Wildlife Art – Realistic Graphite Pencil Drawing – Caribou at Creek

Wildlife Art – Realistic Graphite Pencil Drawing – Caribou at Creek

Composition can mean making difficult choices. When I composed Caribou at Creek, I struggled with the fact that I would be cutting off a good portion of the antlers. After all, although caribou have many beautiful features, those antlers are what we all think of when we think “caribou”.  

I wanted an intimate view of the animal that showed off that beautiful beard or dewlap, as well as those hooves.  LSpino_caribouWhy the hooves? Well, caribou actually do click when they walk, although it’s due to tendons in their legs, not to the sound of their hooves on rooftops!  Their hooves are large and help support them in deep snow.  Caribou are also excellent swimmers and their large hooves help them in this respect too.  

Both male and female caribou can grow antlers and they are the only species of deer to do so.  During mating seasons males will use their antlers to compete for mates, but both males and females also use their antlers to dig through snow to look for food.  

LSpino_caribou_close-upCaribou are uniquely adapted to their very harsh habitat.  Although when we think of the world’s great migrations we tend to think of the African continent, in summer reindeer start heading north in herds that can number in the hundreds of thousands.

I prepared a short time-lapse video of of the work-in progress for this drawing.  I hope you enjoy it!

If you have any comments or questions at all, please let me know!  

Encourage a young animal or wildlife artist

Help me encourage a young animal artist!

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me since I started this blog as well as my facebook page by paying it forward.  

This is back to school time for many budding animal and wildife artists. I’ve been fortunate to have one of my drawings featured in North Light Books’ “Art Journey Animals – A Collection of Inspiring Contemporary Masterworks”.  This is a wonderful compilation of animal art in all different mediums that is an endless source of inspiration!  

Art Journey Animals

I currently have a brand new copy that I’d like to give away to a young person who is interested in animal and wildlife art.  This book can provide endless hours of exploration of different artists and methods.  Many artists are featured in this wonderful compilation and the reader can delve further by viewing the websites of artists they admire.  If you know a young person who would enjoy and appreciate a book like this contact me here or leave a comment on my facebook  page.  I’ll select a deserving young artist from among the entries.

Please only suggest a young person who is still in school and has a passion for animal art.  This one is for the kids!!

Pen & Ink Wildlife Illustration

Pen & Ink Wildlife Illustration – adding colour

I’ve been a fan of pen and ink illustration ever since I can remember. Starting with classic children’s book illustrations by artists such as Arthur Rackham to scientific illustrations to technical drawings, they all hold a special appeal. These robin fledglings with their serious little faces make great subjects for that children’s illustration look I think!

LSpino_robin fledgeling

Sometimes though colour can add a lot of information to an ink drawing, especially in the case of animal or botanical subjects.  Traditionally, this has been done with watercolour and this is a popular method which yields a classic look that is still sought-after. The example below uses watercolour washes over an ink sketch.

LSpino_pen & ink & watercolourNowadays we have another option – adding colour digitally!  There are a lot of benefits to this because the original ink sketch can be done traditionally and scanned  or it can be drawn digitally.  In addition colours can be changed at will because the original ink sketch can be saved separately.  Saturation and brightness can be pushed to the maximun too.  Here is an example using the robin fledgeling ink drawing which was done traditionally on paper and scanned.

LSpino_pen & ink & digital colour

Experimenting like this is a lot of fun!  If you’d like to try your hand at pen and ink illustration be sure to check out Claudia Nice’s books.  

As always feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!