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Petal Deer (updated 7/19/16)

Okay, so following the lessons provided and going through a number of other designs I started to move towards dragons when it came to designs.  Being one who really enjoys work like this in hand drawing I really wanted to make a dragon look more realistic but have always had trouble more with the details and such.  As I began working with line drawings I decided to do a blotted concept just to give it a go, this in turn gave me my subject which I feel would better serve me to really work on my skills but at a more convenient pace.  

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So as seen here I use blue, I find that using blue I am able to add a second layer later as I desire to actually work with the black ink and I can essentially see where my changes were made later.  The other designs I am also keeping for an idea I will elaborate on in my own time at my own pace down the road when I feel a little more confident.

After making this design I wanted to elaborate a little more on the small design, as it was so minute I had trouble defining exactly where I wanted to go with it:

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As you can see I got a basic rough idea for its design, its nose will be long and its jaws will have perhaps back teeth that will enable it to chew but the leaves this deer will eat will need to be small in order to be consumed.  I plan to take the design of an anteater for the muzzle and mix it with a blacktail deer's head to give it the large eye structure and large ears, though here I feel they will be hung lower than usual due to the jaw structure.  The deer will have a dewlap neckline which, in my mind, will be sort of a small sack that the deer will keep its food in as a sort of pre-digestion sack.  Seeing as its mouth is so small this will allow harder to digest solid foods such as leaves to be worked down over prolonged periods in the sack while softer foods that do not require lots of digestion can go on down to the stomach and provide immediate nourishment without costing the animal a lot of energy in the process.  

It's body will be more like an elk, sturdy and meant for long periods where resources are limited; during winter months I imagine it would either migrate or its body would have to bear some fat stores in order to sustain itself on limited food.  The main tail I will design after an anteater's tail, it will be thick more for display purposes in males but will also provide a sort of support when they need to reach higher shoots and stuff to eat.  Lastly, on both their heads and the tops of their tails there will be quills that I want to design after a porcupine's quills, these will provide them protection from behind and will further distinguish male from female (males will have brighter patterns while females will have more natural colors.  I even considered, as pictured with the deer that has no quills on its head, that there might be variations of these deer depending on their environment; forest inhabitants may need the quills while those in the desert may need something different.  

Update - July 17th, 2014

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Deer study completed, though it was a small study and a quick one at that.  Body structure isn't really the issue I find as if I take my time and really work at it I can create a body structure that suits the creature, but faces sometimes are a little more difficult particularly in things I don't regularly draw.  Here I drew the head of a stag which really gave me some ideas for the petal deer, where horns could possibly go or even if it makes sense for this deer to get horns at all.  

Furthermore, I studied both skulls of an anteater and a whitetail deer doe, made rough sketches and formulated a combination skull that would achieve the proper format for this deer.  The anteater skull oddly has its nasal cavity combined with the end of its jawline where the tongue protrudes and with the deer, as with many other mammalian hooved animals, the nasal passage is farther back which allows for cartilagic material between the end of the bone and the end of th actual snout.  This gives the deer protection for the skull as it is much more difficult to break the nose this way, and it also gives the deer exceptional scent receptors.  In this way the petal deer would have a combination of both, though the nasal passage will be backed up it will be naturally smaller than the average deer's and the end of his jaw would lack canines to allow easy movement of the tongue in and out of the jawline.  Stags would have the same bony protrusion as a normal stag that will enable it to have horns of some sort though they might not be as excessively large as a true deer's would be, evolutionarily standing these would not serve the same purpose as they would for normal deer.

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Updated 7/19/16

It has been a while and after tinkering with my tablet, which went on the fritz for a while, I managed to sit down and work a bit more on the concept of this creature.  So far, delving into the more realistic aspects of the petal deer I found altering some of its design was more fitted as I thought more about morphology and habitat.  Given that most broad leaf plants tend to live in warmer climates the petal deer would be more well adapted to cold weather climates and higher elevations. The nasal cavity would provide enough length to warm the air during inhalation and reduce moisture, thus the deer would have a dry muzzle as opposed to wet.  Their ears would be smaller but not by much, their size attributed more to sensory than to insulation, growing thick with fur rather than remaining thin.

Both genders of petal deer have manes and tufts and are generally a tawny color during the summer which turns to a more somber grey in the winter.  Their build is thicker than most deer, an outer layer of thick fur protects them from the cold weather and their musculature on both genders is toned due to high activity in all weather. Their hooves are more acclimated to snowy areas in higher elevations, their cloven hooves split to provide more surface area coverage with each step and good grip on rocky inclines.  Their diets consist of shrubs and trees with smaller leaves that most other animals wouldn't normally consume; they have an abnormal resistance to various forms of poison ivy which also seems to aid in predator resistance.  They stand taller than most other deer in their area with males standing at 8 ft from hoof to antler and females standing at 7 ft, using their height advantage to reach branches usually inaccessible to other deer.

   As is provided with the reference of the stag the antlers are smaller, barely showing in the first year of life, growing a little longer each day but gaining more branches rather than in size.  They do not shed their antlers like most other deer, instead retaining them throughout their lives; breaking one of the points off does not necessarily harm the stag's chances of mating because they constantly grow new branches, however, breaking a whole antler off entirely ruins their chances of ever mating again. Virulent males are defined more by a robust mane and extensive tufting matched only by distinctive striping that deepens during the rut;  the broader the mane, the thicker the black striping, the more likely the stag will be to take a harem of his own.  Rarely do they fight during the rut, displaying their form more than striking one another, and when fights do occur the objective is to rip out as much of the mane and damage the striping, thus omitting the visual cues that the females look for.  It is very unusual to find two males fight to the death, more often than not predators kill exhausted or injured males as opposed to rival males killing one another.  When a harem is taken males hold their harem until they are removed from their position and breeding occurs during only a 2 week period in early spring.  

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The petal deer doe stands smaller than her male counterpart and is the more numerous of the species.  All females bear their offspring for a total of 6 months gestation and usually give birth to twins as opposed to a single birth, about 50% of the herd's does can raise both their offspring when resources are plentiful.  All fawn are born capable of standing and running but must rely on mother's milk for sustenance for the first year of life.  Does remain in large harems of up to 50 heads their entire lives where all are related, young stags being shunned by their mothers shortly after they've reached one year. 

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