Currently, I’m stuck at page 5 of How To Drawing Animals by Jack Hamm.
I’m experiencing what Jack Hamm is hinting at, namely that you need to have a solid experience with the animal in question if you want to draw it believably. You need to know what impression its presence gave to you, not in words, but in images, as a mental picture of the animal.
There are strong similarities in the body plans of all four-legged animals, but there are also stark differences. You need to have intimate knowledge of the masses of each animal and how those mases move while the animal moves.
The method mentioned in this book is not a replacement for many hours of drawing the actual animal, by which I mean, having the animal in front of you, so you can experience its being. You can’t fake your way out of this one.
Even so, I’m trying to understand how to interpret photos, because I’m not able to visit zoos, farms, etc. at a regular basis. Most of this would be observing, not drawing, because you learn a lot by just looking, absorbing the look and feel of the animal, so you can reproduce that in your initial sketch. After this sketch, you can look at your reference for adjustments, but the basis for you drawing should be hours upon hours of observation.
Even so, I like the bear, although it’s totally based on (non-informed) imagination. I guess something stuck in this brain after more than 50 years of looking.