My two elephants drawing is finally complete and is hanging in a show at Seacoast Artist Association. I'm including some more of the steps I did before I got to the final piece. I used both graphite and charcoal, smudging along with a stump to keep my fingers off the piece. I did a lot of research before I settled on the background. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. All told, I probably spent over 20 hours on this piece. I'm including some detail shots also. Final size is about 8.75 x 11.75 inches on Canson paper. My title is "Do Not disturb" because I believe all animals deserve dignity and to be left alone in areas where they can thrive. I want my great great great grandchildren to still be able to appreciate their beauty and dignity when they grow up.
When I start a drawing, I look closely at what to leave in and what to take out, what changes to make overall to the composition and how to make it more unique. I love working on the animals eyes and usually change them somewhat. With these guys, they were just big black dots so I added in detail after researching close-ups of elephant eyes. Google makes it so much easier to find reference material. Never just settle on the photo you have in front of you. Make it your own. You'll be happier with the results.
So I start my drawing laying out the large shapes and outlines of the animal in pencil, turning my paper around several time as I go to be sure I have the positive and negative shapes correct. Then I usually start on the eyes and then start adding light details, which I will later build up in layers. I have my trusty gummed eraser in case I get too dark or want to bring out some highlights. It's all very relaxing and meditative, no matter how many times I draw. I just love it. Time flies by and I loose all sense of time. Enjoy!