Summer holidays! I have a day off and my son and I have big plans. We want to spend a cozy drawing morning in the small urban zoo. For the first time Zoo Sketching.
The beasts are not in the cage, but in front of it
Although we were there early in the morning, there were quite a few visitors. Many small children with parents and / or grandparents.
This is a special challenge for someone who wants to observe and draw an animal. The animals are very restless when small hands keep pounding against bars and glass panes, the noise level in the aquarium and reptile area is extremely high due to the cries of children.
We cannot just stand in front of an aquarium and draw in peace. We deliberately avoid family groups, step aside and wait patiently for the horde to pass. Because adults are curious and have to touch everything and everyone equally, they simply never shut up and verbally document everything they see.
Those with manners are pleasant, calm people who know how to behave in a zoo and have taught their children that. There are also, but on this day they are clearly outnumbered and flee quickly when it gets too loud.
The good thing is that our negative examples basically lose interest in the animal world very quickly, take a few selfies with the little ones until a dwarf roars: “I want ice cream!” And the herd is finally run into the outside area – and suddenly we are alone again in the reptile area. Perfect – that’s how it should be.
Finally alone … and everything is moving
First we thought which animal we want to draw. The fishes were too nimble for us, so we went back to the reptiles and somehow the snakes were very active. No wonder with all the noise before.
So no snakes, they are fed up with people. My son is a little disappointed, but that’s where we see our model. An African mud turtle. There it sits ironly and defying the storm of children noise still on its tree bark – while the rest of the turtles has gone.
We are happy about such a perfect model. We start drawing, standing still, my son a little closer to the window, parallel to the turtle. Suddenly the turtle turns it´s head and looks at what my son is doing. The turtle looks at his pen and the light paper with interest, and poses again. It was really a great experience.
In the zoo, people forget that the animals see them too. That is why calm movements, quiet talking and a respectful distance are very important so that you have such a nice experiences.
Of course, we will visit the turtle again – and maybe it will do such a nice posing again next time.
Tips for Zoo Sketching
- Don´t try to do so much in short time. Just choose an animal you like to draw and spend a nice time with it.
- First take a time to observe the animal before you draw. Let your eye catch up all the small details.
- If you have not so much time, then take a picture of the animals from different positions, then you can use the pictures as a reference later and start to draw at home.
Is there any Zoo in your area? Then go there and don´t forget your sketchbook.
A challenge and a big joy.