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New Coloured Pencil Drawing

One of the greatest joys of being an animal artist is portraying special moments that I’ve witnessed and sharing these moments with a wider audience through my artwork.

As I am drawing, I recollect the moment with such clarity and recall the light, the sounds, the surrounding atmosphere, and all the events that led to that particular sighting that moved me.

My latest drawing is one such piece. One of the most magic moments on my last safari was when a group of five lionesses returned from a hunting trip early in the morning to their waiting cubs. 

The scene was lit with the warm golden glow of an African morning, the air fresh and clear, the cape turtle doves calling, and then the lionesses emerging from the bush with focused determination as they headed back to their waiting cubs. 

The cubs peeked up out of the long grass and were delighted to see their mother’s return after being left alone for more than a day and this little fellow couldn't wait to snuggle into his mum and receive her reassurance. 

'The Warmth of Motherhood' Polychromos on Arches aquarelle

For the arty side of this drawing my challenge was portraying the correct lighting and maintaining the anatomy of the lioness. I was careful to use directional strokes to form the anatomy of both animals.

The first question I ask is, “What do I want to say?”, this helps determine my composition and thought process towards the drawing. In this case, it was about the intimacy of the moment and so I cropped it tightly to focus on the bond between mother and cub. 

My second question is, “Where/what is the light source?”, this determines my values and colours. 

I selected my colour palette with warm and cool ochres, delving into violets for the shadow areas. The tricky part was making sure the transition from cool to warm flowed well. I made a short video during the drawing that explains how and why I chose the colours that I used, if you’d like to check it out, here is the link:

Here are some snapshots I made during the drawing process to show my work in progress. I don’t always work left to right, sometimes I am all over the place and sometimes I will do a complete underlay first, it doesn’t matter as long as the result is what you were after. 

First six steps in coloured pencil drawing of a lioness and cub
Work in progress steps of coloured pencil drawing

Final steps of coloured pencil drawing of a lioness and cub
'The Warmth of Motherhood'


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