Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't mess with a Terror Bird

Stress. Anxiety. My greatest weaknesses but also my greatest motivators.

Life has been strange lately; being in "Limbo" is exhausting, but I power on and continue to create. After my reapplication to school I've been accepted to the shorter/ more advanced program. Yay, right? Not just yet. My attendance isn't guaranteed...again. Waiting on more student loan applications. You wouldn't think it will be so hard to find help for your education, but it is. I will just continue trying, my mantra lately has been "Never give up."
Never give up. Ever.

One of my latest projects was to draw my interpretation of a Terror Bird. Phorusrhacids, also called Terror Birds, ruled the Americas in the Cenozoic era. What would this creature look like living alongside giant sloths, Trigodon, saber-toothes cats, and wolves? It was a wild time for our two continents as these animals migrated across the land-bridge. Predators had new prey and also new enemies. I can imagine that terror birds were solitary hunters, they did not hunt in packs like canids, and were most likely ambush predators. Of course this is all speculation as humans were not there to witness their habits. I based a lot of the physiology of this animal on the Ostrich because they have similar appearances, BUT the ostrich live in small flocks and do not hunt large prey. This is just the process I go through creating or recreating a creature. I start with research, then ideation, and then the details fall into place. I decided that the terror bird was probably very neutral in color on the front facing side of the animal to enable camouflage during the hunt, while the back of the terror bird might have had some color and markings to attract a mate. I gave the bird bone protrusions on the head; on the front side to improve hearing, and the red eye shaped markings on the back would deter other predators while the bird is preoccupied.  The bird also has a long pronounced stripe down it's back like a sloth to attract its mate. The more prominent the stripes, the better the stock, as it goes in the laws of nature. I could think of other features I would want on this bird, but I will just explain those few. It is important in creature design to justify most modifications with some kind of advantage or necessity to the animal's survival.

Terror Bird rendering - Cody Raiza