Dem bones

Our Urban Sketchers Montreal group usually meets once a year at McGill’s Redpath Museum to sketch the dinosaurs, taxidermy animals, shells and assorted samples in their natural history collections. I often think I’m going to draw something else, but when I get there I go no further than the dinosaurs and skeletons. Today I wasn’t in the mood to use a pen or pencil — I went directly to brush silhouettes. I was working in a Pentallic sketch book which has great watercolour paper and is perfect for this type of loaded brush work. I think the key to having this work successfully is to always have enough water on your brush, otherwise you end up with dry edges in the middle of an area (which I have sometimes). It’s a great exercise to try because you really have to look at the overall shape of things, as well as the negative spaces, and not worry too much about counting ribs and pointy teeth.



33 Comments on “Dem bones”

  1. dapplegrey says:

    These are wonderful – and HUGE! I’m reading this in the WordPress Reader on my phone, and when I tap on the image to see it individually it appears absolutely colossal, about ten times bigger than the screen, so I’ve been slowly exploring each dinosaur, bone by exquisite watercolour bone, and it’s so exciting! Don’t know if you did this deliberately but it’s fantastic. What a lovely adventure. 🙂


    • Thanks Dapplegrey! I saved these as bigger jpegs today, so I’m glad you like the detail. And glad you were able to make them larger because I’m having some problems in WordPress. They made a new streamlined interface that doesn’t create images that are clickable. But I just read some forums on their support site and figured out how to solve the problem.


      • dapplegrey says:

        Glad you’ve figured out the new system because it baffles me. I’d assumed you’d saved the dinosaurs as a big file size – I didn’t have a choice about what size to view them, they were just gigantic – like dinosaurs are – which made me laugh. I’d been using the old WordPress admin dashboard instead of the old new one (if you see what i mean) because I’m a reactionary old thing, but now that ancient system won’t upload pictures. Most of the time I use the Android app on my phone which lets you select image size really easily. Hey ho!


  2. Dee says:

    Love the added touch of color. Otherwise bones get a tad boring.


  3. Barbara Beynon says:

    Like these a lot. Direct painting in so free, especially with the color, I think. I’m inspired to go to our natural history museum and look at bones more closely. Our Journey Daybook group has gone there several times but I’ve never thought of doing bones.


  4. Lee Kline says:

    I imagine you drew an interested crowd. Perhaps you inspired some kid to try what you were doing. Lovely sketches.


  5. These are fantastic, Shari! The little adds of color are brilliant and really add interest that brings these to life! Very inspiring! 😃😃


  6. Really stunning treatment of a complicated subject! Fantastic!


  7. tmikeporter says:

    James Gurney would like this; nicely done!


  8. joantav says:

    These are wonderful! I love the negative painting and the unique colors you chose. Love these!


  9. I clicked them on my laptop and they are Nice and Big… and beautiful!!!


  10. Janine says:

    If I may ask, how did you get those edges so nice and sharp? 🙂


  11. Arti mader says:

    I’m not an artist, but I enjoy reading the “technical” info you share so generously. The dino skeletons proved to me that you can make anything that you paint more interesting because of the way you see it. I just love dem bones!


  12. These are amazing watercolor sketches. I love the detail. Since no pencil was used, did you just start dance your way across the page with your wet paint brush? I would be afraid to try this one.


    • Thanks Victoria. That’s pretty much exactly what I did — a little dance with the brush. And I was commenting to Arti, also in the comments, that I didn’t really think about what I was doing which I should probably do more often.


  13. Joan says:

    What a happy accident that Cobalt Teal turned out to be. The use of it in Dem Bones is lovely!


  14. Chris Rusk says:

    Hey Shari
    I really like how paint forces a person to show ‘form’. Your choice of colours is so refreshing – it adds so much more interest to each skeleton.

    Had I attempted to sketch the same subjects in pencil, I think everything would have been delineated to the point of becoming a very 2D monotone.

    Your choice of medium and the way you use it, makes all the difference – great & interesting to view, as always. C


  15. […] a perfect rendering – but that’s not the spirit of an urban sketchers meet up, chatting with friends and sketching for […]


  16. Susanne says:

    These are fantastic!!!


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