With the New Year come new painting projects. We try to take time off between Solstice and New Year’s Day because that’s when things slow down for my husband, who is the executive director of an information technology consortium, but I can’t stay out of the studio completely. I have a bunch of ideas for paintings with Mongolia subjects and this morning I thought I’d do a few drawings of argali and try different drawing media. All of these are done on 2-ply vellum bristol. None of the four took more than 15-20 minutes. The idea was to limber up after a break without worrying about doing a pretty, finished drawing. I wanted to catch the character of the animal and the rhythm of their body and movement. Please DO try this at home.
This is a try-out to see how he “draws” since I have a painting idea in mind. He’s a big, old ram with battered horns that will be an interesting challenge to paint. I also like the shadow pattern on his head. Drawn with a 6B Wolff’s Carbon pencil.
The gold standard in fieldwork for wildlife artists is the animal Doing Something. Prey animals like argali tend to be running away, so lots of butt shots. But this one took off from stage right to stage left, giving me a perfect chance to record a variety of leg positions. Also drawn with a 6B Wolff’s Carbon pencil.
Another jackpot. He’s going up the rocks parallel to me. Drawn with a Cumberland Derwent Drawing pencil, Venetian Red. These have a fair amount of wax in them, so are more like a fancy crayon. They feel soft on the paper. I don’t think I got very interesting line quality, but did feel that I caught the tension in the hindquarters as he is about to push off.
This one is from pictures I shot on my first trip to Mongolia in April/May of 2005. The animals still had their winter coats. This ewe was part of a small herd which had come down to a stream for water one morning. I find 3/4 head views challenging, partly because I know that I have to compensate for the flattening effect of the photograph. Drawn with a 2454 Conte crayon. I hadn’t used these in awhile and found I liked the line quality and the way the Conte felt on the paper. This sketch took maybe ten minutes.
So you can see that what you draw with can really change the appearance of your drawing. The only way to know what will work best for you is to experiment with different combinations.