“Did I hear a squirrel up there?” the leopard thought

It has been months since our last “Drawing the Big Cats” trip to Botswana, but each encounter with the felines remains vivid in my mind. Today I remembered that beautiful leopard in Savuti, and the way she cocked her head at a sound coming from the treetops above her. She was so much like my house cat “Kali”, who used to look at the sparrows perching outside our window here in Madrid, with that particular mixture of curiosity, lust, and a hint of irritation at not being able to catch them…
I look back at the videos and pictures we took of the leopard, and I discover so many new details that add to my memory of that encounter, and I decide to make a quick drawing which allows me to explore some aspects of that moment.

As always when sketching I try to get the general outline and proportions right as quickly as possible, before getting to work in the details
Savuti leopard-1 baja

As I go along I fill in the shadow patterns and make the spots ever more bold
Savuti leopard-2 baja

Even when the drawing is taking shape I like to look from a distance every now and then, and to look with my eyes half closed to see general patterns and not be distracted too much by detail
Savuti leopard-4 baja

After all, details make our drawings so lively but it is also sooo easy to get lost in them and lose the big picture!

Drawing the big cats is always exciting, but when you have the opportunity to draw what you actually saw there are so many subtle nuances that get into your artwork. And then of course there are the memories of the great times shared in the bush. Being there with a small group of like-minded people really turns the trip into so much more than just watching wildlife. It becomes a journey of discovery, and one that changes us so deeply for the better, and we return home with a deep sense of gratitude for having been able to experience such an immersion in the wild. As long as the big cats and their natural environment endure out there, our world will remain a really wonderful and mysterious place to live in!


Posted on 20/01/2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sheila Collins

    I don’t comment too often here, because your descriptions and illustrations are so crisp and clear that they leave few questions. I just want to say today: thank you for the time and effort you put into this very educational & entertaining blog, and WELL DONE!

  2. Thanks, that is very kind from you!!

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