Thursday, June 26, 2008

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel

I'm working on my first drawing since coming back from Yellowstone. It is a Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel. It looks a little like a chipmunk but after showing it to the park ranger in Yellowstone he told me it was a Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel.

I learned quite quickly that any time you saw cars pulled over and people out of their cars, there was usually an animal to be spotted. Sure enough there he was in all his glory - this little critter. He was a real charmer, running up really close and then darting away. Mike Sibley was sitting down on the ground with his camera and super long lens taking pictures of him and the little thing almost ran up his pant leg. It's not a great picture since he ran so fast, but you can see the little squirrel's bum as he escapes a few feet away from Mike's foot.

What a sight that would have been seeing Mike dance a jig right in the middle of Yellowstone!

Anyway I've been trying to decide what to draw since I got back and kept going back to the little squirrel despite all the larger and more impressive animals I was able to get pictures of.

Like I said, he has lots of character. This drawing is 6x6 and unfortunately is on Bristol Vellum. When I started drawing it I kept wondering what was wrong with the paper then I realized instead of using my Strathemore Smooth I had pulled out the Vellum. It is much rougher paper than I like to work on but didn't want to start over so I'm just going to go with the flow here. I'm using graphite mechanical pencils, 2B, 4B for the really dark bits and I think I'm using just a regular HB too.

In the wild, the squirrel is rather camouflaged against the rocks so I wanted to keep him rather close to the value of the rocks as possible but still make him stand out a bit so I've been using my Blu-Tack to lift some of the graphite on the rocks as I go. It is really kind of neat to do that because you get a rather abstract pattern that you can enhance to make your rocks look very nice.

I will probably work more on this later tonight and then post my progress tomorrow.

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