Pr6-R.P: The Beautiful Animal Drawings of Mark Adlington


Adlington allows a lot of negative space to be left bare around his animals. The floor is suggested with a smudge shadow to ground the stag.

Mark Adlington long interest in animals really shows trough in his drawings. He captures there gestures, behaviours, expressions infect the very essence of the animal in these beautiful drawings. The drawings are minimal, there are no unnecessary lines involved Just enough. He seems to favour chalk but uses mix media.

From the web site I gather he spends a lot of time observing the animal in question in its natural environment often travelling to inhospitable environments to do so. He really has devoted his life to the pursuit of drawing animals. He takes quick line sketches of the beasts. Again only capturing the shape through deliberate lines marking the silhouette with minimal detailing with in to suggest an eye of skeletal structure. He also takes videos. Presumably to watch back to get the movement right.

Once back in the studio with collated data he draws on a large scale. Smudging and smearing a limited pallet he builds his scenes. Often rubbing the scene down with his hands leaving just a ghost of the original drawing then drawing the animal in a different position on top. In this way he cleverly shows an animal in movement or the under drawing becomes another animal in the back ground. Cleaver devices found through experimentation. It’s brave to keep working a drawing like he dose and know when to stop before it becomes too muddy.

Picture 1

Here Adlington uses a quick smuged sketch to heighten the sense the animals on the move. He shows a secession of the gallop gait of the goat.


This study of a calf shows how Adlington observes and really gets to know his subjects gestures and movements. Minimal marks are used but the drawing seems to have so much life.

Picture 11

These otters look like they could be water colour or ink with charcoal or chalk rubbed trough. The wet media what ever it may be gives a loverly sense of the fur undulating in the water.

Picture 10

Again negative space very effective giving the otters something to be suspended in and swim through. Natural movements very well observed and reproduced.

Mark Adlington is now on my favourite artist list. Thanks to OCA for including his drawings in the course material. Very inspirational stuff. Can’t wait to develop my own animal drawing skills.

On the Mark Adlington website there is a great video which shows his processes. Very helpful as a trainee artist to see some one at work in there studio and the field. Well worth a look for any one. Weather you want to draw animals or not.

The three very quick soft pastel and charcoal on ink back drop drawing below came about as a result of looking at Adlington drawings on my phone. I had not yet researched his work thoughly. They are a pretty poor efforts but will serve as a reminder point for me to pick up on and run with when I next get the chance to develop animal drawing skills. The middle ones my favorite it took under minute.


titch the yellow dog


Ted the black dog


Ted wolf


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

One comment

  1. Pingback: Part 5 – option two, Observation in Nature – Exercises | huntemmalogblog

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