Illustration Daily – Day 62: Armadillo

In Spanish “armadillo” translates to “little armored one“, and this is no joke. In 2015 in two separate instances, people suffered gunshot wounds after shooting at armadillos. The scutes (or scaled plates) that protect the armadillos from predators also appear to be strong enough to ricochet a bullet. And this marks the end of a month of animals, I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Starting tomorrow the month’s theme will be: Jobs and Occupations.

062Armadillo

Armadillo, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily – Day 61: Stinktier

So many words in German are weirdly literal and “Stinktier” is one of my favorites. As you likely guessed from the illustration, a Stinktier is a skunk, and the word breaks down to “stink animal” when translated. Skunks’ odor is also reflected in their Latin family name: Mephitidae,which means (no surprise) “stink”. But even the English word “skunk” has malodorous origins. Skunk derives from the Algonquian: “squuncke,” which compounds the words for “urinate” and “fox-like animal”. Luckily, you can’t smell an illustration . . . and if you’re even luckier (about 1 in 1000 luckier) you can’t smell skunks at all due to specific anosmia.

061Stinktier

Stinktier, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily – Day 60: Owl

This owl is based on the elf owl, a species that stands only about 5 to 6 inches tall. It’s common knowledge that an owl can rotate their neck almost completely around (about 270 degrees). However, this rotation cuts off the owl’s circulation. To keep their brains from being deprived of oxygen-rich blood the arteries in their neck expand to pool the blood giving them a reservoir to maintain function when their necks are rotated to extreme angles.

060Owl

Owl, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily – Day 59: Gecko

There are approximately 1,500 species of geckos in existence, and this one based on the leopard gecko is about to have dinner. Geckos, of course, have the ability to climb on practically any surface with their specially adapted toes. They also have unique tails that they use for fat storage, balance, camouflage, and as a distraction for predators in a emergency. Because the tail is an extension of the spinal cord, once the gecko separates the tail from its body it can move for up to 30 minutes to entice predators away from the body of the lizard. In 6 to 8 weeks the gecko will fully regrow the tail.

059Gecko

Gecko, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily – Day 58: Pig

This coloration on this little guy is based on the Danish Protest Pig. Pigs don’t really live up to their reputation for being dirty. In fact, like this one, pigs are quite clean. So, it’s no surprise that the phrase “sweating like a pig” is an inaccurate idiom. Pigs don’t really sweat as they have few sweat glands and use mud as a cooling mechanism. On an unrelated note, while I was researching pigs I came across this cool project from Christien Meindertsma called PIG 05049. In it she identifies 187 products that derive a single pig.

058Pig

Pig, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Lion

This one is inspired by Gryffindor lion from Harry Potter. As fantastic as the wizarding world is, last year something pretty amazing happened in the Muggle world. In October two frozen cave lion cubs were found in Siberia. These two lions were frozen for over 12,000 years and have been named Uyan and Dina by researchers. The cave lion went extinct nearly 10,000 years ago and Uyan and Dina will offer researchers a chance to determine how closely this ancient species is related to the modern African lion.

057Lion

Lion, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Goat

Taking from the occult mythology that surrounds the goat to inform this illustration. Goats might been seen as creepy because of their unusual rectangular pupils (only sheep, goats, octopuses, and toads have this shape). The rectangular pupil gives goats improved depth perception and peripheral vision. They can see 320 to 340 degrees, essentially everything but what is directly behind them. This excellent field of vision helps goats evade predators.

056Goat

Goat, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Panda

More cuteness, a red panda holding a stuffed giant panda. Red pandas and giant pandas aren’t related, but they are an example of convergent evolution. Because of the similarity of their environments and diets both red and giant pandas have evolved a false thumb, an extended wrist bone called the radial sesamoid. This “thumb” is used to hold and strip bamboo and to assist in climbing (especially in the red panda).

055Panda

Panda, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Frog

A little bit of ‘The Frog Prince‘ with this one. You know that frogs eat insects, but the way that they swallow their prey is rather unusual. A frog’s tongue is attached differently than human tongue (at the front of the mouth instead of the back). To compensate for this, the frog retracts its eyes into its soft palette to push the food down into their throat.

054Frog

Frog, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Giraffe

A newborn baby giraffe is about 6’5″ and 220 lbs, essentially the size of Usain Bolt after a really big dinner. Usain would have a pretty close race if he tried to take on a giraffe. Bolt has a record-winning top speed of 27.79 mph, while a full grown giraffe can occasionally reach nearly 35 mph (for a short distance).

053Giraffe

Giraffe, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Penguin

This little guy is super-cute. So let’s talk about something that little less cute: glands. Penguins have two specialized glands that help them thrive in such chilly environments. First, their supraorbital gland filters the salt out of sea water and allows it to be excreted by sneezing or through their bill. Second, their preen gland which produces a waterproofing oil that helps them stay warm and glide easily through the water.

052Penguin

Penguin, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Otter

Otters are adorable, when they sleep, they will wrap themselves up in sea plants to keep themselves from and hold hands with other otters to keep from drifting away. Otters are so cute, that even their poop is weirdly adorable. Apparently otter poo smells rather like jasmine tea, is called ‘spraint’, and is used to mark territories.

051Otter

Otter, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Cow

This cow is called Dotty. Did you know that a cow that has a name will produce more milk than one without a name? This happens because cows with names are typically treated with more human affection and thus have lower stress levels.

050Cow

Cow, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Roadrunner

As the state bird of New Mexico it seemed appropriate to pair this roadrunner with a zia symbol from the state flag. Roadrunners are the fastest running bird that can fly, running as fast as 18 mph.

049Roadrunner

Roadrunner, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Seahorse

Seahorses are very successful predatory fish, their head shape allows them to strike without detection and they have a 90% success rate when hunting. This is a good thing because without teeth or a stomach, seahorses have to eat almost all the time to stay alive, because they digest so quickly.

048Seahorse

Seahorse, 5″x5″, ink, and watercolor on illustration board

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