• Karen Ruffles

Female of the species. Possibly...

The especially observant among you may have noticed a curved spine sketch popping up in posts about reference work. In this week's post, I'd like to introduce you to its owner, the Baggage. With temperatures getting frankly silly here, I got up around dawn to do some sketchbook work while it was still bearable. She is the third of my longer term monsters awaiting a new drawing this autumn but the one that is furthest from completion as I still have some figuring out to do. It turned out she's also amassed quite a pile of reference sketches and printouts already - it took me a search of a sketchbook, the folder where I normally keep such things, an old portfolio and behind the easel to dig out everything I needed just to work out where I'd got to with her. So who's causing all this fuss ?


The Baggage - skeletal and with some muscles/organs etc.

Here she is ! You know how I said that some of the monsters were much simpler creatures, more like animals ? She's one of those - slithered in by herself but unlike the boys, not the chatty type. I've found the kind of sounds she likes - Siouxsie and the Banshees do it for her apparently, but I don't get the same kind of thing back from her, no real sense of what she's thinking or what she's up to and when I got to grips with Her Squishiness, that made a lot of sense. In simple terms, she's a ribcage and spine with a bag of guts attached. Initially, I thought this meant she'd be a quick one to draw, but oh no. Not even slightly. The problem with the Baggage is the number of questions I had to answer to figure out how such a thing might work. It looked like human bits might do it, but how many of those can you ditch and it still work ? The answer btw is a lot more than you might imagine.


Some were kind of obvious - her ribcage clearly opens out, which means no diaphragm. I am pretty sure she has lungs not gills so how was she getting air in there ? We breath using two lots of movement, the other being the use of muscles to expand and contract our ribcage so with a bit of reworking, so long as she kept moving, air flow was happening. It's not as efficient however and only a fraction of how we do it - but then, without arms or legs, that also meant she could lose a lot of the big back muscles so she didn't need that much oxygen compared to a person. That in turn led to rewiring her circulatory system and a debate about how big her heart needed to be. She still needed to move so some muscles were staying, which brings me neatly to one of my favourite sources of information when it comes to anatomy - and this is one you can play with.

Innards!

To figure out how much muscle she'd need and where, which is the last step before adding her hide and bringing her all the way out, I headed over to Healthline's Body Maps section. This is a brilliant tool which allows you to search for the bit of the body you're interested in and check it out with a 3d interactive map. You can go through layers, rotate in all directions and if you click on any of the parts shown, it names them and you can choose to focus in on that for more information. I'll be back with more on her when I've got this bit figured out and started working out what she looks like on the outside, along with some insights into how she moves, where she lives etc in a future post. In the meantime, grab a cuppa, pick a bit of yourself at random and go see how it all fits together...





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Whitby, North Yorkshire

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