Five Pages at the Zoo

Saturday was incredibly warm, and a perfect day for the zoo. Though we love the animals and the hilly terrain of our local zoo, “Stout Month” at a favorite Denver brewery drew us north — to a city-scape of shirtless joggers, flip-flopped teens, and sun-soaked animals.

As soon as we passed the entrance gate at the Denver Zoo, we noticed two quiet dik-diks warming in the sun. Over the next two hours, I stopped for a minute or two every few feet, wedging myself into a little space in front of crowded enclosures. It was a nice “museum pace” that worked for me and didn’t bore my husband.

Dik-dik animal sketch

I found myself using each opportunity to try something different. When animals were backlit by the afternoon light, it was easy to read the shadows as abstract shapes and quickly put them in place to build form.

Dromedary camel

I tried to look more than draw, concentrating on understanding proportions and shape relationships. As a result, I made lots of blind contour scribbles. This was a great exercise, but I was messing up my journal.

ink sketch

I was tempted to rip out these five pages. I also wanted to keep my memories of a lovely day at the zoo. Back at home, I decorated the pages with watercolor pencil, and I think that’ll do the trick for me. This fits better with the neat-freak vibe of the rest of my journal, and the words reflect what I was thinking about while I sketched.

It won’t be long before warm weather returns, and we’ll visit our own Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. After all, it’s a short trip from the zoo to another favorite watering hole – the excellent Bristol Brewing tap room.

2 thoughts on “Five Pages at the Zoo

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