Looking back at the feline encounters we had during this year’s edition of “Drawing the Big Cats”, perhaps the most endearing moment was to meet again our beloved Machaba leopard female in the Khwai River area of the Okavango, an to find that she had a new, incredibly cute cub.

Here are the first quick lines in my sketch of the Okavango leopard family
leopard and cub 1 a

Our little leopard family was resting in a secluded site, among shrubs and fallen branches, so that while trying to film and photograph them the vegetation made it annoyingly difficult to get a clean shot. But as a sketcher I find precisely those elements to be useful as suggestions of possible compositions. One day when I plan a scene for an illustration I may make tweaks and rearrange things here and there. But with only pencil and paper and a few minutes to make my sketch, I don´t judge what I see, just let the scene soak in.

The scene takes shape, offending branches included. I don´t give in to the temptation of deleting those elements…
leopard and cub 1 b

There is a delightful disorder in nature that is always more rich and spontaneous than our efforts to create order. Of course I need to arrange things according to a plan when I design an illustration, but sketching quickly and faithfully is the best way to remain mentally flexible. Letting nature be our teacher is the best way to make sure that we learn something new everyday!

Here is the “finished” sketch. Just as the environment provides the necessary shelter for the cats in the wild, the apparently chaotic elements of the vegetation are no less important than the cats themselves in this quick drawing
leopard and cub 1 c


Posted on 16/10/2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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