The best way to learn to draw and paint animals is observe them from life. But since they generally don’t pose, you’ve got to catch them sleeping, or hope they feel like standing still for a while.
Some of the great 19th century teachers organized schools that included painting animals, and they would often hire a farmhand to hold the animals steady. Heinrich von Zügel was photographed here with his students in Germany.
According to his account, they spent their time “drawing and painting in the daytime and discussing and drinking until midnight.” His students made precise studies indoors in the winter. In the summer they went outdoors and captured fleeting impressions of Nature. But thanks to those farmhands, the cows held fairly still.
Paul Meyerheim (1842-1915), another great German animal painter, had his master students set up in a courtyard of the Berlin academy, where they worked on oil studies of a mounted horseman.
When I taught my creature design class a couple of years ago, I brought my neighbor's goat Billy, who stood very patiently for my students as they drew studies of him. Billy seemed to enjoy posing. The farmer, Lenny, knew he would. "He'll love the attention," he said, as I lifted Billy into our van.
Thanks my friends and blog readers Christoph Heuer and Christian Schierkamp, who are doing some terrific research on 19th century German realists.
Day 3: Goat Day
Heinrich von Zugel