Monday, April 27, 2009

Growing Princess

The Belgian filly named Princess is getting bigger and stronger day by day. I bring my sketchbook on the morning walk and try to do a sketch each day.
She's in constant motion, so I find I have to try to observe her so that I internalize her form, choose a pose, and then draw her from memory. She has a very slender muzzle and undeveloped chewing muscles in her cheeks. I love the curly brown mane and the fuzzy topknot.

The sketches are done with water-soluble colored pencils.


Brine Blank said...

So you've went the route of 'growing' your own models!!! I don't know why that passed over me when you announced the birth of it.

That being said, I'm a bit late on this but was at CCAD in OH when you came for the visit. You are a great guy and I continue to use this valuable resource almost daily. Really look forward to the book in the fall and will actually be looking at using it for a textbook. We continue to push the need to be able to draw what you see physically well so that you can (with using appropriate references) draw what is in your mind and bring it to life. Your sir are a fountain of knowledge and inspiration.

Oscar Baechler said...

As a zoo regular, I totally agree about process for when they're moving around.

The conundrum is that usually the only time animals are still is when they're sleeping, and you can only do so many sleeping poses before getting bored.

Steve said...

"Really look forward to the book in the fall..."

Will there be a new James Gurney book in the fall?

Victor said...

I find horses heads very difficult to draw. Unlike human faces, which everyone has an innate knowledge of, it's so hard to look at my terrible horse portrait sketches and figure out exactly how they are incorrect. I have an especially hard time with the placement of the eyes, which on a horse seem to float in some random location on the side plane of the skull. Furthermore, the fact that the skull is on a diagonal, and a constantly changing one at that, makes triangulation of the eyes difficult.

Some times I try to do head-on drawings of horse heads, but they always end up looking weird, too.

Victor said...

"Really look forward to the book in the fall and will actually be looking at using it for a textbook."

To add to Steve's question, are you releasing some sort of instructional text? I'm dying to know more!

kirsten said...

I've been trying to sketch horses when I take my daughter to riding lessons once a week -- when I was in high school there were a group of us who were absolutely crazy about horses and we drew them all the's fun to come back to something years later and see what you've retained. I've found that I can do heads but have a terrible time with their legs! And the moving around part is difficult -- when they are being tacked up is a good time to catch a relatively still horse.

Douglas Ferreira said...

Congrats for the blog!I am a big fan of your books!Is there a Dinotopia 3 on your plans??maybe you did it allready but it didn't get to my country yet!Best wishes from this side of america!

Erik Bongers said...

A walk an a sketch each morning?
That sounds like a nice breakfast.
I would assume that this daily sketch of the same (growing)subject should also grown on you, that is, that horse should eventually become so familiar that an evolution of these sketches themselves should be appartent.

Hope to see all these sketches lined up one day.

jeff jordan said...

You gotta love the persistence of the fans, Jim!
I just finished my third album package for a well known rock band, and for a couple weeks I was getting questions from THE FANS, like "Did you do the new cover? What does it look like?"
Somebody leaked the cover a couple weeks ago, so I'm off the hook.
You certainly must enjoy the "feeding frenzy," I know I sure do.......
Thanks for inspiring so many of us.

James Gurney said...

Yes, there will be a book coming! I was waiting to break the news until the cover was final. Check out today's post.

Because of a ton of machine spam, I've had to set up a word recognition step for the comments. Hopefully it will be temporary.

I'm glad I'm not alone in being challenged by drawing horses. Victor, you expressed all the things that makes it hard to capture their faces.

Carl Knox said...

I feel almost embarrassed to tell you this... but I just read Dinotopia for the first time last month... I'm almost glad I didn't read it as a kid as it took me back 15 years as soon as I opened the covers. I sat on the floor cross-legged and read it cover to cover.

Thanks so much for this gift to all us kids and kids at heart. Looking forward to the new books with anticipation.

Unknown said...

Awesome studies!