Call of the Wild: Youth & Adult Students Draw Animals in the Brave Real World

Our irrepressible youth sketchers have forged ahead to improve their drawing skills while enduring month after month of pandemic restrictions. And they’re staying true to their passion for drawing as they balance online school courses with phased reopening of hybrid classrooms.

Youth sketcher Scout emailed me several drawings of animals that she did during a Cabrillo College art course. Scout practiced various techniques including making dots to create a stipple effect in her beautiful ink composition (shown above).

Animals seem to be a favorite subject of interest for our community of sketchers. The wilder the creature, the better.

Mobile Drawing Coach (MDC) youth student Libby masterfully drew this sea turtle during our Zoom session. She blocked in a few large shapes to measure proportions, sketched contours and textural patterns, and then took time to draw final details.

Learning at school in the virtual digital world has not been easy to navigate for many kids. But finished drawings are tangible results that students can hold in their hands or hang on their bedroom wall in the real world. Our diligent sketchers apply their drawing skills to school assignments whenever possible.

Swimming fish drawn by Naomi.

Youth sketcher Naomi has focused on school projects throughout the pandemic. She enjoys assignments that include drawing as part of the lesson. 

In her recent email to me Naomi included a wonderful drawing of swimming fish (shown above). She wrote, “Hey Rob, if you think it’s good enough to put on Drawing Board…then you can if you want. It’s just from imagination, but it was originally a school project. You had to set yourself one limitation on how you could draw it, and mine was that I couldn’t draw a straight line.”

Long-time MDC youth sketcher Amma recently fell off a horse and broke her left hand—which happened to be her drawing hand! So, for our Zoom session I set up a horse statue on my table. Amma got right back in the saddle and started sketching with her right hand. As we drew together, she cranked out an awesome study of the horse.

Our adult sketchers love to draw animals too!

Boldly sketched lines compose this intimidating wolf by adult MDC student Mike.

The Call of the Wild “Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as [Buck] heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire and the beaten earth around it, and to plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew not where or why; nor did he wonder where or why, the call sounding imperiously, deep in the forest.

Even cute little cocker spaniels listen for the call of the wild. Beautifully detailed pencil study of textures and folds by Mike.

“But as often as [Buck] gained the soft unbroken earth and the green shade, the love for John Thornton drew him back to the fire again.” —The Call of the Wild

Mike’s pencil study superbly captures the elegant movement of birds in flight.

Please enjoy a quick blog post I did 7 years ago about artist Alexander Calder and animal sketching.

Adult sketcher Marcia did an excellent job of depicting the textural surfaces and facial features of this baby meerkat. Marcia is a school teacher who knows the valuable role drawing plays in her own life as well as in the classroom. 
I set up this fuzzy little creature for a recent MDC Zoom session with Taylor and Kennedy—fearless sketchers, they are! Whether learning at home or at school, drawing is a perfect learning process for the entire family.

Our sketchers trust their innate desire to draw and their passion for creativity remains healthy. As Jack London wrote about the dog named Buck in The Call of the wild, “Not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again.” 

Optimism in the Air Talk of the phased reopening of schools is drifting in the springtime air. As pandemic restrictions recede, we’ll be able to laugh and draw with friends again. The call of the wild will lure us back into the bustle of sharing creative ideas with the world once again.

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Rob Court

Founder and drawing coach at the Scribbles Institute, Rob helps adults and kids learn basic drawing skills for work, school, and enjoyment. He is the author of a number of how-to-draw books.