Looking for a completely different challenge, I was wondering if I would be able to draw realism from a greater distance. I mean, drawing close-ups is actually easier, since all the details you can put in make it look more realistic. So, this time, I have picked a cute reference photo (by blickpixel) on pixabay.com of a baby barbary macaque riding its mother’s back. That’s a double challenge, since monkeys are so hard to draw! They quickly become some kind of caricature…
I decide to start with the baby’s face. That’s the hardest part, and if that doesn’t work out well, I might as well quit the attempt.
First, I draw the rough outline of the animals. When I start on the little face, I really wonder what I’ve started. The eyes are so small I can barely get in one single colour, let alone draw shades and shine! So much for that fun… The mouth is also tiny, but I manage to use several colours there. I have to tell myself to just keep going, without worrying about the result yet…
As soon as I draw a bit of a body shape, it starts to look a teeny bit better. And when I put some rough details into the face, the cheeks, and put some shading on the upper lip, for the first time I have a slight feeling it might be going somewhere! A bit of light grey and blue on the edges makes the fur look shiny. The little nose is formed by shadows and a light shiny tip.
Then, I’m getting impatient to start with the second part of the challenge: the background. I start filling it with panpastel, using a circle ruler to create a bit of a bokeh effect on the left side. I ignore the light shape behind the mother’s head and fill it all with greens.
The baby’s body doesn’t have that much detail. The knee is interesting, some light spots suggest that the coat is thin there. The hands and feet are also formed by suggestion; the tiny joints and nails are barely visible.
Mom’s fur is a mess, which makes it easier to draw. Dark patches suggest skin or undercoat, light hairs on top in all directions make it look messy. A few shadows around the baby’s foot make it seem like it’s holding on to mom’s coat.
Between the baby’s hands, a touch of purple makes the fur look downy and fluffy there.
Mom’s face doesn’t have much detail either. A real challenge, to get expression on her face, with only a few ‘marks’ as eyes, nose and mouth to work with! I use a lot of bluish green on the face and under her chin, as the grass is reflecting in the shadow. Around het head, adding white fluffy hairs with dark tips makes her head look fluffy and furry.
Well, I cannot say the result is disappointing. It was challenging, but I feel like I pulled it off. The baby has a completely different face from the reference, but I like the expression of mine too. And although it’s not a very bright colourful drawing, I’m satisfied with the textures. How about you?