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About Deviant Willem van der MerweMale/South Africa Groups :iconliving-earth: Living-Earth
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Copepteryx hexeris by WillemSvdMerwe
Copepteryx hexeris
Copepteryx was a Plotopterid - an extinct family of ocean-living birds, that were somewhat like a mix between a cormorant and a penguin!  They had small but functional wings - they couldn't fly, but used the wings for swimming as penguins do.  But they also had large, webbed feet.  Plotopterids were very large, ranging from about the size of a large cormorant - a metre/yard or so - to a length of 2 m/6'7"!  They lived in the north Pacific, Copepteryx having been found in Japan.  They originated in the Eocene and lived until the mid-Miocene.  At the same time as them, there existed similar large flightless swimming birds in the southern Hemisphere - the giant penguins, which reached a similar size!  The giant penguins and the plotopterids died out around the same time.  The reason might be because that was the time when seals and dolphins started to spread and diversify, taking over their ecological niche.  While the smaller penguins survived so the family still exists today, there were no small plotopterids that survived and so the family is entirely extinct today.  Charcoal drawing, tweaked and coloured with Photoshop.
Tree Crocodile by WillemSvdMerwe
Tree Crocodile
Another critter from the fantasy world of my 'Wavendreem's Garden' stories.  This is a tree crocodile!  These crocs are fairly small, reaching about 2m/7' in length.  They have very strong claws and can climb trees with ease.  They're quite fast and agile too and can even make short leaps.  They eat whatever they can surprise and overpower, but birds that are alert to them, like this Kletnish, will scold them mightily, and warn other denizens of the treetops against them. 

There have, in our own world, been crocs of various kinds that perhaps or even probably were able to climb trees well.  Indeed tree climbing is sometimes seen in living crocodilians, usually young ones - but they're not very good at it!  Charcoal drawing, coloured with Photoshop.
Greppas by WillemSvdMerwe
Greppas are also critters from the fantasy world of my Wavendreem's Garden stories.  They live in the Underlands - a huge subterranean realm of caves, many with lakes - indeed, lakes as large as oceans!  These have evolved their own ecology over millions of years, fuelled by left-over energy (you'll have to read the story 'The Unyielding' to discover left over from what) that can be tapped by a variety of mushrooms and fungi.

The greppas live in a lake from the surface of which many stalagmites protrude.  They cling to these, using their long necks to catch fish.  They can't swim, and are very wary of the great fish-protectors that live in the lake.  The vast majority of the creatures in the Underlands don't feed on other creatures, but on fungi and plants.  The fish-protectors are absolutely enormous, and also vegetarians, but will kill greppas to protect themselves as well as other fish and swimming creatures of the lakes.  They can't rise from the water to dislodge the greppas from their stalagmites, though. 

Greppas are actually mammals, descended from small, shrew-like creatures.
Bronze Mannikin by WillemSvdMerwe
Bronze Mannikin
This is a Bronze Mannikin, Spermestes cucullata, also sometimes classified in the genus Lonchura.  Bronze mannikins are members of the waxbill family.  They're tiny seed-eating birds, common over most of sub-Saharan Africa.  They're common in gardens and I see them a lot!  They're quite social, often occurring in flocks with a few adults and several young birds.  The youngsters are uniform brown while the adults have black heads and breasts and white bellies, and a greenish gloss on their heads and 'shoulders'.  They often sit squeezed tight together on a twig!  They're not the most colourful of the waxbills, but very cute and charming.  Like other waxbills, the male courts the female with a dance in which he wags a piece of grass in front of her face!  Charcoal drawing coloured with Photoshop.
Sylviornis neocaledoniae by WillemSvdMerwe
Sylviornis neocaledoniae
Another species I am very sad that we lost!  Sylviornis were giant chicken-like birds.  But they were different enough from all other members of the Galliformes, the order containing pheasants, chickens, partridges, quails, turkeys and other birds, that they were given their own family, the Sylviornithidae.  They were the hugest of the galliforms, reaching 1.7 m in length and over 30 kg in weight.  They were flightless.  Sylviornis was confined to the island of New Caledonia, which had many other unique things (and still does - though it has lost much).  There are accounts of probable encounters between them and humans.  These speak of them having a reddish plumage, and a 'star-like' knob on their bills.  Their skulls show a round knobby projection, which might have been topped by a warty or fleshy growth.  In my reconstruction I've given them a few elaborations, making them slightly sexually dimorphic, the male being brighter and having wattles.  As always, this is my imagination, not something known in reality!  There's also the speculation that Sylviornis, like the related Megapodes (many species still with us today), built huge mounds in which they laid their eggs.  This is not known for sure, but huge mounds have been found on New Caledonia, which don't seem to have been made by humans - and these birds are the likeliest suspects.  They're known today from thousands of bones ... their skeletons having unusual features, such as the clavicles not forming a fused furcula (wishbone), and more tail vertebrae than other birds.  Pencil drawing, coloured with Photoshop.

Hi all!  I would like to tell you about my present project … I’m writing a book about bodybuilding!  I’ve been into bodybuilding since 1988 and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of it.  My book is called ‘Sane Bodybuilding’ and it is about avoiding the mental and physical excesses that are now so prevalent in professional bodybuilding.  I want to help ‘save’ what I consider a very rewarding activity.  It is not for high level competitive bodybuilders, but for ordinary people, men and women, who just want to improve their own bodies in a natural and healthy way.  So, the book is a nonsense-free primer, a holistic system that will teach you how to gain muscle size and strength, and lose fat, while also attaining fitness and great health, without the need for drugs or a training-obsessed lifestyle.  It’s also about saving you money, avoiding a variety of scams.  The training and dietary advice is simple and practical.  The end goal is having a healthy body and mind.  It’s about achieving realistic – and REAL – results, and appreciating them.  It’s about increasing both the length and the quality of your life! 


The book has about 265 pages of text (at present … I’m still adding bits to it here and there), and will also have more than a hundred illustrations, depicting exercises, stretches and poses.  I discuss a variety of strategies relating to training and diet, and also aspects of psychology.  I warn about pitfalls and obsessions and speak about the importance of a positive, grounded attitude.  There’s guidance for beginning, intermediate and advanced trainees.  While the book is about general muscle-, strength- and health-building, there is advice for getting into more specific activities: competitive bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, Fitness and Figure competition, and Strongman/Strongwoman competition.  These all having their risks, I speak about how to get involved in them while still maintaining health and sanity.  A big part is finding reputable organizations … ideally where there is a strong drug-free ethos. 


Basically I’m trying to cram together as much useful and directly relevant (for ‘regular people’) information as possible, in a single book, which I’m going to try to get out as cheaply as possible.  There is a lot of good stuff available online but the typical person is going to have to do a lot of surfing and clicking to get it all and will encounter a vast amount of nonsense in the process as well.  So I’m trying to do what I can to cut through all the crud that’s out there.  I’m thinking of e-book format and possibly printed as well … I do have some connections in the bodybuilding world so I’m really going to try to actually get it published!  But … for anyone here who’s interested … I can email you a copy, no charge!  At present the book is still in a rough stage and I’ll appreciate any and all feedback, but it’s already pretty complete in terms of content (except for the pics, which I’m still working on).

I intend to share the pics here, when I’m done with them.



WillemSvdMerwe's Profile Picture
Willem van der Merwe
South Africa
I was born in 1972, Pretoria, South Africa. I started painting and drawing at the age of 5. I stopped doing that for a while to study some other fields, but recently I've been getting back into it. I love wildlife and nature but I also paint or draw people. I also paint and draw fantasy creatures or scenes, as well as extinct animals.

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StitchesAndThePen Featured By Owner 3 hours ago
I absolutely love your work!
gigi50 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer

:icontftdwplz: :iconsomehugsplz:
and Your Welcome :hug: 
Fantastic work and gallery :winner:

wufus Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2015
Do you like my art? Can you watch me?
Alvro Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
hello how are you, I just wanted to tell you everything your art is amazing :dummy: , sorry for the delay to comment and did not comment on all your drawings, I did not feel in the mood these days :(
WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015
Aw thanks!  Don't worry about commenting, but thanks for dropping by!
LadyxWinter Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
your work has been featured in our, Our favorites feature -  Take a look and have a nice day :heart:
Nushaa Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015
thank you so much for being a member of my group, Owlies-Inc. it really does mean a lot to me. Heart
WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015
My pleasure!  I hope I can soon contribute more owl art.
plumita1 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015
:iconheartsignplz: Thanks a lot for your kind words and for faving! :iconflowerthnxplz:...Posing by plumita1
plumita1 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2015
:iconheartsignplz: Thank you so much! :iconforyouplz:...Did I hear a click? by plumita1
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