Drawing Animals – Grabbing the Chance

Grabbing the Chance ball point pen 4
Grabbing the Chance Finished Drawing
Grabbing the Chance Finished Drawing

For this exercise ‘Grabbing the Chance’ I was a bit clueless t first on how I would go about it. I live in an apartment where the only pets u see are the ones on the posters telling you you can’t keep pets and all my friends live in apartments where they are not allowed to keep pets.

I thought about going into the Sois (back streets) and sketching mangy dogs which would probably have been a great subject apart from the fact that dogs here in Bangkok are nocturnal and by the time I would get round to sketching them they would be walking around, barking and biting.

I decided to take a day out to the zoo with my two young daughters, the only problem with this is that my daughters are too impatient to wait for me and sit down and sketch so I took my small sketchbook and my trusty camera.

I started to walk round with my kids taking pictures of the animals that were there and like I thought, my kids were running in front shouting ‘next one, one’. My big surprising break came ten minutes into our zoo visit, at the KFC within the zoo grounds, we got our order and sat down to eat at the tables outside only to be mobbed by hundreds of Ravens, my favourite bird. Being the 5th most intelligent animal in the world and an amazingly beautiful creature I find it very inspiring.

I took plenty of photos of which the photos above are just a few of the best ones plus I managed to do a series of simple pencil sketches working from the real life birds and the screen on the back of my camera and with the kids finishing their meals I decided that I would do some more sketches at home and we finished the rest of the tour of the zoo.

At home now a few days later and looking back at the sketches I did at the zoo I wasn’t very impressed so I took out my trusty ball point pen and made a better second attempt. As this exercise is indeed called ‘Grabbing the Chance’ and I should be drawing the animal like I am ‘grabbing the chance’ I made some quick ball point pen sketches in the same notebook not taking more than 15 minutes a drawing.

This time I could see that my drawings of the bird were improving, after all I had been sitting looking at the photos for the last few days studying their structure how their wings folded on their backs, their feet, their upper and lower beaks and taking note of any other details that would help me to get their anatomy correct. It paid off, this time I was quite impressed with the ballpoint pen  drawings and the best thing about the Faber Castell you can smudge them as they dry slowly so this helped me to create some of sense of texture.

From there I made some sketches with a Rotring 0.3 drawing pen and then moved onto making some pencil sketches with a B5 pencil in my larger A4 sketchbook which I think are great the animals looked bold and elegant and are definitely worthy of a big final piece. Rather than work from the sketches, I chose to work from a photo as I wanted to get the colours somewhere near, firstl I did a study in colour in soft pastel then decided to do the finished piece in coloured pencil as I needed the practice.

Inspired by ‘Wing of a Blue Roller’ by Albrecht Dürer in last research point I paid close attention to detail in order to give the bird the respect it deserves. I took into consideration all I had learnt in previous projects ‘Using hatching to Create Tone‘ and ‘Still Life Group in Tone‘ plus a few other lessons and began drawing the animal.

The finished drawing isn’t a perfect likeness which I am not too worried about my aim here was to draw at a decent pace and I have seen that these birds come in different shapes and sizes. The anatomy however is correct and I have done well to reproduce the folded wings using texture and by depicting the light shining off the birds back.

I drew the outline of the bird with a 2H pencil, at first I thought that I hadn’t made a good attempt at filling up the paper then realised that that this was how I saw the bird, ‘busy bodying’  away from the center to have a nosy around and so I just carried on and I am pretty impressed with the final drawing.