Emily M. DeArdo



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. 


Seven Quick Takes No. 127

7 Quick Takes, drawing, family, travel, Jeopardy, hearing lossEmily DeArdo3 Comments


In case you missed it: Thirty Days of Beauty continued this week. It was really all I wrote this week, since I was in Houston visiting my sister, and didn't bring the laptop with me. So go enjoy those posts. :) 

I will be updating my Houston Postcard next week with the places I did this trip, so it will be more Comprehensive for all you Houston-bound people!


When I was in Houston I did a lot of sketching, including making a point of taking my supplies to the beach at Galveston. I knew that the paint would dry faster in the heat, but I wasn't prepared for how much faster. Still, I'm pretty happy with what I managed to get. 


If you follow me on Instagram, you are aware that my sister has a cat. Bella is a pretty sweet kitty, who flicks her tail whenever you say her name, and likes to try to get extra kibble out of the automatic feeder. (My sister is a nurse who works night shift, so automatic feeding for Bella is a good thing!) She discovered that by moving her paw under the slot, she could get extra kibble to drop down. Sometimes. Never having lived with a cat, I was hugely amused by her behavior. 


There were FOUR bookstores visited on this trip, guys. FOUR. One of them, yes, was a Barnes and Noble, and I wasn't there for very long, but still. FOUR! 

Brazos, of course. I introduced Melanie to its beautiful-ness. Small but mighty. 

We checked out Galveston Bookshop--didn't buy anything, though. It looked like it might be a decent place to prowl around and look for books. It's mostly used books, with some new, and they have an excellent collection of books about Galveston and Texas, if that's your thing. They also have a shop cat!


The last shop we visited was Murder By the Book, which was excellent. It's a lot more than mystery novels (at first I was like, mystery novels are not my thing), but I had a lot of fun here. More about this guy later. 


This chocolate cake, people. THIS CHOCOLATE CAKE: 

Does it remind you of this scene in Matilda, or what?!

It reminded me of that. :) And Mel and I love Matilda. So extra bonus points. 

And no. I did not eat that entire piece. Do I look crazy? But it was magically delicious. 


One of the things that I'm terrible at vis-a-vis traveling is unpacking. My suitcase sits in the main room and is gradually unpacked over a series of days. The longer the trip, the longer it takes to sort everything out! 


And finally....

 I wrote a piece for the Cochlear Website about my Jeopardy! experience. You can read it here

It went up on Tuesday when I was in Texas so I didn't have time to write about it. :) But here you go! 

Seven Quick Takes No. 113

7 Quick Takes, Jeopardy, life issuesEmily DeArdo2 Comments


First up--this week's post roundup: 

SITS girls Summer Scribbles No. 1

Catholic 101: Those "Screwball Apostles"


I'm going to Pittsburgh this weekend for my godson/cousin's high school graduation. He actually graduated last week, but the party is this weekend. I can't believe he's that old, first off. I was fifteen when he was born! He'll be going to Pitt to study computer science. He's a good kid, and I'm so lucky to be his godmother.  


Just a reminder: my Jeopardy! appearance is July 18th!!!


(Yes, that merited the cool font. You know it did.)

I'm actually sort of nervous about people watching it. I can see the whole slew of tweets and Facebook postings of "YOU IDIOT! How did you not know THAT?" And honestly, there's at least one question I'm still beating myself up about. :-P 

I did manage to impress Alex T., though. I did. But that is a story for the day the show airs. :) 


I did manage to whip the sketchbook out this week, not once, but TWICE! Oh yeah! 

Lunchtime sketching--lamp and a wonky pitcher. :-P (I was trying to do single line contour on that guy, so....)

Lunchtime sketching--lamp and a wonky pitcher. :-P (I was trying to do single line contour on that guy, so....)

Plant at Dawes Arboretum. 

Plant at Dawes Arboretum. 


California legalized assisted suicide this week. Why that's a bad idea. 


And my hockey team is continuing to hate me--game 6 in San Jose.....