For this exercise the directions are to find scientific and biological sources for animal anatomy in libraries or online, and to copy interesting images loosely but make them your own so that they are something more than an replica.
I started by doing a Google search and began by copying the images – once I had done this I felt that I had enough practice and a feel for animal anatomy to begin to experiment and turn the images into something of my own rather than just straight copies.
i also looked back at some notes on bird skeletons , and Anatomy from a course that I attended at London Zoo in September with artist Katrina van Grouw. After my initial sketches that I did in 2B pencil I decided to research bird anatomy as I feel I have some basic experience in this field thanks largely to the study visit at the zoo and a recent trip to Birdland in Gloucestershire where I sketched penguins for exercise 3. I did some sketches of penguin skeletons which I developed into a mixed media collage using coloured paper and newspaper – I then loosely sketched a basic Skeleton onto my collage with a white drawing pencil. I was aiming for a simplified drawing of the bone structure rather than a purely scientific drawing.
i really enjoyed this exercise , although I am not fully sure that I completely understood what the brief for this exercise was – so I hope I have done what was asked of me.
book – the unfeathered bird by Katrina Van Grouw – Princeton university press 2012
This exercise is about capturing live animals in both line and tone to gather information on their character , structure , slance and posture.
On 2nd December I visited Birdland in the Cotswolds.
I am able to get close to two species of penguins – king penguins and Humbolts.
I did a series of line drawing in my sketchbook and made colour notes. I also did a sketch in colour and some tonal studies. I then did a mixed media drawing using pen and ink washes, coloured pencils and marker pens on coloured paper.
I feel that I did manage to capture the essence and structure of the Penguins in my sketchbook studies however I feel that my mixed media drawing does not really work – I think that the grey paper that I used didn’t work maybe I should have choosen a different colour such as sepia?
however I do feel that I enjoyed this project and the challenge of drawing such an unusual animal.
for this task I selected a piece of rock with tiny specs of fossil embedded into it.
as my rock was Fairly delicate with fine markings and texture I decided to use graphite pencils – I used a mix of hard and soft pencils building up the tones slowly. I lit my rock with a heavy lamp above it so that it cast a deep shadow. I experimented with the postition of the lamp as I wanted the light to pick up the delicate tracing over the rock. I worked from the lightest tone to add volume to my drawing and spend several hours carefully drawing – looking at the object and drawing scribble lines to suggest texture without looking at the page. I also added some subtle hatching on the darkest tones. I also used a stump and putty runbber on my drawing.
I feel really pleased with my finished drawing and really feel that I am beginning to make some progress with the course and that my drawing has started to improve.
the task for this exercise is to do a series of line drawings of animal. The task is to gather together a series of different poses using different media to suggest form and structure and movement.
For the project I sketched my ten year old female cat. The cat has long furry coat that tends to look very bushy.
I began by doing some very quick sketches of the cats basic shape and form in pen and pencil. I then did some longer sketches using a graphite stick. I found using the graphite stick worked really well as I was able to gather the movement of the cat fairly quickly. I used a variety of marks to suggest texture of the fur. Bolder lines worked better as the cats fur is vert thick and unruly.
for my final sketch I drew the cat on top of the kitchen radiator as I wanted my drawing to have a sense of a greater picture – the domestic cat in its natural surroundings.
Again I really enjoyed this exercise and found I enjoyed the challenge of drawing a lively animal. I also feel that I did capture some of the animals personality.
After researching artists that depict animals in their work the next task is to try out some of the methods used by the artists.
I decided to have a go at producing a mixed media piece inspired by Mat Dube’s multi tool drawings.
I began by moulding by hand a simple face shape out of a small piece of blu-tack pressure sensitive adhesive and also a simple hand shape. I then took a photo of the blu- tack sculptures. I prepared a piece of textured watercolour paper with a graduated blue ink wash aiming for a patchy uneven effect. Once the wash had dried I glued the head and hands onto the watercolour paper. I then used coloured pencils and marker pens to add tone and definition to my drawing. I also added a drawing of a coati a small mammal copied from a drawing that I did at London zoo two months ago. I really enjoyed having a go and found the task very interesting and refreshing
on the whole I was quite pleased with my effort and really want to explore mixed media further.
Portuguese / British artist Paula Rega often uses animals and humans together in her work I am going to research other contemporary artists that include animals in their drawings.
There are numerous examples of contemporary artists depicting animals in their work – so I decided to look at artists that produce work that stir in unusual ways.
I looked first at Mat Dube an artist and sculpturist. Dube in his series called ‘ multi- tools ‘ uses mixed media in a really refreshing and different way. Dube is primarily concerned with how humans have tended to exploit animals with little regard to their well being, so is keen to explore the forgotten connection between humans and animals.
Dube has devised an innovative technique to produce his drawings – he begins by creating tiny clay sculptures of faces , hands and heads – which are then photographed onto watercolour water. Then using the image as a collage he then adds pencil, and watercolour to add texture and colour to the drawing. The effect is a very emotive and expressive image.
Louise Pallister born 1966 uses drawing, printing making and film to explore ‘animal fate’ she particularly explores extinct or endangered species. The artist uses mixed media and skilfully removes and lifts out areas of the drawing with an eraser. The finished drawing has a fragile almost enthereal quality perhaps fitting of the animal’s status.
Katrina Van Grouw is an expert in the field of bird anatomy – she prepares her own specimens and carefully draws the bones and muscular structure of the birds. She is the author of ‘the unfeathered bird’ a beautifully illustrated book containing 300 of her drawings.
the picture on the left below is an example of Mat Dube’s mixed media drawing resource
the drawing on the right is by Louise Pallister