The Pacific Pocket Mouse is on the endangered species list, and is one of the species whose skull is up next to be drawn. I went to the San Dieogo Natural History Museum today and the mammalogist selected skulls based on where the specimen was found (being a guide book to San Diego Country mammals, they'd better be from San Diego), and skull quality (some are broken, stained, or from juveniles instead of adults). I also have 2 rat skulls coming up in my next batch of drawings, and I almost took photos of rat skins (skins are specimens gutted and stuffed, popsicle-like, as you see in the pic) but figured a pocket mouse might be cuter. As if skins could be cute.
The little jars to the left contain the skull, and sometimes bits and pieces of other skeletal parts. In subsequent posts, you'll get to observe the process of how a scientific illustration comes to be, via my technique. I'm self taught in this skull stippling business, and have streamlined the process by using electronic equipment, as you'll see. I used to be an idealist - I thought using electronic tools to aid my drawing was cheating. In real scientific illustrator life, those shortcuts are invaluable to (a) staying accurate (b) being time efficient and (c) maintaining sanity.