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Assorted mammalian musings

Posted on May 8, 2008 by in Operations | 8 comments

Ord's kangaroo rats by Andy Teucher, licensed under Creative Commons

Ord’s kangaroo rats by Andy Teucher, licensed under Creative Commons

• On June 3, 2007, the first Daily Mammal post went up. Almost a year ago!

• I was up until 3:30 am last night working on a spreadsheet that lists the Latin names and taxonomic situations of all the mammals of the world. (Don’t worry, I didn’t make that part, I downloaded it from the Smithsonian.) What I was doing was putting in the common names and the dates posted for the mammals I’ve drawn. I got them all in except for this latest mammalthon batch, and while I do feel a sense of satisfaction for having done that, I am very disappointed that I have drawn nowhere near the 366 mammals I should have. Luckily, my 14-year estimate was based on a rounding up of 13 and a half years, so I don’t need to change that prediction yet. But I have to get on the ball!

• My first goal for the few weeks left in this first fiscal mammal year is to hit half of the 366 mammals that we needed.

• My second goal is to draw at least one species from every order of mammals by June 3. Orders are the groups like rodents, primates, ungulates, carnivores, etc. There are 10 orders we haven’t covered, so unless one of them is extremely mysterious and no reference images can be found, that should be no problem. One of the remaining orders is represented by just one species!

• My goal for next year is to draw 365 mammals between June 3, 2008, and June 3, 2009. I think that hard as it is, it’s still worthwhile to try to draw one a day. I know there will be times—business trips, for instance—when it’s just not possible, but I can do mammalthons to make up for those times, maybe. Here is a quote from Andy Warhol (via Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, one of my favorite blogs) that addresses this:

“Actually, I jade very quickly. Once is usually enough. Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more.”

• In creating this spreadsheet, I got to go back and look at all my old drawings. My drawing has improved so much in just a year! (Imagine how good I’d get if I actually did draw every day.) I think right now I’ve plateaued, but maybe I’ll start an upward swing again soon. Here’s something funny I noticed. I’ve drawn three different kangaroo rats over the past year, and each time I didn’t think about the other ones I’d drawn. But look at the drawings. Every one is in the same position! And what’s up with the style of that second one (from Mammalthon 1)? Here they are; which is your favorite?:


  1. I like the style of #1–the one I have-with the coloring and bushwork of #2!

    How’s that for being picky?!

  2. …er BRUSHwork

    (or bushwork in the brush!)

  3. Interesting musings, Jennifer! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t come close to your first-year goal, but you didn’t say just how many mammals you did draw! I’m curious!

    Yes, your style has changed over the past year. I find that happens with me as well — sometimes it’s a linear progression toward “better,” and sometimes it’s just a leaning toward a different style, not better or worse but a little different — like a change of hairstyle.

    But you’re definitely getting better every month, and I can imagine you getting better still every year! Keep up the good work — and keep up the Mammalian Musings!

  4. i think i prefer rat #1, but both are lovely.

    and i’m excited to see the results of these new goals of yours!

  5. Congrats on nearing one year! Goals are great, but the destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey. Just look at all the new friends and admirers you’ve made over the past 11 months (like me!) and the changes you’ve made in your drawing.

    In my novice opinion (I have no traning in art, nor can I even draw a stick person), I agree that your drawing style has improved. The creatures seem more intense, more ready to leap off the page/screen–which could be a good or bad thing, depending on the mammal. :)

    As for the rats….hmmm….I definitely prefer the ones with the tail foremost in the picture, like a lash holding off the observer. However, the vibrant hues in the second rat draw the eye too.

  6. I like number 3 best.

  7. there is no best. They are terrific and you are too

  8. You are amazing. I like the last one, he looks like a little troublemaker! :)

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