Tuesday, February 17, 2009


African penguin drawingI've been keeping this one a surprise, and I guess it's for the best since it has taken me over three weeks. Last November, I visited my family back in Massachusetts. One thing I really wanted to do while I was there was to take my daughter to the New England Aquarium. She loves fish. I also brought along my camera for reference shots. The Aquarium has a wonderful penguin exhibit which is home to three species: macaroni penguins (rockhoppers), little blue penguins, and these African or jackass penguins.

Of course their habitat consists of fake rocks in a pool of water, but I wanted to put these guys outside. After viewing the landscape of Dyer Island, an island off the shore of South Africa which is a popular home to African penguins, I settled for a rocky shore right on the ocean. I drew the penguins first, with charcoal and a tortillon, then added the rocks with graphite. The sky is charcoal applied with chamois, and the water is charcoal with graphite waves and kneaded eraser highlights. And finally, the sand between the rocks is charcoal. There were several times I felt that things were going well and wanted to finish, but I just put it away for a day or two. I really like how it turned out.

The original and prints are available.

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