Pack your bags, we're going to the Zoo!

I’m sketching at the Zoo Zoo Zoo

How About You You You

You Can come Too Too Too

Im sketching at the Zoo Zoo Zoo.

We’ll I did it! I went past my comfort zone once again. About a month ago I had the idea that perhaps I should start sketching at the zoo – this made me excited, nervous, and to be honest a little fearful – and my goodness it’s been a while since I felt that combination of emotions, so naturally I decided I had to go for it! After about a week of thinking I purchased my first Toronto Zoo membership, set a date and got prepared. My boyfriend agreed to dog sit so that I did not have to worry about how long I left my pooch, I googled what to bring to when visiting the zoo in winter, borrowed a backpack and foot warmers and set off to the Zoo.

I was nervous! It takes me a long time to be comfortable to do art in front of people - ask my friends and family! And here I was preparing to sketch in front of complete strangers!! I just seem to love to push my comfort boundaries, (shakes head) but when you get an excited nervous feeling – you can’t just ignore that.

So after I pulled into a quite frankly WAY busier parking lot then I imagined, I sanely whilst sitting in my car self-talked my courage up, grabbed the backpack and set off.

I walked around the first hour taking pictures with my camera.

Hour two hit and I was starting to really negative talk myself while looking at the animals. Could I sketch this one? How many people were around? If it was really busy my courage disappeared under the snow about 50 ft away.

“Decide on an animal!” I said to myself and walked past some Otters swimming. Love!! How I would love to do a piece of art with an otter in the water!! Okay decision made! I entered the indoor pavilion and walked to the window and sat down….

Have you ever notice how frigging fast Otters move and swim?! What in the world was I thinking! I couldn’t even take a photograph without it turning out blurred and my plan was to sketch this A.D.D animal on Speed? Yah, wasn’t going to happen. Shaking my head and saying goodbye to the sleek swimming beasts I walked back out into the winter cold.

Luckily for us all I’m more stubborn then my bulldog Tater tot and I was not about to admit defeat. Outside was where I would sketch I decided (as there would be less people) and I came upon the wonderful polar bears.

Waiting my turn up to the window in a far corner I found my spot. First I stood taking photos…. After a few deep breaths I pulled out the chair I brought and sat down.

“Did you bring a chair mom?” a young girl beside me asks.

“No, I didn’t” I hear the reply.

“But you brought a chair?” the girl says to me.

Smiling and nodding I reply “Yes, I did”

After a few more minutes I opened up the backpack and placed the sketchbook on my knee.

“Are you going to draw?!” the same little girl asks, pulling me once again from my mind games.

“Yes” smiling nervously, “I am”

“Mom, I want to draw!” she quickly exclaimed.

After several minutes of more courage mustering with this little audience amegio firmly in place to watch the action I pull out the pencils and slowly begin to work.

It doesn’t take long to realize sketching animals in life is nothing like from photos. They do not really stay still for long. If you wait long enough though there usually emerges a pattern. A certain circuit they seem to walk repeatedly, certain locations or times where they move their head the same way, extend their limbs in the same pose, look in the direction you started sketching. I started light, using only a 2B pencil and continued working quickly until I discovered a pose the bear seems to continue to hold and that’s the one I decided would be the main sketch that I would concentrate on.