Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Sketching Animals and preparing for vacation sketching

drawingEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Sketching animals is not really my forte, but I thought I'd share my completed zoo sketchbook pages with you guys anyway.

The only way you get better is with practice, right? So, here we go. 

OK so the first sketch was of a bonobo. This was first because it was the first really good place where I could sit and observe for awhile. Since I was with my friends and their children I didn't want to drag down their pace, so most of these are pretty quick. All of them are done with colored pencil. 

The bonobo liked to move, as many animals do (obviously), and I tried to catch that by drawing the limbs in a few poses. My favorite part of the sketch is the bonobo arm reaching up for the bar above. The face and all that is just a mess, but that's what happens when I decide to use colored pencils! The arm, though, is done correctly, just wildly out of proportion with the top torso. 

The Flying Fox was drawn in a sort of half-light--this was an indoor exhibit, and since these are nocturnal animals, the fox is hanging upside down, the wings enfolding the body. I tried to get the hard structural edges of the wings, and I think I succeeded pretty well. 

I knew I wanted to get the mandrill's face, since it's so colorful. This guy was very active, but I was able to get the basic shapes and the color variations on his fur. 

The flamingo is probably my favorite. They were out in full sun, and this one was quite obliging and stood still for awhile while I got the basic shape and did some shading with the feathers. I was going to color her in later, but one of the little girls I was with asked me to do it then, and I'm glad I obliged!

This one was drawn inside, with light coming in from above, so I decided to do it in a deep indigo pencil and just get the outlines of the langeurs sitting on their beam. (There are a ton of ways to spell "langeurs" as I found out when I did an Internet search--this is how it was spelled on the exhibit sign). This started as a single line contour and then I went back in and drew heavier lines to differentiate the animals, with the one closest to me getting a bit of his facial fur drawn in. 

The other thing I need to remember next time is to bring the pencil sharpener! 

I'm working on prep for my first vacation with my sketchbooks, and I'm really excited. I think I've got my palette set. We're going to Colonial Williamsburg and the Outer Banks, so I need a variety of colors. I'm definitely going to be playing with mixes. I'll be doing some trip prep (Liz Steel inspired) sketches in my big book over the next few weeks.