Black Bear Skull


Black Bear Skull, graphite on drawing paper

This is another drawing I made at the Burke this past Thursday.

My original plan was to do a drawing of both a bear skull and a seal skull, because I’d learned on a recent whale watching trip in the San Juan Islands that bears, sea lions and seals are all closely related. I was going to draw a bear skull and a seal skull to compare them.

But at the Burke, these skulls looked more dissimilar than I had expected. A couple of those differences are that the bear’s skull is much larger, and that the bear’s back teeth are meant for grinding, rather than the seal’s sharp back teeth, which are meant for tearing.

While the black bear skull was far larger than the seal skull, I was surprised that the black bear skull seemed much smaller than how a bear’s head seems in real life. Jeff Bradley (from the Burke’s mammalogy collection) pointed out that the muscles and all that fur add up to make a living bear’s head much bigger.


I might still get to that seal skull, or maybe one of the cool seal skeletons they have there hanging from the back rooms at the Burke…

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