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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On Sketching White Alligators

They're called Leucistic Gators for a reason: this rare species has even less skin pigmentation than albino alligators. Lacking pigmentation makes direct sunlight harmful to them. Hence, they are kept in a environmentally-controlled enclosure at Gatorland.

It's interesting how artificial lighting affects our vision. The interior lighting seemed to imbue the Leucistic gator with color, as does the water he bathed in the day I sketched him (see yesterday's post). So I tried to imbue the gator in my sketch with that coloring. Oh, and I made two mistakes: 1) I gave my gator brown eyes, when Leucistic Gators, as a species, all have blue eyes; and 2) I couldn't get the dark water right, so he ends up looking like he's laying on grass instead. 

This photo, taken from our previous visit, gives you an idea of how colorful he looked while relaxing on the wooden deck.

Notice anything else? In the photo, the deck looks green. Yet when I sat there sketching, the deck looked light blue, without a hint of green. Strange, huh?

If and when I return to Gatorland, I'd be interesting to sketch the Leucistic Gators again. Perhaps I'll get closer to drawing them as they really are, color-wise. (Or lack-of-color-wise). In any case, if I want to see them, I'd better hurry up. There are only thirteen known Leucistic Alligators in the world, and none of them are female. But at least Gatorland has four of them, which gives me a good chance of seeing one upon my (potential) return.

Dragon Dave

Related Internet Links
Behind Blue Eyes (a short documentary on Leucistic Alligators)

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