“Wookie,” Daniel D. Brown, 2016, Pastel Pencil

This is “Wookie,” a Linneaus’s Two-Toed Sloth that lives at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. If you’ve been there, you’ve probably seen him chilling with the toucans.
It’s a 10″x8″ drawing made with Gioconda Pastel Pencils.

See a timelapse of its creation below.

Buy prints of this piece at the LAUGHING MANTIS STUDIO ETSY STORE!



Music: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

“Masked,” Daniel D. Brown, 2016, Digital

Thanks to the completion of a recent commission, I was able to get an incredibly usedul new tool: the Intuos Creative Stylus 2. I used it to draw this raccoon in the Procreate app (my absolute favorite art app) on my old iPad Air. This took about a week to draw (mostly on the bus and in the hours before bed. You can see a timelapse (condensed to a minute) below.

Prints are available on the Laughing Mantis Studio Etsy shop.


Gorilla, Daniel D. Brown, 2012, Pencil

This gorilla drawing is based on a photograph taken by Rick Horton. I chose to draw it for the simple reason that I think the gorilla’s pose perfectly captures both the beauty and similarity to ourselves, as well as the sadness of the decline of our cousins, highlighted by his facial expression and presence in an obviously captive setting. All gorillas are either endangered or critically endangered (though I’m not sure the exact subspecies of this guy).

Buy the original 8 x 10″ drawing at the Laughing Mantis Etsy store or prints at the Zazzle or Redbubble shops.

Gorilla, Daniel D. Brown, 2012, Pencil

Gorilla, Daniel D. Brown, 2012, Pencil - framed





The Cretacious-Tertiary Boundary
Sixty-five million years ago, a daily struggle occurs in the midst of the world-changing event that would result in the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs and the rise of our own lineage of mammals. The layer of rock demarkating the end of the Cretaceous and beginning of the Tertiary is known by geologists as the “K-T Boundary.” The mammals in this case are “cynodonts” – our ancestors in the late Cretaceous. This took me three weeks to create, using Blender and GIMP software packages.


"K-T" Detail

Buy a print of this piece at the
Laughing Mantis Zazzle store.

CLICK HERE to see how this piece (and generally all my 3D art) is made.

The Making of “K-T”

I know of at least a couple of people who were curious how I went about making my latest art, “K-T.” Here is an abbreviated walkthrough…


First came the idea. I’ve had the general idea of the composition in my head sometime: a view from a mammal ancestor’s burrow of the distant K-T meteor.

When I decided to actually make it with the free and open-source Blender and GIMP, I first made a very quick (like 5 minute) sketch of my idea layout (Note: You can click on all images for larger versions):

Hilarious sketch up of the idea. Looks like it was made by a two-year-old.

Next up: modeling the creatures. All objects are modeled as a 3D mesh, working with them and sculpting them at times much like clay – except it’s all in the computer.

Velociraptor polygonal mesh
Velociraptor Model - color and shadow to help see shape.

Next up comes the coloring, texturing, and addition of fur.

Velociraptor Texturing and Fur - an early test

In reality, the coloring and texturing is done on 2D images (using the free photoshop-like GIMP), which are then mapped onto the 3D mesh:

Velociraptor Color Map

Next up: a poseable armature has to be made and applied to the 3D mesh. Think of this as an actual skeleton that the mesh will deform with.

Velociraptor Armature Rigging

The armature has to be tested with lots of poses to make sure the mesh warps correctly.

Smile for the camera!

Rinse and repeat for the other objects:

Mammal with fur
Your great x 10 to the alot grandpa

Now start putting objects into the scene:

Basic Scene
More detail

And finally we have everything in place

Scene Mesh
Scene solid objects

At this point alot of time is put into positioning lights and tweaking textures so that everything looks good. Lighting is probably the hardest thing to get right (especially with fur).

Finally, the image is rendered and the image levels and coloring and effects are tweaked using GIMP.
Note: you can get a super high-res large poster of this artwork here.

"K-T" Detail

All in all, the entire process took 3 weeks. I could have easily spent another 3 weeks tweaking and fixing many aspects of the piece and adding more details, but I was pretty much ready to move on to something else. So, I got it to the point where I was happy with it as is.

I hope you enjoyed it!