For the next week or so, I’ll be sharing the story of the making of six recent paintings that will be appearing in the upcoming October issue of Ranger Rick magazine.
If it’s not on the newsstand already, it will be very soon. The article is about six of the strangest recent discoveries in fossil science.
One of the subjects is the giant snake Titanoboa, the largest snake yet discovered, known from its remarkable vertebrae, which dwarf that of a modern anaconda, shown beside it for comparison. All we really have to start with are a few bones like this.
The rest I had to conjecture by extrapolation from living snakes. How do you show it was over forty feet long? I thought it would be cool to show it in a death match with a crocodile.
There are videos of anacondas killing and swallowing crocodilians called caimans. This usually happens underwater, but I wanted to show the Titanoboa lifting part way out of the water.
So I sketched it over and over again in several pages of thumbnail sketches like these. I liked the one in the upper right, and tomorrow you’ll see that the final painting follows this mental conception fairly closely.
This was the comprehensive sketch I showed the art director. It’s about the size of a trading card, and it's made with water-soluble colored pencils and a water brush filled with black ink. Tomorrow I’ll show you how I went from this comp to the finish.