Drawings from one of my sketch books
I was going through drawers the other day and I found several old sketch books. I started looking through them and remembering where and sometimes when I created the drawings. I don’t always date my sketch book drawings, which is unfortunate, but my best guess is that this particular page is from the early nineties.
I think I have mentioned before that some of my artist friends and I would go to the zoo or other locales and sketch. It was always fun even if the sketches weren’t good. The pages in my sketch books usually have overlapping images because when drawing live animals you have to work quickly so there is no time for page design.
My favorite location was and still is the zoo. I especially like the very early morning just after the zoo opens. The animals seem energetic. I remember one particular morning a friend and I were at the zoo. We had split up but were still within sight of each other. It was a bit chilly and the big cats were very talkative and the monkeys were all too eager to counter with whatever they had to say.
The sketch book page included in this article was done at a zoo, but at a special bird section. I don’t remember which zoo, but the exhibit was fascinating. The birds were in a large aviary that was filled with lush tropical plants. Some of the birds could fly or sit on limbs and some walked around on the ground. There were ducks as well as many birds I had never seen other than in a picture.
The blue pigeon had a funny bunch of feathers at the top of his head and his legs were spotted. Those were the two traits I emphasized in my sketch. I indicated the rest of the feathers with quick strokes drawn in the direction the feathers grew. The blue pigeon was walking around under plants close to the walk.
Laughing Kookaburra is the bird you hear in jungle movies. You know the OOoowaaahhHH call in the background. I love the shape of the bird and the beak shape. The bird did do the call while we were there which made us giggle. I used heavier lines for the dark parts of the bird, but again because of movement by the bird details are kept to a minimum.
This is one of my favorite ways to sketch. You have to work quickly to try and capture the gesture of the subject that is being drawn. With sketches and photos I can then go back to the studio and use the information to do a more formal drawing. Formal is good, but there is nothing more fun or challenging than drawing from life. I highly recommend it.