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Old Thursday 23rd August 2012, 16:51   #1
unfeathered bird
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The Unfeathered Bird has almost fledged

Hello again Bird Forum!
Sorry I left you for so long. The last few months finishing The Unfeathered Bird were too gruelling even to get pleasurably sidetracked, and since then I've been too busy chewing my fingernails to the bone through the production process. Anyway, not long to go now - it'll be out in November. Please do spread the word. There are still a lot of people out there who think anatomy is distasteful, gothic or downright weird. Let's prove 'em wrong, eh?
And if there's anyone out there who could help by putting up a poster in their museum or college, please get in touch - thanks!
Greetings to all,
Katrina
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 10:31   #2
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Is there anybody out there?

Tried to post a few more images, but I'm having no end of trouble attaching them. Anyway, here are two more pictures from the book.
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 10:45   #3
ed keeble
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Tried to post a few more images, but I'm having no end of trouble attaching them. Anyway, here are two more pictures from the book.
astonishing stuff, as art and learning

(by the way, if you are having trouble attaching it may be because the jpgs have long names- sounds daft, but I've notice the same thing on here..)
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 12:35   #4
unfeathered bird
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Why should we be interested in anatomy anyway?

Good call, Ed; I'll try that. Thanks.

I suddenly realized that many people out there may not remember my previous posts in which I introduced the book, so The Unfeathered Bird may mean nothing to you.
So, a few words about it again:
It's been my lifetime's ambition (from start to finish it's taken me 25 years) to produce an accessible, jargon-free anatomy book for bird artists - something that combines art and science in a 50:50 ratio. No labelled diagrams, no long words, no guts or gizzards, maximum biodiversity, nice to look at, useful, and fun. I rejected offers from publishers to produce a lab manual or a textbook - that's the antithesis of what it's all about! Over the years it's evolved into something bigger - equally relevant to artists and general bird lovers alike - that relates form to function; anatomy to adaptation.
But, you might ask, why should we be interested in a book about bones, when we draw wild, living birds?
Someone in an earlier post quoted Lars Jonsson saying 'draw what you see; not what you know'. That's all very well, but isn't what we really see conditioned by what we know and understand? How many of us can honestly say we wouldn't draw birds' feet better knowing where the joints in the toes are? And how many drawn birds would fall on their beak (if they suddenly sprang to life) because the artist wasn't aware of the position of their knees? (No - not their ankles...) An appreciation of anatomy is vital to all artists for this very reason. And even if we exercise our right to distort, stylize or abstract our subject matter in the artwork we do, a basic three dimensional understanding should underpin this development. Shouldn't it???

Interested to hear your comments...

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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 13:23   #5
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It was good to see you and catch up at Rutland Katrina, and I can confirm that those fingernails have taken a hammering

Mesmerising work, good to see you laughing and looking forward to the release when all that graft comes to fruition.

Mark
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 17:51   #6
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Good luck with the release Katrina and I look forward to getting my hands on a copy..

What I have seen so far is stunning...

Those flight studies are remarkable, makes one realize the Archeopteryx is not so far remove from modern birds
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 18:17   #7
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Good call, Ed; I'll try that. Thanks.

I suddenly realized that many people out there may not remember my previous posts in which I introduced the book, so The Unfeathered Bird may mean nothing to you.
So, a few words about it again:
It's been my lifetime's ambition (from start to finish it's taken me 25 years) to produce an accessible, jargon-free anatomy book for bird artists - something that combines art and science in a 50:50 ratio. No labelled diagrams, no long words, no guts or gizzards, maximum biodiversity, nice to look at, useful, and fun. I rejected offers from publishers to produce a lab manual or a textbook - that's the antithesis of what it's all about! Over the years it's evolved into something bigger - equally relevant to artists and general bird lovers alike - that relates form to function; anatomy to adaptation.
But, you might ask, why should we be interested in a book about bones, when we draw wild, living birds?
Someone in an earlier post quoted Lars Jonsson saying 'draw what you see; not what you know'. That's all very well, but isn't what we really see conditioned by what we know and understand? How many of us can honestly say we wouldn't draw birds' feet better knowing where the joints in the toes are? And how many drawn birds would fall on their beak (if they suddenly sprang to life) because the artist wasn't aware of the position of their knees? (No - not their ankles...) An appreciation of anatomy is vital to all artists for this very reason. And even if we exercise our right to distort, stylize or abstract our subject matter in the artwork we do, a basic three dimensional understanding should underpin this development. Shouldn't it???

Interested to hear your comments...

I think you're right Katrina. What we know always does influence what we see, or in my case often all I don't know! I wouldn't say that anything SHOULD underpin our work. But my guess is that things are a whole lot easier when it does. As someone who just started with birds six years ago I continue to realize how much there is to learn. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the anatomy section in Tim's book, mainly I think because it helped to explain many mysteries I'd run across.

My birthday is in November so barring an extraordinarily high price I'll suggest to my wife that it might make a nice present.
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 19:22   #8
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You'll pleased to know that it's an extraordinarily low price for what it is: you can pre-order it on Amazon at the moment for 29.71!!
I see you're based in Philadelphia - I'll actually be giving a talk and signing books at the Free Library on 19th February. Hope to see you there!

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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 19:28   #9
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Reply to buzzard12:"Those flight studies are remarkable, makes one realize the Archeopteryx is not so far remove from modern birds":

Thanks. Frigatebirds look primeval with or without their feathers on. Amazing birds!

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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 20:01   #10
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You'll pleased to know that it's an extraordinarily low price for what it is: you can pre-order it on Amazon at the moment for 29.71!!
I see you're based in Philadelphia - I'll actually be giving a talk and signing books at the Free Library on 19th February. Hope to see you there!
That's great Katrina. I'm amazed at the quality of the talks that they have. I was actually going to suggest that you contact the Academy of Natural Sciences here. I'd guess that they would also be interested.

I'll mark it down on my calendar.
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Old Friday 24th August 2012, 21:07   #11
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one thought these "tailless" images really drive home is that artists try and make birds look balanced- equal weight in front of and behind some imagined mid-point

which makes for quite conservative poses

whereas on a real bird most of the mass is upfront, head and breast, with the apparent balancing mass at the rear not being real at all, being just undertail, rump, tail feathers

so on a real bird there is much more tension than balance, weight at the front, all cantilevered on that switchback of bones from ankle to true knee

its like the old question of why sleeping birds don't fall over- its not because they are balanced, its because their tendons stay awake and hold them up
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Old Saturday 25th August 2012, 13:02   #12
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Exactly; all the weight is up-front. That's why the knees are so far forward, and the thighs almost horizontal; to bring the centre of gravity over the feet. But tendon power in those legs does play a large part in keeping the balance - think of some of those small heron species that feed from raised banks and boulders - they almost look as though they're suspended on invisible wires!
The Academy of Natural Sciences was approached, but they felt that an exhibition was too adult for a family orientated museum. Pity. And in my experience, kids really love bones.
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Old Saturday 25th August 2012, 13:12   #13
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By the way, SolitaryVSong, I very much like the drawings you have on your website. In fact the whole website - the design, and honest way it's written - is really excellent.
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Old Saturday 25th August 2012, 23:56   #14
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By the way, SolitaryVSong, I very much like the drawings you have on your website. In fact the whole website - the design, and honest way it's written - is really excellent.
Thanks so much Katrina! I recently redid it hoping to make it simpler and cleaner. It's always nice to know that someone appreciates it.
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2012, 09:48   #15
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Cracking work and I hope the book does really well.
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Old Saturday 8th September 2012, 18:05   #16
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Many thanks! Much appreciated.
Katrina
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Old Wednesday 12th September 2012, 07:59   #17
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What a great project. I've always had a fascination for the skulls of animals and birds and I have a small collection of different bits that I've picked up over time. I remember having that interest as a child too so you're right; kids do love bones (Although I suspect that's more of a boy thing to be honest!).

Good luck with the book

Mike
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Old Wednesday 12th September 2012, 10:35   #18
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I must have been a strange girl then...
Thanks, Mike!
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Old Thursday 13th September 2012, 08:54   #19
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Im'e certain this book will be a success,looking forward to it .
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Old Thursday 13th September 2012, 09:50   #20
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Already pre-ordered! Top class artwork , can`t wait to get it in my hands!

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Old Friday 14th September 2012, 15:28   #21
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Book Signing!

For those of you in the UK, I'll be signing the very first copies of The Unfeathered Bird at the SWLA exhibition at the Mall Galleries on the 8th November.
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Old Friday 14th September 2012, 16:15   #22
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Splendid!!! Good luck, Katrina.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2012, 16:29   #23
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By the way, Paschalis - just looked at your blog and was bowled over by the drawings on there. Absolutely superb!
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Old Thursday 20th September 2012, 18:37   #24
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I must have been a strange girl then...
Me too Katrina Even at 44 years of age I still see the occasional dead animal or bird and think ''Mmmm wonder if I can get that skull off it?'' SO FAR I haven't got around to boiling it up (or whatever way you clean bones) in Neil's precious Stella Pans on the cooker

Looking forward to your book too......will definitely point Neil in it's direction as he always asks for a list of 'possibles' for Christmas And as I plan to stop procrastinating and just START to draw birds and wildlife instead of just talking about it I can see your book being a very welcome (and handy!) adition to my bookcase
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Old Thursday 20th September 2012, 18:48   #25
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By the way, Paschalis - just looked at your blog and was bowled over by the drawings on there. Absolutely superb!
Thanks a lot Katrina! Getting such comments from an artist like you is more than a compliment!

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