Tag Archives: animals

Chalking in the woods

8 Apr

I decided to visit another part of where I live, surrounded by a lot of trees and take my iPod Touch and a few pieces of chalk with me. Alas, I didn’t have enough chalk to do all 3 drawings, let alone do more.

Chalk rabbit
⇧ I’m outside of my home town, surrounded by woodlands, so a rabbit seemed very appropriate.

Chalk beaver
⇧ This one wasn’t really on a sidewalk, but on the road. It’s a beaver, because I was surrounded by forest.

Chalk zebra
⇧ I ran out of chalk while drawing this zebra on a road with little car traffic. He is grazing grass, though.

I saw few people, certainly walking by, so this was again an exercise to improve my chalk chops. If nothing else, I had some physical exercise.


Chalk sketches

5 Apr

I’m trying to get better at my art. I hope to impress people when I will be doing it with an audience. Until then, I’m kind of doing stealth drawing, with little or no audience. Practice, you know.

Chalk Kangaroo
⇧ My first piece of street art of today was not far from where I live, in a city park called after a famous Dutch writer (A.M. De Jong). Yes, it’s a kangaroo, apt for the stairs leading to the park itself.

Chalk goat
⇧ Here I stood in an outer part of my home town that is still grazed by cows. There might be goats as well. To remember cyclists driving by I drew this goat in chalk.

While I was a bit nervous each time I started drawing, I forgot about the initial anxiety once I got into the groove. Art demands full attention!

The A B C’s of animal structure

19 Mar

A B C's of animal structure

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.

The A B C’s of animal structure

11 Mar

Using a tutorial from Jack Hamm’s book “How To Draw Animals” I sketch a simplified cow in side view.

The A B C's of animals

⇧ In “How To Draw Animals” by Jack Hamm, he teaches us to draw animals in side view with a bunch of rectangles. It isn’t about the rectangles, but about having a way to see the structure of the animal, of all four legged animals, and apply that knowledge to a specific animal. That way you don’t have to guess so much and can spend more time on drawing. After all, the more you draw, the better you will get, especially if you pay attention to how you draw.

The A B C's of animals, applied to a cow

⇧ Here I’ve used a photo of a cow and applied the rectangles to it, before dealing with the exact shape of the animal. Getting the parts in the correct positions and at the right size is always a problem when you’re not familiar with a subject. Having a method to roughly estimate the structure of an animal is a handy trick to have in your bag of artist’s tricks.

This drawing was recorded as a video on my iPod Touch and uploaded to my Shorties Ustream channel.

Sketching a bear

28 Dec

Trying out the iPod Touch again, using the free Justin TV app. It clearly has network problems, which hopefully will be resolved in time. The stuttering of the video is a symptom of packets not arriving in time over the wifi network.

Anyway, the sitting bear sketch went surprisingly well, and quick too. I made a mistake, which I could have prevented by being more methodical. I promise to change my ways and do better in the future.

Sketch of a sitting bear

Thanks for reading and until the next blog post!

Drawing bears, part 3

24 Dec

So this was going to be a longer drawing session on Justin TV, like the ones I did earlier this year on Ustream. The subject was, not surprisingly, bears.

You can find the recorded videos of this live drawing session on Justin TV and an edited version on YouTube.

Drawing bears, part 3 (drawing 1)
This was a kind of “warm-up sketch”, using an illustration from Ken Hultgren’s book “The Art of Animal Drawing.”

Drawing bears, part 3 (drawing 2)
Using this photo on Flickr, I drew a Grizzly bear from photo reference.

Getting under the skin

15 Jun

Although I said I was going to do a weekly micro-cast and ditto video, I’m going to postpone that until I have mastered animal drawing some more. I would spread myself too thin if I kept doing that while drawing animals is what is powering those other projects. My guess is that it is prudent to first get better at drawing animals, and then return to the other stuff, so I can be more useful to the listeners/viewer. Although some have no problem getting ideas out of their behinds, it is not how I would like to present myself. I’m not much of a meta-person, it seems. I’d rather make content than talking about other people’s content (as a fanboy).

Anyway, I’m using The Art of Animal Drawing, written by Ken Hultgren as my guide now. Hultgren is an excellent draftsman of horses, and it seems to me that if you’re able to draw a horse from imagination, drawing other four-legged animals is much easier, because you can draw upon your knowledge of drawing the horse. So that is what I should be concentrating on.


So here is a first sketch of a young horse, in which I tried to find the underlying structure (the skeleton). The bones are clearly visible, especially in the legs. It’s just an exercise of looking at photos of horses and identifying where the bones are. I used Hultgren’s book to help me with the sketch above.

I will keep doing the incidental sketch from observation, but increasingly I will try to replace those by drawings that use my knowledge of anatomy to construct (or reconstruct) a drawing. This conversion may take several months, if not more.