Baby elephant walk

At the Wild Animal Park in San Diego we road a tram around a wide open savannah styled area, and at one point passed by the elephant territory where this baby was tossing hay into his mouth. Due to a tram breakdown in front of us we paused for a little while there, but not long enough to get a detailed drawing, so this was drawn later from a photo my husband took for me. I prefer to draw animals from life if they hold still, but that’s just not always possible. Still, I learned something from this experience that will help me the next time I encounter a live elephant and am not passing by at 10 miles an hour.

More often than not these days I’m trying to match the paper and art tool to the subject matter rather than drawing in one journal consistently. That’s why I have so many different books going, I suppose. For example, yesterday’s Hollywood and Highland jazz concert was drawn in a very smooth paper Moleskine with a brush pen. Using a brush pen on coarse recycled paper would have made it difficult to get fine detail. Trying to draw an elephant with charcoal on the “toothless” Moleskine would have been equally challenging. The native palms I posted a few days ago was done in a journal with white paper that accepts wet media. So I always have to remember to date the drawings to provide some sort of chronology. I don’t have one journal, I have a journal group or cluster that move forward like a mooing herd . It’s an odd system, but it works. And the variety of paper and media keeps me challenged and experimenting. And what’s more fun than that?


  1. Jean Mikulla
    July 13, 2006

    Karen I recently saw an exhibition of sketches from some of the Hudson River Painters. What impressed me was that only a few of the sketches were done on cream paper. Most of them were done on pale green with a transparent white wash. Before they even started to draw they had their middle values in place. Jean

  2. lin
    July 13, 2006

    SUPER, Karen!!!! I have to admit that I’m pretty stubborn about finding a way to use a single sketchbook, paper, waterpen, pencil ….I guess part of my reasoning is that I LOVE spiral books so much and I’ve found that I really like the 100# Raffine all media books … that I tend to focus my journaling/sketching in those. I like their heft size, portability and SIMPLICITY … after coming from collage with all the boxes, stakes, piles, drawers, and bags of ephemera .. this simple book, pencil, travel watercolor makes me feel FREE!!! LOL

  3. Felicity
    July 13, 2006

    LOVE the way you’ve done this elephant! That combination of paper, charcoal and white is actually one of my favs but I just don’t do it, I really ought to! The image of your sketchbooks as a moo-ing herd is super!

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