Monday, May 08, 2006

"Fat" -Illustration Friday



Artist's Note: When I first read the topic I thought that because it is so similiar to a previous word (gluttony)I might use something from then. (Quite frequently I come up with several pieces for each prompt on Illo-Friday. My goal is to finish at least two.) Then I remembered why I got involved with this was to build my portfolio. So here you have an original.

Whale Blubber- Essential Fat
Whales are warm-blooded mammals that can survive in water temperatures as frigid as the low-40s F. How do they manage to stay warm, even in the ice-cold waters of the North Pole and Antarctica? By wearing a thick layer of fat-called blubber-just beneath the skin.

How does the whale acquire this fat layer? Being mammals, whales suckle their young. A baby gray whale, for example, may drink up to 30 gallons of its mother's milk-which has the consistency of soft margarine-every day! An adult gray whale, on the other hand, may eat tons of crustaceans during a given feeding period. All of this intake is necessary to not only provide the whale with the energy it needs to swim great distances and dive to incredible depths, but to help maintain an essential layer of fatty insulation.

What is unique about baleen whales?
Baleen whales are some of the largest animals on earth. Characteristic baleen plates and paired blowholes help distinguish baleen whales from toothed whales. All cetaceans have a long, strong diaphragm which allows them to rapidly exhale as they surface and quickly inhale before submerging. The phrase "Thar she blows!" was coined by whale hunters who spotted the column of vapor as the whales exhaled.

Why were baleen whales hunted?
Early humans hunted whales for food and oil. But in the 19th and early 20th centuries, before the invention of plastic, whales were hunted commercially for their baleen or "whalebone" as well as for their oil. The whalebone was used to make women's corsets, buggy whips, and umbrella ribs. Most baleen whale species remain severely depleted because of this commercial whaling.

Baleen refers to the filtering device they have in their mouth in place of teeth. The Blue Whale, The Bowhead Whale, The Bryde's Whale, The Fin Whale, The Humpback, The Minke Whale, The Pygmy Right Whale, The Right Whale, and The Sei Whale are all baleens.

source: U.S. Department of Commerce/NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMML and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)- "Secrets of the Ocean Realm."

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love your whale illo. Calling a whale a "whale" is the only pc usage of the word FAT I can think of...I don't think whales mind being fatties!! Love your info too; as always, it's a pleasure to come to your site for art~n~facts.
Sammie

jessi.tsoi said...

Love the illo, so nice of you to post the information too

albina said...

Great drawing – love the dotted shading I see so often in your work, it takes some dedication. Useful info as well. Really is a scary thought – depletion of the species so we could have an umbrella?

carla said...

Fat's a good thing if one's a whale! Your whale is so beautifully drawn...very meticulous and precise:>

kidz illustrator said...

Lovely sketch and thanks for the history lesson!

minacristina said...

Lovely piece, as usual :)... I've no problem imagine her gracefully under water.

the heartful blogger said...

Wow, your posts are always so informative!!

AnastasiaC said...

wonderful illustration!

Lee said...

nicely done ellen...the new header looks great too!

Linda said...

Wonderful illustration!

Alina Chau said...

Great posting!! The illo is lovely!

Amy Zaleski said...

Whales are simply amazing. While reading about whale blubber here, I couldn't help but think of that Judy Blume book, "Blubber." Ah, memories.....it's so funny that you remember making soap in girl scouts. Yeah, it didn't exactly smell good, did it? I'm rambling here, sorry. I missed your "under the sea" entries last week ~ they're all wonderful!

Wilnara said...

Great Illustration - Ellen!!!! I also love your Robot entry this past week- that was a fun illustration!!!

Slimbolala said...

Beautifully illustrated.

Andrea said...

Fantastic rendering. I love whales!

morealyera said...

love the whale! So simple and so complicated at the same time! Great detail on the shading. :)

Bron Smith said...

Beautiful graphite renderings. You put so much effort into the details.

fenris said...

great illo! i like the way the thick black outline contrasts with the delicate patterns made by the dots.

Aim'ee said...

Excellent! Love the Art work! You do have a wonderful gift!

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I'm a professional artist, a wife, a step-mother, grand-mother, friend, Ms. Fix-it, older sister and a daughter. A regular "person in progress!" Oh yah, and I draw alot! Copyright 2010-2012.

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