I routinely research before drawing. Research about whatever it is I plan to draw, to be able to correctly illustrate things. Searching for the general facts, like sizes, colors, friends & enemies and next finding good photography.
First, I envision the character realistically. Then, heavily simplifying the lines the challenge becomes how do I give them some human capabilities while retaining realistically identifiable species characteristics. Here are some sketch examples.
I had no idea!
When I did the research on rhinos I found that I was totally oblivious to their plight. I had no idea that they were so close to extinction. The White Rhino is one of 5 quickly disappearing species of Africa, and Eurasia. Rhinos live in tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannahs, shrublands, forests, and deserts. Unfortunately, with numbers dropping so drastically, many remain only in wildlife reserves now. The main factors driving the rhino population to extinction:
- increasing human population creating less and less habitat for them
- wars and militia massacres
- greedy poachers
Poachers kill approximately 3 rhinos each day to sell their horns for highly inflated profits. Poachers are the worst threats, very much like drug smugglers or cartels. Honestly, money is a most important thing to them. Insidious criminals with no conscience.
Research the Horns
Poached rhino horns are purchased by two major markets in the world. The Chinese and Vietnamese mistakenly believe that magical medicinal properties exist in rhino horns. Not true. Rhino horns are made of “Keratin” which, is what human fingernails and hair are comprised of. If Keratin is magical medicine, we don’t have to kill the rhinos for it. Honestly, anyone needing “keratin” can simply chew on their own fingernails or hair and get the same results.
This horrific act of killing rhinos and harvesting their horns makes me ashamed to be a member of humanity. I wish it would stop.