Sun Bear Skeleton


Sun Bear Skeleton, graphite on drawing paper

I again visited the collections at the Burke Museum Mammalogy department, and Jeff Bradley, the collection manager, generously took this skeleton of a sun bear down from a high shelf so I could draw it.


It came from the Woodland Park Zoo, but the Burke Museum is uncertain whether this particular bear actually lived at the zoo, or whether the zoo got this skeleton from another zoo. The zoo used this skeleton for educating kids and visitors. It had been handled quite a bit, so you can see it is missing a couple of feet!

Pronghorn Skull


Pronghorn skull from the Burke Museum, Mammalogy Collection, University of Washington, Seattle. Colored pencil on watercolor paper, cleaned up in Photoshop.

(Antilocapra american, family Antilocapridae)

I wanted to capture the roughness of the sheaths on the horns versus the smoothness of the ivory skull. (Pronghorns shed their sheaths annually, but underneath is a horn made of bone.)


Spinner Dolphin Skull


Skull of a spinner dolphin, Stella longirostris, Order Cetacea, from the collection of the Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle.

Colored pencil on watercolor paper, cleaned up in Photoshop.

The Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus is like a slightly smaller version of New York’s Museum of Natural History. The museum has excellent natural history exhibits as well as an incredible collection of skeletons, pelts and information about mammals, insects, reptiles and birds.

As I am interested in scientific illustration, Jeff, the Mammalogy Collection Manager, generously let me visit “backstage” and draw something from their collection. This spinner dolphin skull was sitting out from a previous researcher, so I decided to draw that.


One lovely part of the experience of drawing something for hours is really connecting with the thing it is you’re drawing. I fall in love with my subjects every time. Who was this dolphin? What was its life? What did it experience?