A visit to the Zoo

November 24, 2008 | 9 Comments

A day off work and what better way to spend it than sketching… At the zoo!

I feel like this has been a bit of a break through… I have been scared of drawing people and animals but mentally was keen to give it a go today. Here are most of my pages  (about 5 of them were disasters! – the hardest thing for me is to get the eyes and mouth right the first time …if I didn’t then the sketch seemed to go from bad to worse)

I tried a few different techniques – my usual ink with only minimal pencil outline wasn’t working for me – so tried french grey prismacolor pencil and 0.3 fineliner pen – both which were a little more forgiving than the ink from my fountain pen.

Here is a sketch I did when I got home reviewing all the stuff I took and how little of it I used – this is mainly because I did most of my sketching standing up. Poor Borromini didn’t make it out of the backpack for a photo today – I was just too focused on my drawing obviously!


  • Sherry says:

    Your zoo pages are wonderful! Seeing the Komodo dragon reminded me of a book you might like. Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe) also wrote a nonfiction book about endangered animals called “Last Chance to See”. His chapter on Komodo dragons was unforgettable.

  • winna says:

    I admire your ‘being there” sketches–it HAS to bring a quality that only happens this way–and the last one of the supplies is so good….I would not last one minute under the conditions you had–physically, I have always been ultra sensitive to millions of things that keep me almost, but not quit, inside most of the time. I applaud your stamina!

  • Linda T says:

    Wow, these are great! You really captured a zoo visit, even the large cat laying there and the lionesses. Just delightful to look at! I liked your sketch of what you took and used.

  • john.p says:

    You sure had a prolific day at the zoo! You must have been exhausted when you got home. I like the spider monkey gesture poses the best. The indifference of the tiger is cute, too. They’re all keeper, though.

  • E-J says:

    Oh, they are fabulously lively sketches! I think you captured the essence of each animal extremely well. I had a great time on my visit to Taronga Zoo, but stupidly I didn’t sketch a thing.

  • hey liz! im another sydney artist – i left a comment on your post at urban sketchers.

    there is a building – hibernium house – that you really need to check out if you havnt seen it!! i have a painting studio there and its open to the street, you can check it out whenever you want. would be cool to have a sketch with you!

    you can buzz me on 0438070386 or email at [email protected]

    all the best 🙂

  • Trish says:

    I loved the zoo sketches. I admire anyone who can capture the sense and sights of a place as you did. I smiled at your sketch of supplies you took, I have the habit of taking “everything” just in case! Like you, I use very few out of my arsenal. Thank you for the visit to a zoo I probably will never get to see any other way.

  • Bonny says:

    Thes are wonderful sketches, Liz!! Had to look twice at one page and then I just laughd out loud when I realized it was an upside-down giraffe!!!!! Too funny!!!

    This is late in the day, but I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. We’ve already celebrated ours (in October), but just the same, I put up a post of my own about being Thankful.

  • freebird says:

    I think you’ve done a terrific job. I’m sure every artist has pictures they don’t like but the ones you’ve shared are great. I really like your giraffe page and I can sense the monkeys and their movements from your sketches of them. I like how you add in the watercolor. I tend to fill in like a coloring book and it seems boring while your way adds life to the pictures.

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