The Rule of the Restless Subject

zoo2After a day at the zoo, I’ve learned this: there really is no creature who won’t start moving the minute you’ve started drawing it. Snakes – even snakes – who sit in the corner of their terrarium all day, hardly budging an inch, not even for the amusement of children, take up the creed that so many of my artistic subjects seem to, which is: “I will move immediately after you start to draw me, but only after you’ve made a good enough start not to want to start over” – it seems no living thing is exempt. I am convinced that if a tree had the ability to hike up its roots and lumber away, it would do so 12 seconds after I’d put pen to paper. But I suppose the fun is in the challenge. A friend and I were out with a sketch group at our local zoo on Saturday, and we painted and penciled our way through just about every part of the animal kingdom – and not even the tortoises would sit still. But it was fun, and a test of our mettle – and of my portable art supplies. Next time I’d like to try some longer periods of sketching with certain animals – but maybe on a day when there aren’t so many kiddos running around: they were harder to manage than the critters.




9 thoughts on “The Rule of the Restless Subject

    1. Thank you! To tell the truth, I read up on sketching animals in a book on life drawing, and even practiced a bit on my cats outside to prepare before I ever got to the zoo – it’s intimidating to try and sketch an animal you’ve never drawn before and try and catch it’s essence while it moving around in front of you! I wanted to make sure I was properly studied up ;p

  1. Wonderful and simple portrayal of these animals! I think the fact that the animals wouldn’t stay still actually gave your sketches movement and it gives feeling to the day. Excellent!

    1. Thank you! It’s true – I learned a lot more about how the animals moved by trying to draw them as they were sauntering around, even if it was a little exhausting trying to keep up!

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