Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Museum of Osteology

The tenth Orlando Urban Sketch Workshop was held at the Museum of Osteology (8441 International Dr Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32819) a few days before Halloween.  The goal of the workshop was to get artists to capture the posed skeletons with simple fluid shapes and gestures.  They were asked to not render each bone with precision, but to focus on the actions of the poses.  The museum is perfect for this since every skeleton is posed as if the creature were alive.

  My favorite example was a small critter digging into a box of Milk Duds.  As an added bonus children were trick or treating at the businesses around the Orlando Eye.  The author Chad Shea of a children's book called, "The Skeleton in the Closet" was in the Museum of Osteology gift shop.  As we were waiting for workshop attendees to show up, he pulled me over to his table to show me his book.  The book comes with a pose-able plastic skeleton that is in line with the tradition of a Christmas Elf on the Shelf.  Parents for generations have hidden elves in their homes for the children to find at Christmas.  Well they took that tradition and have a skeleton in the closet which can be hidden.  It is a clever idea.  The author knew of Analog Artist Digital World and he said he really liked an article I wrote called "The Otter and the Gun." Chad ended up giving me the book and skeleton package, so this will become part of my Halloween tradition in the future.  Some skeletons had a realistic human skull, and others have a skull stylized like the illustrators depiction in the book.  The author popped off a realistic skull and popped on a stylized version to give me. Unfortunately withing a minute of opening the package, I decided to check the mobility of the head and I busted the skull off the spine.  Artists, especially animators,  are the worst on toys. 

The workshop was three hours long and I encouraged students to try and complete a more finished sketch with multiple skeletons together for the last sketch.  Since I was giving each student sketch suggestions I didn't have time to finish up a more finalized sketch myself.  I was content to do a series of studies.

I settled on a a pair of sea otters for my final quick sketch.  I was planning a computer animated film about a sea otter and a sea lion.  I have modeled sea otters in the computer and even modeled their entire skeleton, so I am familiar with their quirky long forms.  I liked the yin and yang posturing of the skeletons.  One otter had his paws behind his head, a pose that isn't often seen in nature.  Since they preen all the time however, it isn't an impossible anthropomorphic pose.

There were some great sketches done that night by attendees.  If you have relatives visiting this holiday season, I would suggest a trip to the Osteology Museum.  It is a rare gem right here in Orlando. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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