Saturday, 12 January 2013

This Week's Project: Sketching Wildlife

This Week's Project:
Sketching Wildlife

This week I was reflecting on how I have changed since becoming a parent.  

I feel:

- I have more appreciation of: stay-at-home parents; pregnant women regardless of the trimester they are in; single parents (who really ARE doing it single); breastfeeding mothers; husbands who respect their wives and make an effort daily to express gratitude; all parents who strive to be gentle and truly unconditional; parents who strive to be environmentally conscious; parents who remember how hard it gets and do get a little nosey and ask if you're going ok (yep, I appreciate that now!); I appreciate parents who express the struggles in their days instead of keeping up a facade of "perfection"  or only talk of their "successes"; ...
- I have more appreciation for child friendly restaurants, play areas and fences around playgrounds;


- I am more critical of parents who seem to criticise another parent (who they do not know) after 5 minutes, yet i (almost hypocritically) feel like stepping in and speaking up for a child in public who is shamed, smacked, patronized  intimidated and/or ignored.
- I struggle with anxiety and depression ... Some from being unable to control everything as a mother and also new "issues" that have risen from my own childhood.

Out of curiosity and a bit of fun i wanted to take a few quizzes to see how i might have changed ... I decided to take a few "what animal best represents you?" quizzes.. No two quizzes could agree on what animal my inner self is: wild dog, wolf, panda, antelope, kangaroo, beaver, ... And they all gave different reasons why I was that animal.

I wanted to draw a couple of animals as a reminder of my strengths in moments of self-doubt... In part it came down to which animals I could be stuffed drawing.. kind of lol ..
But I liked one description of the wolf and I adore wolves.. So drew the wolf first... I also love the home grown essence, freedom and maternal love of the kangaroo.. So picked that second :)

I LOVED having wildlife drawings in my book after they were finished... And decided that I would continue drawing them for January :)

My mother-in-law's birthday was also on us, so I found out her favourite animal (koala) and drew one as best I could.

The sketches:


I can not draw freehand without copying another picture/ photo/ having something still in front of me... I also can't help but add different shading/ highlighting and leave out little bits of detail (especially when I feel the urge for it to be finished with and to move on)..

The picture shows resemblance but my animals have their own character in the end..(one reason why I don't like drawing people- they won't reeeaaally end up looking like the original/model).. I also seem to focus on one or two areas with interest, in particular - with the wolf it was the eyes. A wolf's eyes intrigue me with their depth, both artistically and spiritually.. I've never seen a wolf in person but each picture and video of a wolf seems to show a pretty soulful animal.

I didn't have a pencil so used a pen and surprisingly I drew it without panicking that I'd fluffed it.. I enjoyed having nice thick (watercolour) paper to draw on instead of recycled paper... I enjoyed zoning out of the room and zoning in and hiding behind the sketch pad lol

I added detail for down the chest and body but became quickly less interested in continuing that so came back to the face again... I was more interested in forehead detail (how interesting for you all to know lol).
Well, here he is... (Could be a 'she' but it felt more like a 'he' while drawing.)

This was drawn while kids were entertained/distracted with tv and family after dinner.  It was satisfying to finish- a short and sweet accomplishment :)


Did you know an eastern grey kangaroo can feed two different aged joeys at the same time and provide each with different milk to suit their stage of development; they can also pause their pregnancy delaying a birth to wait for more suitable weather conditions? (Thanks Alma Park Zoo and my mother-in-law for those pretty interesting facts! :))

I decided on drawing a red kangaroo next though because the google picture I saw appealed to me - this specific kangaroo's aura (for use of a better word) and it's artistic capacity to be transferred to paper.

Original google picture:

I used pen again and I had a few moments of "urgh! Stuffed this one up" but it was surprisingly forgiving to draw... That is, with so much detail of shading, i could change shading of an ear, that started too low compared to the eye placement, into forehead.

The focus of the kangaroo was the eyes again and it stayed the primary focus of interest; the forehead and ears, like the wolf, seemed to become focal interests also :) I particularly enjoyed drawing the paws and peripheral shading of the eyes.  I particularly started to get impatient with (and secretly beginning to hate) fur after a little while lol

Here is mamma kangaroo:

She was drawn on and off through the day.  It was a priority for me as I was feeling very run down trying to keep on top of cleaning/cooking/ feeding/ holding my body up ..
When the girls were happy playing independently and/or my MIL was around them while they played, I stuck at it.


My mother-in-law is compassionate, deep thinking and very caring.  While being a very introspective and a meaningful responder (rather than reactor), I value her opinions, advice and experience.  With her birthday (very fastly) approaching I wanted to sketch a "your animal within" for her. I couldn't seem to pick one so asked (everyone) for favourite animals.  I found out her favourite animal, the koala, and thought it was actually a fitting "your animal within" for her as I saw her- cuddly (loving/caring), beautiful, less intimidating/in your face and more to-the-self, less disturbed by surface interference and more highly sensitive to real threats to habitat/ family/ health.. Cute/beautiful with grunt lol (not meant to sound insulting Debbie lol).
.. aaand all the personality adjectives /traits above I would see a koala to be if personified (compassionate, introspective, responder,..)

Original google picture:

So I got started... And stopped quickly.  It turns out it's pretty hard in such an active house to draw on a big notepad when kids just aren't interested in playing nicely with each other or without adult interaction.  Marika wanted to draw on the paper (not her own) and Remi wanted to eat it lol Also, having the recipient of the picture living with you adds excitement to opening and closing the book lol 

The "cuddly" was my focus overall but I can't help but be drawn to the eyes of an animal - so that's where I started... Earlier, my MIL passed on a lead pencil to me after I'd drawn the wolf and kangaroo and I thought it'd be perfect for the koala :) Interestingly, I seemed to struggle more in the beginning using a pencil than I did with the pen for the kangaroo/wolf. 

Remi helped smudge a lot and also enjoyed eating bits of rubber that gathered to the side of the page.

I drew a polar bear with 2 cubs awhile ago (not this week):

I found it similar drawing some of the koala as I did with the polar bears- the detail in where there isn't pencil marks... For example: the top of the polar bear mother's head; and the tips of the koala's ears.  It's tricky in the beginning trying to NOT draw the detail but instead draw shadows around it to highlight it.. Make sense?.. Clear as mud? lol

I again was about halfway through when I became impatient with/sick of drawing fur lol very fine detail started turning to larger swirly shading and smudging.. So my focus kept turning more to the trees - both so I could escape drawing fur and because I like tree details :)... I couldn't add too much tree detail though because the koala "cuddly" was to be the focus... And the gum trees are meant to be simple, smoother looking trees.

So here is the koala.. I don't like looking at my sketches too often after "finishing" because I want to just keep adding to it, touching it, highlighting/shading more.. I hope my MIL liked it :)... if anything else it was a nice time to reflect on how lucky I am to have such a loving, supportive mother-in-law :)

The Koala-

Putting the koala and kangaroo originals up side by side with my sketches you can see resemblances and differences.  Considering i drew them from the original pictures off my phone screen and with on-going interruptions, I'm pretty happy with the finished products :)


Do you like sketching? With pencils, pens, charcoal, pastels,..?
What do you draw and what appeals to you with that subject? :))

Love Bri!xxxxxxx


  1. I didn't like it Bri, I loved it. Thank you.

    1. :D ...
      ooh..I'm so relieved! :D
      I enjoyed drawing it for you! :)

  2. Dangit you're talented. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Kirsty! <3
      I feel strange being called "talented". I copy things and enjoy doing it, so don't feel there's any 'good' or 'bad' about it. If I'm happy with the outcome it's usually because it looks close to the original rather than bettered lol