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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Using Zoo Time

If you like to draw, zoos are good place to be. You can hang out near the slow-moving animals, like the rhinos and elephants, or try to capture movement near the raptors' cages.

Yesterday the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society had its annual sketchcrawl at the zoo. My modus operandi was to do a page of fast gestural drawings, not seen here, to warm up. I recommend warming up. In fact, I recommend warming up way more than I did. It would've been good to warm up for a half hour just to work out the kinks.

After doing some quick colubus monkeys with a brush pen, I sat down to do their environment here. If I were going to do it again, I'd start by painting in only values with watercolor, then laying the lines back on top. Had I pulled that off, it would've made a better sketch, because the scene really is about values more than line. I'm a sucker for lines, sometimes to my detriment.

I also took a lot of photos for later use. On something like a zoo trip, I might try to capture a somewhat realistic depiction of the animal. Better yet, let's call it a more or less TRUE depiction, as in: here were the general shapes, here were the accurate proportions, my best attempt at color, etc. Here's what the flamingo more or less looked like."

When I go back to the photos I took, however, I'm likely to go a little freer, a little more stylized or to exaggerate. Observational drawing teaches me to look at the animal. Drawing from memory or from photographs lets me exercise imagination.

For My Writing Friends

For my writing friends, I wonder ... Is there any equivalent of a writing warm-up? I don't have one, but I'm a big believer that the creative process is similar from one discipline to the next, so it got me wondering what would happen if I figured out some version of quick-sketching as it would apply to writing.

What do you think?


Don West said...

I've never understood why they named a dance style after a bird with such spindly legs...

Meagan said...

Free writing... stream of consciousness is a pretty good equivilant to gesture drawing.

valorie grace hallinan said...

I don't have a warm-up process per se, but now you've got me thinking. Stream of consciousness and free writes work well for me, sometimes, but sometimes, that is too loose. Sometimes a quick short poem or haiku, which has some structure, somehow loosens me up. Also, reading inspirational quotes on creativity and writing.