Recently I was asked by the Exhibits Department at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture to create illustrations for the upcoming Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibit. This exhibit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service is about the remains of the largest snake ever found. The remains of this 2,500 pound, 48 foot-long boa were discovered in a coal mine in the country of Colombia.
Along with the traveling component of the exhibit, the Burke created their own section, much of it focusing on the research of the Herpetology Department of the museum. One of those researchers, a University of Washington doctoral graduate student named Leonard Jones, was to be the subject of a large portion of the exhibit and I was to do two illustrations of him at work to supplement this section.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of accompanying Leonard on a snake hunting mission. In a UW biological preserve on San Juan Island Leonard managed to find and capture three garter snakes, one who was big and fat digesting a rat. I watched this all through my camera lens and was able to get several great reference photos for my first illustration.
In the photo above, Leonard had just been bitten by the rat-filled garter snake! He didn't seem too phased by it though.
Leonard was as interesting and fun as he looks in these photos, and I had a great time in the field with him.
So much fun that I had to get in on the action too...
Back on the mainland, I set to work to create a museum-worthy illustration of Leonard in his element.
I was pleased with my results!
The exhibit opened today, and my work is now officially part off the Burke's Titanoboa exhibit!
My next illustration of Leonard will show him preserving and studying his captured specimens in the herpetological laboratory or the Burke Museum. Can't wait to get started!