Practice Method #6 - Sketch An Animal From A Photo


Sketching Wildlife

A Free Edx Course

For Practice Method #6, I went back to my free online edX Course once again and was reminded of this fun sketch I had to do of wildlife. At the time I was sick and it was pouring rain outside, so instead of making it a day out in the field, I scrolled through some old photos until I found this adorable chipmunk that had been playing with my dogs in the Maple tree by the porch.

My dogs thought they had treed this adorable homestead chipmunk, but we both know that it was the chipmunk who had taken my dogs hostage!  It was days before the dogs could finally get out and run around again! lol

Gestural Sketches of A Chipmunk

In class we were to find our subject and make some gestural sketches.  So I thought this would be a perfect lesson to revisit and use for Practice Method #6.  Gestural sketches are simple and quick sketches of movement and shapes, since typically your subject would be moving about.  Because I was sick, I created my gestural sketches from my many photos which I was so glad I took time to capture…


Working From Photos

Notice how I included my dogs.  In this next photo you can get a better idea of how tiny this little guy was.  Can you see him?  Hint: He’s NOT in the middle and his tail kinda gives him away...


A Great Sketchbook

Based on the above photos, here are my gestural drawings in my sketchbook… In case you are looking for a great sketchbook, you will definitely want to try this one out - I love it!!  Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook


Next I had to draw some additional lines with a colored pencil to show movement and more shape and some detail – I chose to focus on the middle one…


Pick A Pose

Next we picked some poses for our sustained drawings.  This was my favorite, so I got to work by measuring this little guy and making a binding box around him…


I really liked this pose, so I worked with it a bit more until he began to take on some lifelike features…


Do A Study of the wildlife you choose

And I did a complete study page with color, using my Prismacolor colored pencils.  I found him to be a Yellow-Pine Chipmunk, Tamias amoenus (J.A. Allen 1890).

His little tiny body is only about 2 inches long and his tail about 6.5 inches. He typically weighs about 49 to 50 grams.  They mate only one day out of the year around late April to early May and they have 4-5 babies in their litter about a month later.  They gather seeds in the Autumn for hibernation in the Winter.

This little guy was quite interactive with my dogs while gathering seeds from my Japanese Maples.  He clicked and clucked at the dogs and kept egging them on, jumping from branch to branch.  So cute and with no fear!


The Yellow-Pine Chipmunk

I really like how my study page turned out and now I have information on this Yellow-Pine Chipmunk stored away for future use.

I found this to be a really good class for me to take - It is still available for free online at the link I gave above and I highly recommend it.  It helped me to hone in on my drawing techniques with other subjects than just flowers, fruit and vegetables, and in doing so the practice caused me to draw quicker, and with more exacting detail.  I really enjoyed it. 

Isn’t God’s creation amazing?  It draws our attention back to the Creator and causes us to worship Him in all His handiwork.  Truly He is the Master Artist!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
— Philippians 4:8



Constance ReederComment