Sketch of the Week: Ruidoso Skull

I was out hiking in Ruidoso recently, trying out the Grindstone Lake Trail that was opened last fall. While I was making my way through the gently rolling hills studded with coniferous trees, I encountered the tattered ribcage of some unfortunate animal that had recently found itself playing the role of entree on its predator's menu. Initially I was going to sketch that, but looking around, I found other bones strewn about the forest floor in a most disorganized fashion. I figured that if I looked long enough, I would eventually find the skull, and sure enough, not far from a pair of discarded hooves, I found this:

My guess is this was a young mule deer, as the hooves I found were rather small. The brown tufts you're seeing on top of the skull are fragments of the creature's hide; it hadn't fully rotted away yet. The gruesome nature of the scene called for a dark, messy style, so I let loose with the pen and let it drop large globules of ink across the page.

It was a nice hike, though. Seriously, if you're in that area, I recommend it.