Sketching for fun

Last month I started my second module with the Open College of Arts, this one being Drawing 1: Drawing Skills, which I am hoping will allow me to practice and develop a lot of the observation and drawing skills that I’ve allowed to get rusty over the last few year.

Now working towards completing my first assignment, I have been posting progress of my work on the various coursework exercises on my learning blog ( However, despite carting my sketchbook with me every day, I had so far failed to feel inspired enough (or confident enough) to actually use it, until a couple of weeks ago, when a trip out with my friend ended with a spontaneous stop at Colchester Zoo.

I then decided to repeat this a week later, by wandering around the zoo solo, armed with both my sketchbook and my camera.

The red panda was quite a nice subject to sketch, as he was very sleepy, but I did find myself getting quite nervous when crowds of people started wandering, and after doing a couple of sketches moved on and walked around the zoo taking photos. It was not until the end of the day that I felt able to put the camera down and have another attempt at sketching, but unfortunately as it was near closing time I only had time for one sketch of the elephant!

A week later, on another afternoon visit with my friend, I decided to focus on a somewhat more difficult subject. The Amur Leopard in the following pictures moved around a lot!

I positioned myself in an indoor viewing area that was a little more hidden than the main enclosure window. I felt a bit more comfortable there than I had been standing at the red panda and fennec foxes enclosures. There were less people crowding around, but I did have to steel myself a bit when a child took more interest in what I was drawing than the prowling leopard!

Coursework and still life drawings then took over for a while, until this week, when I felt inspired to do some sketches in my a5 sketchbook just for fun!

These were completed in the evenings, and are drawn from my own photos. The bear and the otter were both photographed in Dartmoor Zoo in August 2016, while the two wolf photos were taken in Colchester Zoo in June 2016.

I’ve been enjoying experimenting with a range of materials, including pen, which I have avoided for many years as it is impossible to erase!


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