Illustration Daily: Zebra

Zebra’s are black with white stripes, as evidenced by their embryonic development. The stripes are thought to form type of camouflage called “motion dazzle” which confuses predators as to the number of prey in a herd, making it difficult for and individual zebra to be singled out. Further, the stripes may cause confusion by distorting the perception of the direction that the herd is moving.

047Zebra

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

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Illustration Daily: Swan

This cygnet is no ugly duckling, it’s just plain cute. The Ugly Duckling, written by Hans Christian Andersen was considered by the author to be something of an autobiography.  As sweet as cygnet’s are, a full grown swan can be pretty dangerous when defending their territory. They’ve been rumored to be strong enough to break an arm or a leg, and in one documented case a territorial swan caused a man to drown in a prolonged attack.

046Swan

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

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Illustration Daily: Chameleon

This chameleon is pretty small, but it isn’t even close to the smallest chameleon. The leaf chameleon is one of the smallest vertebrates on earth measuring between .5 and 1 inch. By contrast, the Parson’s chameleon can reach a length of 27 inches.

045Chameleon

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

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Illustration Daily: Fox

Paying homage to Dr.Seuss’ Fox in Socks as he builds a “quick trick clock stack”. Actual foxes tend not to build such stacks and are crepuscular creatures, which means they are primarily active at dusk and dawn. Just for fun, here is a link to a super-fast reading of Fox in Socks.

044Fox

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

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Illustration Daily: Monkey

It’s the Year of the Monkey, or close enough for my purposes, which is illustrating a cute monkey with a tasty treat. It’s well known that monkeys are curious and clever. I was surprised to learn that several varieties of monkeys have been observed using piper leaves and crushed millipedes as insect repellent.

042Monkey

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

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Illustration Daily: Snake

I based this little snake on the ball python, though they don’t come in coloration quite as fanciful as this one. Snakes aren’t the most love-able of creatures, so did you ever wonder why they adorn the symbol of healing, the caduceus? Some of the reason is tied to ancient Greek myth, but more likely it come from the use of snakes in healing rituals and belief that skin-shedding was a symbol for birth an renewal.

041Snake

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

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Illustration Daily: Hare

Now for the other half of The Tortoise and the Hare, the hare. Hares, are in the same family as rabbits, but they are not the same genus. One unique characteristic of hares is that they have a kinetic (or jointed) skull, this is thought to help absorb the impact of their running and jumping. Hares can run at speed of about 40 miles per hour and leap up to 10 feet. That must have been a long nap to give the tortoise such a big head start.

040Hare

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

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Illustration Daily: Tortoise

This is a two-parter! Today we have the tortoise, and tomorrow will bring the the hare. Tortoises are turtles, but all turtles aren’t tortoises – tortoises are generally land dwellers that don’t swim. Also, tortoises have nerve-ending in their shells so if you pet one, it can feel it! So how fast is this tortoise going? On average, they travel at about .17 miles per hour, although fastest recorded tortoise hit 5 miles per hour.

039Tortoise

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

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Illustration Daily: Octopus

Octopuses, or octopi, or octopodes (all are correct plurals!), are extremely interesting creatures. They are quite clever, capable of solving puzzles and causing a good deal of trouble by escaping their tanks at aquariums to eat fish from other tanks. Octopuses are also anatomically interesting: some can change color, all have three hearts and blue blood, and 2/3 of their neurons are in their tentacles. Pretty amazing animals!

038Octopus

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

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Illustration Daily: Rhinoceros

This rhino is tiny, but the largest species of rhino (the white rhinoceros) can weigh around 5,000 pounds and reach a length of 13 feet. By comparison the smallest species of rhino (the Sumatran rhino) weighs only around 1,750 pounds and reach an adult length of just under 5 feet.

037Rhinoceros

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

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Illustration Daily: Dog

Simple and elegant for this little greyhound. The greyhound breed is rumored to have originated in Ancient Egypt, but it is more likely that greyhounds were first bred by the Celts around the 5th century BC as hunting dogs. Greyhounds make amazing pets, so check out your local rescue if you are thinking about adding a dog to your life.

036Dog

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

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Illustration Daily: Snails

Snails are have beautiful shells but gross slimy bodies. Snails also have another disgusting attribute. They poop on their own heads! You can see why in this anatomical diagram. You wouldn’t know how revolting snails can be from today’s illustration, in fact, these ones almost look cute.

035Snails

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

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Illustration Daily: Hedgehog

Because hedgehogs look like little pin-cushions, I thought a sewing theme was appropriate for this little fellow. Hedgehogs are adorable, but they are also pretty tough. Of course, their spines offer great protection from predators, but did you know that they are also immune to most kinds of snake venom? More cool facts about hedgehogs can be found over at Mental Floss.

034Hedgehog

Hedgehog, 5″x5″, ink, watercolor, and gouache on illustration board

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Illustration Daily: Pete

Here’s my other one-eyed cat, Pete. I also adopted him through the Denver Dumb Friends League. When I first got this guy he hid under the bed for almost a week. Now, he’s constantly begging for my attention.

033Pete

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

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