To begin a large format drawing in graphite you need a few things... one is passion, a passion for drawing and a passion for your subject. This comes easily for me as I love drawing and when I choose African wildlife as my inspiration.
Secondly you need dedication, for the process is slow and the technique is to build carefully, in multiple layers, to achieve depth and detail. Again, I am dedicated to improving my drawing skills and with every piece I do, I learn and add to my knowledge.
Time is also a factor as the size alone for these drawings determines many, many hours at the easel working with a tiny point of a pencil to cover the surface in multiple layers.
Once the composition is determined and the outline is down, I choose to begin with the eyes of the animal.
This gives the drawing life and I feel a connection that continues through the whole drawing process. If I get the eyes right, the rest seems to follow easily.
The size of this drawing is 30" high and 22" wide on Arches aquarelle. The pencils I'm using are Staedtler Mars Lumograph and only the grades of 2B and 3B.
As a child my excitement would peak with a sighting of the African wild dog, known to me then as the Cape Hunting dog, with it's large ears and painted coat, more common back then, as now they are listed as endangered due to loss of habitat and human/wildlife conflict.
To honour these extraordinary wild dogs with their organised family hierarchy and superb hunting skills, I will dedicate many hours in creating a drawing that will help raise awareness to their vulnerable position on the continent in which they live.
After many more hours, he now has two ears and his neck and body are taking shape and he's becoming more 3 dimensional.
So many wonderful textures to achieve from eyes to nose, long fur to short fur and values from light to dark.
Loving every minute!