Pr6-Ex1: Grabbing the chance to draw animals


  • For this exercise I used..
  • A3 sketch book
  • ball point pen
  • collection of drawing pencils
  • oil pastel
  • sepia chalk drawing pastel
  • Medium charcoal stick
  • 8b fat Graphite Stick
  • Dilute drawing ink and coffee
  • brown parcel paper

I’v been looking forwards to this exercise ever since I started the course. I am lucky enough to have easy access to both horses and dogs. I wish I had more time on this but as I am behind I gave the exercise aprox 6/7 hours in total. I think the drawings improved as I progressed, which is of course what I want. I approached the exercise like a life class. With quick warm up poses then longer hopefully more detailed ones. I loved this exercise and feel there is so much more to explore and expand on in this area for myself.

For the first session I spent 3 hours drawing the horses I work with different media. I prepared some of the pages with coffee to try and get the aged mottled effect seen in Durer’s ‘A young hare’. I also stuck some brown sugar paper into the A3 book I was working in to see how drawings on these surfaces might turn out.

I went out to the fields where I braved the scorching sun and what seemed be a passing swam of wasps as well as the dazzling glare from the Wight pages. Who new drawing could be so dangerous.

The horses were very interested in what I was doing refusing to stay still. I got a few quick sketches down before moving field to an old horse who was less interested. Here I managed to get some better studies.

I then went to the stables and drew from the more stationary horses.


Drawing horses in field


Wombol – grazing


Wombol – standing in stable yard


Wombol – head over stable door


Inky – Black horse eating hay

I found their size and shapes quite challenging. I think I got the proportions ok but fell I would like to spend a lot more time drawing them as there is a lot of room for improvement.

The next day I spent three hours drawing my parents dogs. Starting with Ted the black German shepherd then Tich the yellow lab. Again I prepared some of the pages this time whit ink splots.

I found it easier to get to that feeling of when hand and eye start to really co-operate and the drawing process starts to feel really natural. I’m pleased with how this sessions drawing turned out.

For the final drawing time was getting a bit tight so I worked very quickly. If I was not behind on my assignment 2 deadline I would have left it to another day to do a more considered drawing. However, saying that I am pleased with how the drawing looks and it has reminded me many of my favourite works by other artist capture the essence of the scene not a photo realistic representation. In this way I think we can see the artist in the work. How he she feels about the scene and the circumstances under which the art was created.

I used sepia, white drawing pencils plus a black charcoal pencil and a green/grey colouring pencil on brown parcel paper. I quickly drew in the basic shape as I knew from the prior studies the model would soon change position as he seems to like to sleep flat on his side. Then I focussed on the texture. I like the outcome as a drawing. I am pleased with the anatomy proportions and pose. I think the dog has a weightiness. His shoulders are raised showing the bulky blanket below. Perhaps I should have coloured the hole of the surface the dog is laying on to allow the mid tone parcel paper to act as the colour of the dog alone.

As a likeness it is a total fail as Titch the yellow lab has turned into some sort of hound or lurcher. I used quite long strokes for the fur as I was rushing. This has made it appear longer than it is. The mussel is incorrect for my model. The dog had moved before I had got this in so I guessed at it.


Ted – the black dog


Titch – the yellow dog


Final drawing – Dog on blue blanket

I found the prompts in the course material really useful for this exercise. Working on two or three drawings in tandem is such a handy tip and really works well as the animals move between these limited posed. Also using the fur marks to show the underlying anatomy is effective. I look forward to drawing animals again. Hopefully it is something I will be able to return to later in the course and spend much more time on.


The Model – holding a great long pose in the garage, what a star!


Viewed from directly above looking down


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

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