided to do, as I had brought my sketchbook, was to investigate the Natrual History Museum. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I was keen on drawing some birds for a change of pace, fortunately the museum has quite a nice collection of  them. And while the current display wasn't as impressive as a previous year's exhibition showcasing a display of around 100 taxidermied hummingbirds in flight,

  Granted these aren't as finely tuned as my previous drawings as I only had an hour or so and I wanted to focus on body shapes or profiles rather than fine detail drawings, but these sketches did give me insight into these animals, who all share common anatomical features that evolved with the express purpose to maximise their flight capabilities.

  I also took time to investigate how wings work, as it is something I want to improve on. Fortunately one of the museum's longstanding displays shows how a bird's feathers and muscle connect to the bone. And I was able to work out the primary shapes that are assembled to make wings in this case. There's still some variation to investigate this is a foundation, as wings - be they bat, bird or whatever other animal - are usually a form of arm in some shape or form.

  Stellar's Sea Eagle, a bird of prey found in Northeastern Asia was the crown of my visit. Asian hunter of the sky, as can be seen in comparison to the more familiar dodo, and the budgie-sized Ou, is enormous! A giant of the eagle world that took my breath away with its massive talons and grand wingspan.

  These photographs taken of the way bird wings are constructed were particularly inspiring. And I think they could go a long way to improving my anatomical understanding when it comes to drawing and designing wings.

Sitting in the same exhibit as other great birds, the humble tawny owl.

  Outside the bird exhibit, the Natural History Museum has a beautiful display of sea-monster fossils, most prominently the Pliesiosaur, and the dolphin-like Icthyosaur. I also took a visit to the dinosaur wing, took some photos but didn't do any sketches as the museum was roughly an hour from closing for the day when I visited.

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