Left: Puffin preening, head twisted around backwards, 7 x 7 inch page in Nideggen journal I made. Sketch made with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy pen. Sorry these pages are out of order. This sketch is the page before the spread shown above. The image which follows is actually the first spread I did on the day.
At the end of April I was able to sneak out and get to the zoo with my friend Bill. (I really haven't had a moment of free time and Bill's schedule is impossible so when an opening came…)
We spent three hours wandering about, sketching, on one of the few lovely, sunny days of this spring (i.e., there was no snow). It was actually so warm that everyone and their children decided to come to the zoo this Saturday and the Primate building was so crowded we got in 3 feet and the blast of heat and smell of human sweat was so overwhelming that Bill and I turned to each other and just walked out, no small task as we had to go against the tide and fight 3 double wide strollers.
We finished the day by sitting in the sun on a bench sketching people. Then we went off to Cafe Latte for lunch, that's always fun too.
Left: This is actually my warm up page. On the left (journaling cropped out) you can see some quick people sketches I made while waiting for Bill (who it turned out was seated out of my view down the hall from me!) When I started working on the Puffins I first used a teal brush pen—Zig Clean Color Real Brush. I can't recommend these pens. The brush is small so broad strokes are a bit difficult; it isn't very juicy. The dye-based ink isn't permanent or lightfast so you'll have to scan your work to save it; the ink is watersoluble. I tried these pens because I'm looking for more quick sketching options for life-drawing. But this isn't going to be one of those options. It wasn't even that fun to play with.
Above: My sketch of the sleeping snow leopard. I got down to the tail, put in a little bit of the rocks around the tail and was just going to go back to dig in with the face when a couple kids came and started banging on the glass, woke the animal, and he turned away (a sensible choice). I walked off and from a distance I sketched Bill leaning against the glass and some other folks milling around as well…
I don't have any photos or scans of what Bill got up to, but I can testify that he was very productive, especially in the people sketching department. It was a good day. Getting out with a sketching friend can be a great way to get your mind unstuck. I recommend it. And seeing puffins—well that makes any day better.