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LP08 24-26 Parsons_Layout 1 15/07/2015 10:19 Page 24


Animal forms
Victoria Parsons demonstrates simple methods to help build your drawing
skills and make your drawings of animals appear more three-dimensional

How to work with straight lines to build

the form

Photo reference of the subject. See page 26 for the finished drawing.

ts popular practice these days for

artists to reach for tracing paper and
projectors. I feel that the skill of
drawing is ignored in preference to the
application of paint and other media. As
a teacher I am actively trying to promote
the joy, satisfaction and accomplishment
that free drawing can bring to the artist.
There are arguments on both sides as to
the benefits of tracing. Yes, it is quick and
accurate, but where is the sense of
achievement that comes with knowing
that you have produced the drawing
without the use of mechanical aids? This
drawing time, after all, is when the artist
observes, discovers and learns about the
movement and textures of their chosen



subject. Im not saying for one moment

that we should abandon working from
photographs, but a good mix of studying
from life and from a two-dimensional
image is of great importance in both the
understanding of the subjects form and
movement, and bringing the animal to life.
For those of you who have been
practising drawing animals using the
morphing of human skeletons I
demonstrated in the July issue, here is
the next step to produce quick and easy
drawings that can be used alongside
photographic reference, and developed
into final artwork at a later stage. This
technique is perfect for setting down
information when time is short and makes

drawing on location in the wild or in zoos

or parks much easier and less frustrating.
Using this technique you will be working
with straight lines rather than seeing a
curve, which our brains are conditioned
to see through years of learning. Take a
look at the photograph of the two wolves
(left) and the simplified skeleton of the
skull and spine (above) I produced from
it. I then looked at the outlines of the
faces and reduced each curve to a series
of straight lines.
This is a much quicker and more
accurate way than trying to negotiate
a curve directly, which nearly always
ends up with many rubbings out and
the damaging of the paper surface. It is
a similar principle to creating a square
from a circle, but reversed. By first
drawing a square and taking the corners
off the square and cutting each line back,
you will be left with a circle.

Fleshing out
I have selected two skeleton bases from
the July article, the ape and a big cat
(right), and have separated the different
stages to make it clear for you. When you
try this yourself, just build up the different
layers on the one skeleton.
To begin, think about your own body.
You will know that inside your skeleton
you have internal organs, and over the
top of the skeleton you have a layer of
muscles and over the top of that, a layer
of skin. This is no different to any other
mammal. So when you flesh out, you must
bear this in mind and allow an area for the