I realized I’d never posted the final image of Pete. Unfortunately graphite is a challenge to scan, so I might make another attempt at a later date. For now, this is a solid representation of the drawing. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m doing some art specifically for the Zookeeper’s Auction, an charity event scheduled for later this fall at Woodland Park Zoo. The subject: adorable zoo babies! One piece is finished and more are on the way. I look forward to sharing the auction art but I’m going to wait until it’s closer to auction time, so be sure to check back!
I’d been aiming to have this piece finished in time for the UW Natural Science Illustration reception on Thursday and I came very close. Although this current image is in my portfolio, I plan to continue fine tuning the drawing.
Pete’s not done yet, but I’m optimistic that I’ll have the drawing done by Thursday’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful reception so he’ll be in my portfolio. I lost a little bit of the shape of his lower lip somewhere along the way so I’m going to be double checking the drawing in that area when I start work on it next.
I’ve spent more time lately trying to sort out business stuff than drawing, and I’m a little sad about that. There’s a reason I went into art rather than business, but I understand being an artist does require a bit of each. I’ve finally gotten back to drawing and made more progress on Pete. Here he is, somewhat updated. I’ve been intensifying the shadows in his face and starting to get the hair growth pattern established on his arms and head.
This is Pete. He’s the patriarch of the Western Lowland Gorillas (group one) at the Woodland Park Zoo here in Seattle. He was born in the wild in 1968 like his counterpart, Nina. He has a fascinating face that I looked forward to drawing. I took this photo back in May and knew right away it would be a great reference to work from.
I’m rendering Pete in classic graphite for a couple reasons. For one thing, I already drew Nina in graphite and liked the idea of having a semi-matching pair. For another, there’s something incredibly soothing about drawing in graphite. I work slowly, gradually building up thin layers of graphite. It’s time consuming, but this approach gives me time to really settle into the drawing process. I have an ever-growing list of potential projects running through my head, and a lot to think about with the transition from classes to building a business. A detailed graphite drawing of Pete will help me take some deep breaths and slow down.
I can’t resist starting with eyes in a portrait because the expression is vital to a successful drawing, but other than that I try to not to focus too much on any one part at a time. If I work the entire drawing (or painting) at once I can keep the values (the range of dark to light) consistent across the whole thing. If I finish the drawing in sections I’m more likely to struggle with keeping it even. I’ve started with his eyes and I’m trying to build up the first layer of shading from there. There are only a few small areas in the whole drawing that will be white paper, so I’ve got a lot of shading to do!