Just before New Year’s, I
posted about the 12-day challenge I was doing in the Zooly Weekly Art Challenge group, where we normally have one animal prompt a week. This one was a modified 12 Days of Christmas, and those few of us who participated had so much fun with it, someone is already working on the list for next year!
I said I would post the rest of them, and here they are, a bit later than I intended, but it’s been kind of an intense week. I was both relieved when I was done (because I had lots of other art I needed to be doing) but also kind of missed the daily critter to focus on.
I finished off the previous post with “four Collie Dogs” — here’s the one where you string out the vowels, like this: Five Goooooldeeen Frooooogs! These guys are Panamanian Golden Frogs (which are actually toads). They are also quite deadly poisonous, despite their diminutive size (35-63mm or 1.4-2.5in). This may seem a strange replacement for five golden rings, but it scans nicely- sing it!
There seemed to be an awful lot of birds in this challenge! I used to be kind of bird-averse in my art, as they always seemed kind of… overly complicated, but doing so many different kinds for Zooly and the “Explore” books has made me much more confident in my bird portrayals. Notice there are two adult Canada geese as well as four incipient geese in this picture, for a total of six!
Here are seven Australian Black Swans. Nobody said they all had to be grown-ups! I was working in my sketchbook for all of these, so the paper was kind of weird for watercolours, as it tended to get ripply and need the borders Photoshopped to get rid of the shadows.
8 cows a-mooing! Well, one seems to just be photo-bombing (or sketchbookbombing). I never really appreciated how interesting cows are to draw before; I spent a couple of blissful hours in bovine contentedness drawing these. What a great way to start the year!
9 ponies prancing — kinda sounds like 9 ladies dancing, right? Well, it rhymes, anyway. I really didn’t feel like drawing from reference that night, so these steeds might not be anatomically correct in every detail, but they are colourful! When I was a kid, I drew horses all the time. I read a book about magical ponies that were all different rainbow colours (not My Little Pony, they hadn’t come along yet) and I started drawing all my horses in non-regulation colours. My 4th grade teacher absolutely could not stand that, it made her completely buggy, and she railed at me about why couldn’t I draw horses realistically. I got tired of it after a while, and I told her “I’m an artist and you’re not, and I’ll decide what colours I want to paint with.” I think I scared her a little, because she never got into it after that. Or maybe she figured I was hopeless and a rude child. Anyway, now I’m a grown-up artist, and I’ll paint my ponies whatever colour I want. So there. Also, nobody else ever used the purple crayons, so lots of my horses were purple because I liked fresh crayons. Also, if anybody knows what that book was, please tell me. I never had a copy of my own, it was a library book.
10 Lemurs a-leaping: I was kind of surprised at how much like a life drawing warm-up page this looked – lemurs (these are ring-tailed lemurs), being primates, have a lot in common with us structurally. The challenge is to not make them look like furry humans with cat faces and stripy tails! After I scanned it, I was experimenting with trying to make the page look like a tattered old parchment, since it was so smudged anyway, but I think it needs more work.
Eleven (sand)pipers piping! Another day when I couldn’t face drawing anything detailed (I’d already done an entire Quadra Cats page that day). So I took myself off to the beach — looked through a bunch of my photos until I found the one with these sandpipers, which I remembered taking, just not when. Arthur, my cat, was fascinated by the brush stroking back and forth, back and forth, for the waves, but he restrained himself and didn’t play with the brush or smudge anything.
Finally, the last day of the challenge — it spanned the holidays and the New Year and kept me out of trouble! Well, sort of — I forgot that this one was “hares”, not “rabbits”, and ended up putting all kinds of bunnies in this one. It was also the very last page, back cover actually, of the sketchbook I’ve been working in for the past two years, so now I’m ready to carry on in the new year with a new sketchbook! The paper was kind of blue-ish, so I popped it into Photoshop after scanning it and added some white details to bring out the dimensionality of the bunnies.
I’ll be happy to do this challenge again next year, and I’d love to try some of these animals in a more serious effort than a quick 1-2 hour sketch in my sketchbook. It was a great way to start the year; since then I’ve been very busy drawing pages for the
Quadra Cats webcomic, trying to get ahead a bit (new pages go up Mondays and Thursdays) so I can get to work on some other things — like more blog posts, yes, and a new book about orcas. Tags: 12 days of Christmas, black swans, bunnies, Canada goose, cows, golden frogs, horses, lemurs, ponies, rabbits, ring-tailed lemurs, sandpipers, swans, Zooly art challenge