The Squirrel and the Mournful Gorilla

Grey squirrel sitting on a log
Grey squirrel sitting on a log photo ref: Jason Morgan

Squirrels are very common where I live. Now that the leaves are off the trees you can easily spot them running along branches and jumping from tree to tree. As well as squirrel watching, I spent a good part of last week finishing off the drawing of a grey squirrel.

I am really pleased with the way this piece has turned out and consider it to be one of my better drawings. The previous exercise in drawing charcoal squirrels was really useful in focusing on values and has brought more depth to the drawing.



Variations on a squirrel
Variations on a squirrel

As well as drawing a squirrel, I found a Gorilla image that I liked at  Wildlife Reference Photos that had a good tonal value. This I considered would be another good subject through which to explore contour through shading.

My initial sketch was done on recently bought  Canson C a grain paper, a paper that is relatively smooth and not too textured and Conte Noire pencils. These are materials that are new to me but unfortunately, I became preoccupied with exploring their properties. Therefore exploring contour did not quite go as intended but the final result although quite sketchy is nevertheless interesting for its texture.

Gorillaf (2)
Gorilla using Pierre Noire pencils on Canson C a grain

Now more familiar with the Gorilla, I drew him again on Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper using pan pastel to map out the variation in values in lights and darks.

Then using color pencils, I selected a variety of different whites, greys, and blacks to build up the detail.

Interesting how different pencil manufacturers can have different types of whites and blacks.

The second drawing of the Gorilla is not quite finished yet!

Looking at both drawings, it is interesting how the expressions are slightly different! Although the Gorilla below is more accurate to the reference,   I prefer the expression on the Pierre Noire pencil sketch.

It will be interesting to see if that is still my preference when the second drawing is completed.

Gorilla progress
Gorilla progress using pan pastel and colored pencils