Sketchbook Roundup 1: Animal Kingdom

It’s Earth Day, and I’m stuck inside, as so many of us are these days… Hi! It’s been a while. I’m weathering this all OK, since as an artist, I’m used to working at home anyway. I hope you and yours are well.

I reckoned today was a good day to start blogging again. I’ve been doing art like mad since my last post, much of which I couldn’t show at the time, and still can’t, because it was for a book. However, I was drawing lots of not-for-the-book things in my sketchbook, because I do that to keep sane, and many of them were pictures of animals, for the Zooly Art Challenge event in July and the Zooly Weekly Art Challenge group throughout the year. You can join in too, if you like, just click the links to find out about them!

So, in honour of Earth Day, over the next few days I’ll be posting a series of animal pages from my sketchbooks. Here we go!

Coyote — I toned several sketchbook pages with gouache to see what it would be like working on a background like that. Oddly, I found it harder to get started on the primed page than a blank page. It was so pretty all by itself that I had to sneak up on it by sketching with a similarly coloured pencil! This was also an experiment to see how coloured pencils would work on this kind of background; they worked beautifully..
A very smug crocodile. Ink and coloured pencil. All these animals are done from photographs, many of them from the internet. Sometimes I work from several at once, or even look at videos so I can get an idea of how a creature is made from different angles. I could have gone nuts here with the detail of the crocodile’s skin, but had a time limit, so went more for a general impression.
A Toco Toucan. Our prompt for the day was “toucan”, and once I got to looking, it was really hard to choose — so many beautiful types! I used ink and watercolour pencils for this one.
A wee Sugar Glider. How could I resist that pink nose and big black eyes? This is a very tiny drawing, about 3×4″, using ink and coloured pencil.
A quick sketch of a Slow Loris – an incredibly cute little primate whose numbers are being decimated by the illegal pet trade.  Not strictly from my sketchbook; this was on a separate piece of toned paper, a good way to start if you want to create a richly coloured drawing in a short time. I started with the ink outline, then scribbled in the lights and darks with coloured pencil. The result uses the paper itself for the midtones.

And that’s it for today; I hope you’ve enjoyed the nature-art break. I’ll be back again tomorrow with some more sketches from my archives!

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