As you can guess, I did do that small natural history illustration course with the University of Newcastle. My camera was a help in doing so – not that the photos that I used were the sort of thing I needed a Nikon D800 for. Basically, my source photo was dreadful from both the composition and technical points of view. But, it was informative.
I needed to draw an animal and preferred to do so from my own photograph so when a wallaby bounded into my sister-in-law, Pat’s, home paddock in the Hunter Valley, some opportune shots were snapped from her house verandah. Needless to say, any bounding wallaby shots just on dusk were not going to be good. The animal bounced out of the paddock, briefly stopped, and I got my shot – albeit a rather blurry one – and with a 24-120mm lens a somewhat too far away one as well.
I did enlarge the wallaby, but all that meant was that I could see it better – and even blurrier! However, with my assignment due in a couple of days – that wallaby was going to do.
I did enjoy the drawing process. First it was necessary to establish the outline of the animal; to look for shapes that would construct and define it as a macropod:
Next we had to think about the anatomy and muscles and how this underlying structure would impact on illustrating the animal. Tonal variation was also considered and added at this stage.
I probably should have left my head as it was but the eyes were wrong and I tried to fix them and ended up with a little bruiser rather than the delicate face of the original. But I must say I was impressed how a lot of circular, scribbly lines in a variety of pencils tones would give the impression of the fine, matted fur of the wallaby.
I would have to admit though, that I am quite pleased with my drawing. The course had been a lot of work, but totally delightful and I am pleased to live at a time when my camera can give instant photographs – both of my subject and my drawing – and all can be uploaded online for assessment, viewed by colleagues on Instagram, and shared with family and friends on Facebook.
Originally published on 9th November, 2018