Friday, November 2, 2012

Putting the African Savanna into Context

11/2/12 fountain pen, Diamine Gray ink, watercolor, Hand Book sketchbook
In the same way that my sketches of people in coffee shops tend to look like floating heads, my sketches of zoo animals tend to be isolated figures. A crane, a giraffe, an orangutan – they all seem to end up in my sketchbooks without context.
So just as I’ve been trying to give floating heads in coffee shops a place to be, I decided that on my frequent visits to the zoo, I would try to give animals more context, too. This afternoon I had only an hour before closing time, so I quickly trotted over to the African Savanna exhibit and was lucky enough to catch zebras grazing. A voice on the P.A. system was announcing the zoo’s imminent closure when I spotted a huge, lumbering hippo. No time for context, but I did manage to sketch her (either Guadalupe or Water Lily – I’m not sure which) from all four sides.
11/2/12 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Hand Book sketchbook


  1. Drawing in the surrounding context is a a good idea to move your art forward. However, I really do like that hippo butt! It is so minimalist and yet so charmingly amusing.

  2. I like that you added the savannah around the animals, but I like the views of the hippo too. I scrolled down to see what I missed...nice to finally "see" you!

  3. Thanks, Kate and Joan! I'm kind of fond of the hippo butt, too!One nice thing about sketching the hippo -- she moves slowly. :-)

  4. I just smile every time I come back to look at her! I can just see the slow waddle. :)


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