Drawing Animals

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Chinchilla drawing sketch by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

I have nothing against drawing animals and will draw them if I have to.

But generally, drawing animals is not something I typically seek out to do.

However, in a recent children’s book illustration assignment for grad school, our class had to:

  • (a) realistically draw 20 animals, then;
  • (b) create three animal characters for a children’s book.

I’ll share the latter in a future post but for now, here is one of the 20 realistic animal drawings showcasing a furry chinchilla.

You can see several other animal drawings here.

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

 

Oil Painting: Toast for Breakfast

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Oil painting of toast breakfast dish by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

In the fall of 2017, I took my first-ever oil painting class as part of my MFA in Illustration with the Academy of Art University.

Needless to say, I had never oil painted anything in my life before the class.

But since having taken the class, I’ve become really interested in the medium (more about my oil painting interests in a future post).

This painting was done for a still life assignment.

Our class had to paint an object with a reflective light on it, hence why the knife takes center stage here.

While far from perfect, for not having painted much of anything before this class, this came out much better than I had hoped.

Thinking back on it ….

While there are some definite tweaks and improvements I could make to this, I was and still am pretty happy with how this turned out, given my then-limited oil painting experience.

What do you think?

~ Enjoy! 

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Composition Practice Sketches In Vine Charcoal

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Practicing composition in my drawings

Anyone serious about illustration (or art in general) recognizes just how important composition is to one’s drawing.

Prior to attending the MFA in Illustration with the Academy of Art University, I had not formally studied composition.

I had a natural yet untrained instinct for it, but now with several grad school courses under my belt, I recognize just how unrefined my composition work had once been.

I’m still working on improving the composition of my illustration work.

For example, in my charcoal thumbnail sketch (A) above with the square-shaped, white plastic bottle to the left, my instructor said I had good composition but he had wished I hadn’t cut off the box off to the right.

Practicing composition in my drawings

In the composition above (E) with the two smaller jars on the left and large jug to the right, my instructor said this charcoal thumbnail sketch had the most interesting overlapping forms and shadow shapes.

Composition is critical.

I need to keep at it.

In addition to my grad school assignments, I’ve also been taking an online composition course (Pictorial Composition with Nathan Fowkes) on Schoolism that’s been helpful. A little advanced but helpful nonetheless.

“Great art requires great composition; our work cannot achieve its full expression without a practical knowledge of pictorial composition.”
Nathan Fowkes 

I feel fortunate to be learning from so many talented folks.

Until next time,

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

 

 

 

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A Child’s Portrait Sketched with Pastel Pencils

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Young child sketched using charcoal pencil

I drew this young girl’s portrait (in value only) using CarbOthello Pastel Pencils on toned paper.

This portrait was for a grad school illustration assignment and drawn from a photo reference.

It’s always a challenge to capture the likeness of a person, no matter their age.

For this assignment, the goal was to better understand that a child’s head and facial proportions differ significantly from that of an adult’s.

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Let's stay in touch!

Sign up to receive occasional insights, tips, and bonus content! Plus subscribers receive a link to my FREE ILLUSTRATION STARTER GUIDE.

I won't spam you. And you can unsubscribe anytime. Powered by ConvertKit