Monday, March 06, 2006

Illustration Friday - praying mantis

'Insect' is the Illustration Friday topic this week. I like insects and have painted quite a few for Illustration friday over the months so I wasn't sure what to do for this topic initially.

Then i thought about praying mantises and realised i hadn't ever drawn one I was happy with.

They are interesting insects.
Their heads can swivel round by 180 degress to keep a look-out for prey which they catch wih their spiky modified front legs. Thes folded front legs are the origin of the name Praying mantis Mantis religiosa , since they were thought to look like a person praying.

There are about 2500 species of praying mantis and they tend to be well camouflaged with greenish or brownish bodies which ressemble leaves and limbs that look like twigs. Flower mantises hide in flowers so they have pale pink or white bodies.

Females are generally larger than males and in most species the male is eaten by the female after mating [and sometimes during mating. ] They mainly eat other insects but some of the larger species can manage to catch and eat small lizards, tree frogs, mice and even humming birds.

Birds, bats, spiders and snakes eat praying mantises and some species of mantis have special ultrasonic hearing chambers which help them avoid being a bat's meal.

I thought I'd trying a new way of doing things with today's praying mantis - ie instead of flat colour and line using some texture and shading with this topic and i'm reasonably happy wth how it turned out. I think I need to try a few other creatuires using the same techniques to see whether its worth pursuing or not.


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12 comments:

Cindy said...

I think you did a great job on this! Mantids aren't easy to draw, I think because they naturally look somewhere between a friendly creature or a menacing alien, and it's up to the artist to depict the aspect they want to bring out. Yours has a slightly inquisitive face, almost humanoid, but not sinister. I would enjoy seeing more of your insect pictures.

Tulipland said...

looks great!!! and thank you for the information.. They sure are interesting .

isay said...

your drawing always stands out esp. on a white background which is hard to achieve sometimes.

i like praying mantis and you have done a great job in drawing it. it makes me look longer and explore the detail.

Rowantree said...

Great work as always, and very well documented.

melinama said...

I like it a lot!

the heartful blogger said...

Absolutely gorgeous, beautiful detail and delicate colour, I think you're making me change my mind about insects!

carla said...

I really like this technique you used. It makes the mantis look more tactile. I never knew that the larger preying mantises ate lizards, etc. that's quite a fascinating bit of information. This is really a great illo!

Michael O'Connell said...

love the mantis. great work! and thank you for the schooling on this interesting little bug!

fin said...

i really love the bug's shy expression!

miragee said...

Beautiful!

tiffinix said...

Beautiful - and so delicate!

Ian T. said...

This is sensational! Really, really great work and captures the animal beautifully. We've had a few of these running round on the kitchen window over the last few hot nights, but I hadn't seen any again for years, until recently.

I think I was married to a praying mantis once...