Hand-drawn in pen and ink on 90gram vellum and digitally painted in Gimp. The original, stippled illustration is approximately 5 inches by seven.
I received a beautiful compact moleskin sketchbook last christmas, and at only 5 by 8 inches it’s greatly enhanced my productivity. Almost without exception, every sketch that has gone on to bristol board, vellum, or computer had started as an exercise in which I add random lines to a blank page and then attempt to perceive the image that is trying to come out.
This particular pencil sketch was without reference, and when I sought reference before inking, I was sort of weirded out by how closely I had already gotten the details. Condors have not been on my mind, at least not my conscious mind. I guess that’s what I get out of the exercise: a glimpse into my own wetware.
One detail that I haven’t been able to find reference for is the opened beak, but in a more restive position California condors are gifted with a most Simpsons-like overbite and great rolls of double and treble chins, so I took a chance, thinking it also emphasizes the dinosaur-like nature of this rare bird.
I have already promised my muse that this illustration will be painted in honest-to-goodness watercolor, but all proceeds from the sale of this initial card offering will go to the The Audubon Society.