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Make-it Monday: Drawing Animals using Shapes and Lines

Sketching animals can be a challenging task for many artists, especially when it comes to capturing the essence of the animal's form and movement. For this "Make-It Monday," we are going to explore the importance of using shapes and lines in sketching animals and how it can help to improve your drawings, and then we will finish by walking you step by step through drawing a toucan! Our Combination class students will be practicing using basic shapes and lines to sketch forest animals for their watercolor project this semester, so we thought we'd get a head start!




USE THE SAME ONE WE DO IN THE STUDIO (Amazon basics sketching set)


When sketching animals, it is important to understand that the animal's form is made up of basic shapes such as circles, ovals, and squares. By breaking down the animal's form into these basic shapes, it can help to simplify the drawing process and make it easier to capture the animal's essence. For example, when sketching a horse, the head can be represented by a circle, the body by an oval and the legs by cylinders. By understanding how these shapes relate to each other, it can help you to create a more accurate and detailed drawing.

In addition to shapes, lines are also an important element in sketching animals. Lines can be used to define the animal's form, create movement, and convey emotion. For example, curved lines can be used to create a sense of grace and fluidity in the animal's movement, while diagonal lines can be used to create a sense of energy and tension.

It's also important to pay attention to the details of the animal's features such as the eyes, ears, and mouth. These features can be used to convey emotion and personality in the animal. By paying attention to these details and using the right lines, it can help to bring your sketch to life.


There are many different ways to draw birds, and today we will walk you through one simple way to draw a toucan:

1. First and very important...Draw LIGHT til you know it's RIGHT! We teach this every time we are drawing because it's always frustrating when you are drawing dark lines and then you make a mistake...and suddenly it is very hard to erase those dark lines. Instead draw light, "sketchy" lines that will be easier to erase if needed. Hold your pencil lightly and use very little pressure with your pencil on the paper.




2. Lightly sketch simple shapes-ovals, triangles, and rectangles-to represent different parts of the toucan's body and the branch. The tail is behind the branch. Keep the shapes organic, not perfect geometric ovals or rectangles. This will convey more movement and life in the bird.






3. Adjust the shapes to be more accurate to the toucan's body parts. Drawn lines can get slightly darker as they become more accurate.

4. Add details to the toucan's body, like its chest, eye, feathers, and chest area.

Overall, using shapes and lines in sketching animals is essential for capturing the essence of the animal's form and movement. By breaking down the animal's form into basic shapes and using lines to define the animal's form, create movement, and convey emotion, you can improve your sketches and bring them to life. Remember, practice is key, so keep sketching and experimenting with different techniques.



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