From Spots to Stripes

Last week the work was predominantly the spots on a cheetah but this week good progress has been made on the stripes of this Zebra.

Working in the contours of both animals so they don’t look flat has been quite a challenge!

I did not realize how much thought would be needed to make sure the spots and stripes did not look just like random flat black splodges or thick wavy lines!

Lots of subtle shades of grey are required to give a furry look and build in the important facial contours.

I have learnt a lot from drawing these animals… but still lots to do.

I am hopeful that both drawings will be finished for next week.

Task Complete

A few weeks ago I set myself the task of drawing four different butterflies.

The reason was to try something different as up until now my main subjects for drawing were portraits of animals and birds.

Here are the completed butterflies:-

It took a little longer than I had planned and it was more challenging than expected. I definitely prefer drawing portraits of animals and birds. I just love capturing their facial expressions. With insects their is not that same connection.

It is now back to animal portraits with this Zebra and Cheetah. The Zebra is in color pencil and the Cheetah is in graphite and black color pencil.

Plodding On… But Distraction was Required!

More progress has been achieved with the butterflies. The Orange-tip Butterfly is finished but I would have to say it is not my best. Part of the problem has been the reference photograph which was not always easy to interpret in places. This was particularly true where the head of the butterfly meets the flower. Also, the green and white under-wing could be better.

Orange Tip Butterfly on a Bluebell flower
Orange Tip Butterfly on a Bluebell flower

As for the Painted Lady Butterfly… well that is coming on better but the foliage is fiddly as the photograph again was not the best.

Painted Lady Butterfly on a leaf

To make up for these disappointments I started another project. Here it is… a zebra. An easier drawing that is not too challenging!

Zebra… a work in progress.

All about the Foliage

I have completed two of the four butterflies that I had planned to do. It has taken way longer than expected due to a holiday and just stuff getting in the way!

Here is the Peacock in flight and the Ringlet hanging off a grass stock. I am happy with how both of them have turned out.

The other two butterflies were the Orange Tip and the Painted Lady. The Orange Tip is just about there. It still needs a bit of work done on the bluebell and the Painted Lady is coming along. This butterfly really does need the foliage to give it context as the pose is a bit weird without it. I had hoped to get away without drawing in any foliage but that would have been just laziness. It is the way the butterfly is resting on the foliage that explains why it has one wing up and one wing coming out at the side. I chose this image for the challenge of perspective but there is still a bit of work to do before I am totally happy with it.

The main problem is that the foliage is a proving to be fiddly and I am having to use artistic licence to interpret the image. Right now I need to focus but that is easier said than done!

Foxy Update

I have now finished my little fox cub in colour and making steady progress in drawing Mum. Since last week I have now added Dad who is also progressing nicely.

After I have completed these three foxes, I will review my latest drawings and decide on what to draw next!

Collage showing a completed fox cub and the work in progress for the vixen and dog fox.
Foxy Family… a work in progress… the completed fox cub along with the vixen and dog fox both of which are works in progress.

Foxes in Colour – Work in Progress

From my recently completed charcoal drawings I have chosen to create coloured versions of the cub and the vixen. Here are images comparing the progress of the colour drawings with the charcoal versions.

Collage of four images that show a fox cub in colour and charcoal plus a vixen in colour and charcoal
mother and cub_ work in progress. Comparing the colour versions with the charcoal versions.

For the vixen I decided to concentrate on the head and shoulders as I really wanted to focus in on her expression. I just wonder what she is thinking!

Whatever it is, I still have a long way to go before the coloured drawings are finished.

Flower Conclusions

I like flowers particularly wild flowers. There is nothing better than to go for a walk in the summer months and spot all the different plants as they each take their turn to come into flower before disappearing for another year.

Collage showing nine different images of wild flowers
Collage showing nine different images of wildflowers

Drawing them forces you to focus in on the details such as whether they are hairy or not, how many petals they have and whether there leaves are arranged alternately up the stem or are opposite to each other. It is definitely a good way to get to know them better.
But the drawings I am currently producing… while useful for identification are at this point just sketches.

Collage showing sketches of flowers
Collage showing sketches of flowers

It will be sometime before I can represent them in a way that I am really happy with.

I still spend a lot of time photographing flowers. Most of them are just snaps as represented in the gallery above. These are OK for recording purposes but I really want to capture the subtlety of texture.

Photographing them out in the field is hopeless… particularly if like me you live in a windy part of the world!

The other option is to bring the flower inside and while it is useful in terms of having full control, the downside is that it wilt fast so you have to be quick to capture the moment. Also, you are in effect destroying the flower in the process of photographing it. Is that right?

I did for a while buy interesting flower shapes from florists but that was proving to be expensive! Although, I did produce some pleasing results as illustrated in the gallery below.

Cut- flower collage showing 4 different flowers
Cut- flower collage

They are of course not the wild flowers that I really wanted to capture.

Capturing that delicate subtlety of wild flowers will take a lot of photographing and a lot of playing about… but hopefully I will get there.

In the meantime I am starting a nocturnal theme.

Portrait of Tawny Owl work in progress
Portrait of Tawny Owl work in progress