Often before a project involving a critter I haven’t done in a while, or one I’m not as familiar with (and often those I am!) I like to start with gestures and practice sketches to play with the anatomy, features and overall motion before I get into the actual picture.
These are for a pet portrait I will be doing of a hamster. It’s been a while since I’ve done a rodent!
You can see that many of them are no more than lines or general shapes, and many times they are completely off-track. It’s not the sign of a bad artist if the sketches don’t look good. This was a misconception I carried for many years and I feel it significantly harmed my development. The only bad artist is one too obsessed with perfection to begin!
This experimenting may not be very exciting, but the product is not the pages of sketches but the knowledge I learned from the practice. When I do go to draw that hamster it will look much more lifelike because of the effort!
There are some older hamsters I did back in 2013, I can see the improvement already! I’ll post the final when it’s done.