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Sketching Animals At The Zoo and Beyond

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Sketching to Build a Visual Vocabulary
Sketching from many angles builds your visual vocabulary.

Sketching from many angles builds your visual vocabulary.

Ed Hall, licensed to About.com, Inc.
To really draw any subject well, you need to know it 'like the back of your hand'. Gesture drawing is by far the best approach to studying animals in the field, and you can use the knowledge that you gain by capturing their motion for more involved works in the future, or back in the studio. Through these rapid-fire sketches, you are building a visual vocabulary of the large overall shapes of animals (think head/torso/hips as with the human figure to establish the three major forms of each animal), as well as observing the way they move and becoming familiar with their anatomy.
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