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Old 07-10-2011, 01:37 PM
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orniodesigns orniodesigns is offline
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

It is likely that Mammoths will birdth during winter (it will be summer when cub starts eating grass). For survival they would have needed long hair. Early scientists have draved hair too short if you compare to cave paintings. I would look carefully cavepaintings since they have really seen these animals alive! It seems that side hair almost hides the legs.

So more hair for winter protection
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:06 PM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

I think the hair is one of those things you might want to check with a biologist about as well. I don't know mammoth physiology all that well but it's possible that their hair was longer and thicker during the winter months and shorter/thinner in the "summer." Checking cave paintings is a good idea.

As for the tusks on the baby...the baby mammoth that was found in Russia in 2007 (a female that was 6 mo old at the time of her death) did not have any visible tusks. I'm not sure if that helps you or not. There are some great photos of her on the 'net that might help (if you haven't already seen them).

Looking good I can understand totally what it feels like to have your current work take over your thoughts...I'm going through that right now with one of mine

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Old 07-10-2011, 07:50 PM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Thanks for your input, Orniodesigns and Midcoast!

That's a very good point about the cave paintings! I was looking at it and definitely thinking that I needed to extend the fur longer. Some books say that the long fur on their sides was nearly 1m long - so assuming about the same size as an African elephant, that's a LOT of fur. I'll definitely be taking that into account. One of my books also says the baby mammoths would have looked like "little balls of fur" so the baby in the painting will need more fur too

As for the tusks - hmmmm I definitely look at all the images and information available on Dima and Lyuba, and you are right, they don't have visible tusks. Now I don't know where I read that!

Perhaps they were born with tiny tusks in the spot where they would grow out of, but they didn't develop and become visible until later? That would make more sense... plus I don't imagine the mother mammoths would enjoy being poked with little tusks - baby mammoths should have been similar to elephants in being milk-dependent for the first couple of years of their lives

The baby elephant in the photo which I based the mammoth on, definitely had the parts of skin around the trunk widening in preparation for the growing tusks, but did not have any visible yet. It was probably about a year or two old. So I may erase the tusks but keep that formation near the trunk.

I think it might be time to decide on a landscape before doing much more work on the animals. Not only will that help me with lighting, I can figure out closer references and elephant equivalents for the baby mammoth. I am thinking late autumn - with a bit of snow on the ground, and some clumps of snow on their fur, but still some grass visible in places and a couple of small trees with a late leaf or two.

I think an email to a Natural History museum is definitely in order to work out the fur and tusk issues...
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:08 PM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

I hope that some lucky paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature has fun with all the mammoth questions I just asked them via email......
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:29 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Here is one new painting I found for you. This artist has made head hair longer after cave painters.
http://www.bjorklund.fi/tb/prehistoric/full/ph_014.jpg
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:44 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Orniodesigns: WOW! Thank you for introducing me to the work of this artist. His mammoths are fantastic - I love that they are so expressive and in motion, yet detailed in all the right places!
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:52 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

So I emailed the Canadian Museum of Nature for advice - and boy did I get the right museum. Actually my librarian friend from Canada suggested it. They put me in contact with Dr Richard Harington, the paleontologist who actually discovered the Whitestone Mammoth - a nearly complete female Woolly Mammoth specimen! Tusks and everything. He responded with some advice, recommended a book (which I already have) and sent me the story of the Whitestone Mammoth, plus an image of a sculpture that was made for the Museum, according to his advice, with the proportions from that animal. That image pretty much answered all my questions re: tusk shape, etc

So, having the statue as a reference for proportion, I've decided to completely revise the painting.

I've scrapped the front-on views, because the more I worked on it, the more the faces bugged me - something was off and I couldn't put my finger on it. Instead I'm using another one of my elephant photos as reference for the poses. But I think I understand better now, how to make them into mammoths.

I haven't quite finalised the mother mammoth's pose yet (happy with her face, just going to do something about her feet, the elephant I'm basing her on was standing a bit funny) but I have the general idea down, and worked a bit on revising the baby mammoth. This pose, even though it's taken from a baby elephant, is closer to the baby mammoth Lyuba, and is easier to get reference from images of her. So far I'm enjoying that there is more personality!


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Last edited by OcelotEyes : 07-14-2011 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:09 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Did a bit more work on the revised painting... now the mother mammoth makes a re-appearance:



I'm still working out her face, but hopefully she looks more like a mammoth than like the elephant she is based on.
I also wanted to incorporate the Whitestone Mammoth's broken left tusk into the image.

I'm also not sure about the pose of her back legs, but I'll deal with that when I get there. The elephant was standing that way - but I don't like how it ended up looking like the baby's and mother's leg poses almost mirror each other.

I really appreciate any comments and critiques Even if they're not from a scientific angle and even if people reading this thread are not familiar with the digital painting process.. As you can see, just like a regular painting, it starts with some sketched outlines and builds from there.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:54 PM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Looking great, but still a bit "naked" when long hairs is missing.
If you look cave paintings stomack seems to go lower on back part or then it is the illusion of hair. Elephant is lonner legged than mammoth.

http://web.mac.com/kbolman/Pech_Merl...hpechmerle.jpg

http://web.mac.com/kbolman/Pech_Merl...mouthHorse.jpg

Have you checked the height of young?
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:25 PM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

yes - the fur isn't there yet, it's only roughly blocked in while I worked on the faces first. It's the digital equivalent of an under-painting, right now. The fur will be getting longer for sure Thank you for the cave painting links! I'm amazed at just how LONG that fur was!

Hmmm not sure about longer legs - maybe it's the perspective? Their back was more sloping than elephants, so they had comparatively longer front legs than back legs, I thought. I do have to fix the legs anyway. I lowered their backs compared to the elephant reference, but maybe their legs just need to be shorter relative to the rest of their bodies?

The height of the young one relative to the mother was taken from this photo that I took (she looks small compared to the large bull behind her):

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Last edited by OcelotEyes : 07-16-2011 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:39 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

I had a wonderful time reading through your thread and I admire your thorough research into this, wow.
Looking fab and looking forward to looking in here again
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:37 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

http://cache2.artprintimages.com/p/L...ssam-india.jpg

Since elephants live in female+youngs groups I would say that there is mother (largest) older sibling (middle) and young in your reference shot.

This painting will be legendary! I enjoy seeing the process so much
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:51 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Hehe... elephants DO live in groups of females plus young, and males live separately, except for this particular group. Actually, it surprised me too!

In Etosha National Park, I was observing a loose group of 12 bull elephants that seemed to hang around a particular waterhole a lot, and on the last day, a herd of females with babies suddenly showed up. They clearly all knew each other, as the females just came over with no greeting ceremony (I observed a greeting ceremony between other male elephants just a day earlier) and just splashed right into the waterhole. They all interacted like old friends and spent several hours together - the males being especially tolerant and nice towards the babies. I have other photos of younger baby elephants following the males around and copying the poses of the adult males, it's hilarious! (And they definitely were males - you know how elephants are... when they are happy... they show it! )

Perhaps they were brought together by the dry season and the need to drink, but the two different groups of elephants were very friendly Once the females left, the 12 males resumed ownership of the waterhole.

BUT you ARE right - while the male elephant in the background looks so perfect there, and he was, the scene in the photo is an exception and not the rule.

So, while I am tempted by the idea of putting in a male mammoth in the background of the painting, it probably would not normally happen in nature. Assuming of course similar social structure between mammoths and elephants. But it did happen once in Africa

Hehe - give me the chance to chat about elephants and I can't stop!! I just love them
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Last edited by OcelotEyes : 07-17-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:20 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

Here's the same female elephant again, different pose, feeding her baby, with (probably) older sibling on the left. The one with the tracking collar behind her is a very large male.
She probably is smaller than average, but the males really are HUGE compared to females. And the babies are very tiny and cuuuute




Anyway back to mammoths!
I promise some more painting updates tomorrow
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Last edited by OcelotEyes : 07-17-2011 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:44 AM
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Re: Painting a Mammoth - ideas, brainstorm, WIP thread

What great pictures you have and this must have been unforgettable situation for you. Keep working and let uss joy from results
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