Bactrian Camels, Bayan-Onjuul Soum, Mongolia
I’ve seen these camels a number of times now at a ger camp that I stay at, Arburd Sands. Nowhere else in my travels in Mongolia since 2005 have I ever seen one with a white face like this. He’s big, too. His legs have the same kind of spotted markings. These two were part of a large group belonging to a local herder. They were grazing and hanging around quite near to the camp. I sat and sketched them one morning along with taking a lot of photos.
Here’s one of the pages of sketches I did in 2012 which includes the white-faced camel in the upper right.
And here’s the step by step of the painting:
The drawing and value study; 14×11″ graphite on drawing paper
I drew a one by one inch grid on a piece of tracing paper to do a traditional graphite transfer to the canvas panel
Here is the enlargement grid and drawing transfer. It doesn’t have to be exact, just close enough so that the elements are the right size and in the right place. I use a transfer sheet that I made myself by covering the back of a piece of tracing paper with lead from a soft pencil. I use a 7H pencil to do the actual transfer tracing.
The Raymar canvasboard panel tinted with raw sienna. You can barely see the lines of the transfer if you look closely.
The initial brush drawing of the camels.
Now the background has been added.
The next step is to bring up the dark values of the camels, referring to my drawing as needed. I’m already indicating the wooly texture of their coats.
Initial color lay-in of the background.
First color pass on the camels. I correct the drawing as I go, if necessary. I decided that I really didn’t like the eye of the brown camel, so I went back to my reference and found another camel whose eye shape looked better.
I mostly finished the camels in one long sitting, but still went back and tweaked the heads a couple of times. I’ve now added clouds to the sky. I had originally planned to leave the sky just blue, but it didn’t feel right. I’ve also modeled the mountains in the background and started to work on the grass.
Once again: Bactrian Camels, Bayan-Onjuul Soum, Mongolia