Sketching Elephants, Rhinos, Warthogs

See a drawing demo on how to quickly sketch elephants, rhinos, and warthogs. Tips for how to draw effective gesture drawings, by blocking out the biggest shapes first, and emphasizing the structure of the animal are explained and shown.

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster.

47 min. video

Video Walkthrough

  • Compared to drawing the human figure, it can feel “easier” drawing animals since people don’t tend to scrutinize them as well.
  • To get convincing shading in a drawing, it’s helpful to lay down the big blocks of tone and then figure out how get them to segue into each other.
  • Since animals are so incredibly different from each other, it’s helpful to look at animal skeletons and anatomy online to get a sense of the structure.
  • Prof Lieu’s technique of pre mixing ink gradients makes it easier to control the ink washes.
  • Prof Lieu tests out the ink gradients on a scrap sheet of paper, and then tweaks them to get an even range of gradients.
  • When using ink wash, it’s helpful to have a scrap sheet of paper while you’re working so you can see how dark the ink is in your brush.
  • Prof Lieu’s approach prioritizes tone, whereas Jordan tends to work in line more.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

In my opinion, the most important thing that as student can do is TRY! As a teacher, I’m really not that worried about the final results.

I have definitely had students who had brilliant drawing skills, but who rested on their laurels and did not try at all. I’ve also had students who didn’t have a lot of skill in a drawing class, but who tried so hard, put in so much effort.

That to me is so much more valuable than making a technically accomplished drawing.

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