When Wildlife Visits the Studio
Drawing inspiration from local wildlife
I must admit when I moved to Australia to live, after growing up in East Africa, I was astonished by the absence of visible wildlife. Most creatures here are small and many are nocturnal but luckily we are blessed with a large and colourful variety of prolific birds. Being a wildlife artist and being passionate about wildlife, I do miss seeing the megafauna that graced the savannah of East Africa.
As I was drawing in the studio on the weekend I had a special visitor waddle past the door and this intriguing creature was an echidna, our native anteater. I occasionally see one when I’m out and about and it is extra special when they wander through the property.
The echidna, along with the platypus are unique in the world as being the only two egg-laying mammals and are known as monotremes. How amazing is that! The egg is soft-shelled and is put in the mother’s pouch to hatch. The baby echidna is known as a puggle.
Throughout the spines, the echidna also has quite coarse hair and they have the cutest little face with a long snout used to dig out ants and termites (hoping he didn’t find any of those here!)
I managed to sneak outside and quietly get a quick video and watch him for a while. They are very sensitive to sound and as soon as they detect you nearby they drop to the ground and tuck their head down for protection and then photography becomes a game of patience.
Coloured Pencil Drawing
However, a few years ago I drew an echidna in coloured pencil from a reference I took of one that was visiting my garden. This fellow was quite content to be pottering around the bushes foraging for ants and I was able to spend quite some time with him which was a real treat. I couldn't wait to draw this cutie from my special experience with him.
The challenge with the drawing however was all the spikes, they were quite tedious to draw and at times, confusing but I took my time with them and found if I put the drawing away for a while and then got it back out I would have fresh energy to work on it.
'Ants on His Mind', Caran d'Ache Prismalos on Arches aquarelle.
I hope you are inspired by your local wildlife!