I have learned two things. First of all, I have evidentally lost any fear whatsoever of drawing in public. They may not be good drawings--I've gotten much better with digital stylus than with pencil these days, and I hope someday they invent a portable laptop for sketching--but I can have small children hanging over me shrieking like enraged howler monkeys, and it doesn't faze me. I am Zen.
Secondly, while I am a pleasant, congenial, mild-mannered soul in person, quite happy to talk about drawing with random passers-by who ask, if you hand a snot-nosed kiddy a cheap disposable camera with flash and they start using it in the nocturnal display, in violation of all the "No Flash Photography!" signs, sending Indonesian flying foxes flapping away from the light in startled dismay, giving the slow loris a headache, and not incidentally, blinding me, I will briefly channel Vlad the Impaler.
It occurs to me--these photos were all taken by me, and for ease of web-viewing, have been cut down considerably. I know we've got a bunch of artists here, so if any of you see a photo that you're dying to use for reference, or really want to see some more shots of any of these beasts, again, for a painting or something, drop me a line and I'd be happy to send you a full-size version. Just don't copy it hair for hair, because I might copy one hair for hair sometime, and wouldn't that be embarassing?
This cute little guy is an Asian Tri-Colored Squirrel. He looks like an ordinary garden variety squirrel, but he's black, orange, and white, mottling to gray over the cheeks. I got a bunch of shots of him. He liked to pose.
This tapir is not dead. I have a dozen photos of him and his napping buddy, and they look like Death Comes To Tapirtown, but they're really just taking a nap. I had to get a shot of that grin. I don't know what he's dreaming about, and I don't wanna know.
The Asian small-clawed otters move around so fast that I have a bunch of photos of otter faces surrounded by otter-colored blurs. And they stink like dead fish, rotten straw, and otter poo. And one is a compulsive masturbator. But goddamn, they're cute.
Awww. I have days like that, too.
This lynx was attacking the glass when I walked up, with that splay-pawed, wild-eyed look familiar to all cat-owners that says "I see something small and wiggly and I must have it." In this case, the small wiggly object was a small child, but I assume the principle's the same. The lynx eventually sulked off, deprived of a toy, and began grooming. The photo of this is originally big enough to see all the little bristly bits on his tongue. If I ever wanna paint a lynx tongue, I am set.
The wolverine exhibit's huge and has three of the friskiest, cuddliest looking Gulo gulo to ever rip the arm off a careless bystander. I went through at least 20 photos on these guys. Some of 'em are pretty good, but the chickenwire over the light source cast some pretty funky shadows on some of 'em.
The coppery ears on these wolves were really cool. I like the pose and the setting, although I'd want to add a lot to the left--maybe I'll do some straight wildlife art sometime. Wolves sell like nothing short of foxes, god knows.
This bactrian camel knows he's beautiful. I got a dozen mug-shots of the guy while dancing around in what I hoped was outside of spitting distance. I may have to do a portrait of a camelhead--the fur photographed so beautifully in some shots that I don't care that a camel portrait will languish unsold in my closet until after my death.
A takin! Takins are a yakky sort've beast, very solid looking, one of the breeding programs run at the Minnesota Zoo. Another one I've always had a vague desire to paint.
I have a bunch more, but a lot of them are birds and dozens of repetitions of the beasties pictured, so I won't tax you. But it was a good day. I had fun.