After a recent frog-catching expedition to Briones Regional Park, Kieran and I came home with a nearly intact Anax junius that had drowned. This is a female, and they have to touch the water to lay eggs, so there’s always a risk of some catastrophe. At least she didn’t die in vain, as she contributed to our study of science.

I drew her at twice life size two different times in letters I wrote to my friends. The second time I tried to include more detail from her intricate wing veins, which are astonishingly hard to draw.

A. junius, or the Green Darner, is nearly our largest local dragonfly. There’s one bigger darner species, but we have never encountered it.

Anax junius female

We came home with a dead female dragonfly.

Anax junius cerci

A detail of the cerci at the tip of her abdomen.

Anax junius pterostigma

The pterostigma on one wing.

Anax junius leg detail

A detail of her legs, which are barbed to help her catch insects in flight.

Anax junius thoracic musculature

The strong and complex musculature of the thorax, where the wings attach.

Anax junius bullseye

Anax junius is known by the “bullseye” on its head.

First drawing outline

For the first drawing, I measured the dragonfly and multiplied everything by two.

First drawing 2First drawing 3 body color

First drawing 4 wing detail

In the first drawing I left the complex wing veins for last, but didn’t draw them in complete detail.

First drawing 5 complete

The first drawing completed.

Second drawing start

For the second drawing, a day or two later, I started with the complex wing veins and the crosshatching on the compound eyes.

Second drawing midwaySecond drawing 3Second drawing done

2 Comment on “Drawing a dragonfly, twice

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