I don’t like zoos. I know children and adults everywhere LOVE the zoo but I always feel bad for the animals. They always look so sad and bored. Plus, there’s ALWAYS that idiot that bangs on the glass. I’m sure the animals love that.
I almost didn’t do these exercises but wanted to stay true to the spirit of the assignment. Plus, I live next to a free zoo and didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
I went on a day that kept trying to rain but never really got around to it. There was hardly anyone there and at times I felt like I was there alone! It’s was pretty cool. I’ve never gone to the zoo with the idea of sketching the animals before and I found myself really paying attention. I’ve probably never seen the animals as well as I did this time.
I started with the birds of prey.
This is a white stork. I’m not sure if an ornithologist could tell from my sketch but I feel like I did an okay job. I tried to just draw the bird as opposed to sketching the shapes (which is what Sonheim suggests in Drawing Lab) but it was a decent start.
I headed to the bird house after this and sketched the duck at the bottom. I adore ducks. I didn’t capture the cuteness and the serious paddling of the duck I saw but I was very interested to see that, because he was swimming when I drew him, the water really does make a nice, straight line across the bottom. Part two of this exercise was to experiment sketching animals while shading. I will only say that these are exercises and, with practice, perhaps future sketches will be more to my liking?
I hit the reptile house after the birds. I tried to pay attention to just the shapes of the animals’ bodies. I know the frog doesn’t look like much but I was pretty proud of myself for sketching her leg somewhat accurately. It took me a few tries, though. For instance, that’s a frog on the top left, not a turtle. But I paid attention to the shapes and did a better job underneath.
I moved whenever too many people gathered or, in the case of the alligator leg, whenever a business man started banging on the glass.
Finally, on to the ants. I love ants. I’m not sure they were a good sketching subject though: they’re very fast, and small and, since I could only see them clinging to the glass, I mostly had to draw their bellies. Plus, they weren’t shaped like regular ants (they were soldier ants in a cutter ant colony) – they had HUGE, double-bubble heads. I swear!
I know the quality of my sketches is sub-par BUT! I was very excited once I started this exercise and I can easily see myself doing something like this again and even – dare I say – getting better at it!