See the full post for details, sketches, and some close up views.
Above: 8 x 8 inch (aprox.) journal handmade with 90 lb.TH Saunders Waterford watercolor paper (HP); the spread is about 16 inches wide; page prepainted with acrylic washes (the green/yellow background). Puffin sketches were made with a .3 Staedtler Pigment Liner and some light washes of Schmincke gouache (left page).
Left: Here is a detail of the puffin sketch to which I added light washes of gouache. I thought you might like to have a closer look at the paper texture. It's hot press and lovely to sketch and paint on.
Sunday, March 4 was the one-year anniversary of Liz Carlson's and Tim Jennen's sketching group Metro Sketchers. We were back at Como Zoo. At the wrap up meeting I counted 16 participants and noticed two sketchers I'd seen earlier weren't at the meeting. So there were at least 18 people drawing—a very good turn out indeed. You can see sketches at the Facebook page for this group. People worked in all different media and styles. It's always fun to see what people come up with.
Left: A detail of the puffin on the left, also sketched with a .3 Staedtler Pigment Liner. The close up lets you see some of the different line textures. Click on the image to view and enlargement. It's probably my favorite image from the day.
The best indication that Metro Sketchers is growing, for me, is the fact that no matter where I was there were a couple sketchers already working. I spent the day with Miss T. and Suzanne Hughes, making a leisurely but productive circuit around the exhibits.
Note: Miss T. doesn't have a blog, but Suzanne Hughes has posted her accordion fold journal that she filled this day at her blog. Check it out.
Besides the puffins we were able to stand outside and sketch the visiting Grizzly and Brown bears and the bison. It was a brilliantly sunny day, about 30 degrees F, and hardly any breeze.
We also sketched inside the big cats building, the herbivore building, and the Ape House.
Left: A lioness and a giraffe (in different locations at the zoo). The former doesn't look grumpy enough—she sure was staring at the Tiger out in his enclosure! The giraffes were moving about a bit so I started out borrowing a quick gesture sketch technique from my figure drawing class. Since he settled down with his head away from me I could work on the back of the head view. Why bother? Well, drawing this head allowed me to discover that this giraffe has a perfect heart shaped spot at the back of his right jaw!
We ended our sketching day at the zoo by going into the people-crowded ape house. There are lots of varieties to choose from, but most move quickly and I admit I was a bit tired by this point.
Note: a couple of kids were kneeling at one glass plane of the enclosure of a small species of monkey (I didn't note down the name, not the Spider monkeys) showing their iPhones and other objects from their mother's purse. The monkeys were peering with great fascination.
I opted to sketch Amanda, one of the orangutans. She's a painter herself, so when I finished I showed her my painting kit, by kneeling close to the glass where she sat. Then I showed her my sketch. I'm not sure on what level she recognized it as a painting or likeness, but when my two companions knelt down to show her their work she did make a sign at us with her hand before rolling over.
Left: Amanda, an orangutan. (She's a bit more orange than the paint indicates. We were mixing colors in very low light conditions.) There's also a very quick sketch of a gorrila head using only my Niji Waterbrush at the right of the page. I was essentially done and ready to head to the meeting but he moved his head in an interesting way and I still had that brush in my hand.
After the wrap up meeting at Como 6 hearty folks continued on to Cafe Latte for a "snack." (Of course I had Chocolate, Chocolate, Not a Typo, Cake.) We all also did a bit more sketching at the restaurant!
Then it was time to head home and get caught up in work. All in all a very pleasant afternoon spent observing animals.
Don't forget that you can contact Metro Sketchers on Facebook. They meet the first Sunday of the month at rotating locations; noon to 3 p.m.
You can go to sketch at Como 365 days of the year!