Tuesday, 22 March 2011

elephant progress - head complete

Hello, so I've now finished the trunk and ear, however I don't think I am completely satisfied with the middle of the ear so I will probably revisit that at a later stage. I rarely do artwork on the weekends however my partner went away to Scotland this weekend for a cycling trip therefore I was left to my own devices! I had every intention of ploughing on with the drawing but got a little distracted by the sunshine and enjoying a day with my friend which concluded with a bottle of rose :)

The lower part of the trunk was 'drawing blind' as most of this is in darker shadow - which I wanted to keep but still added a little more visible detail. The trunk of an elephant will always appear wider from the front view of the face than the side as it is almost a 'flat' tube shape. I thought the wide surface of the ear would be pretty simple but ended up being the hardest part as you're not working from actual wrinkles and folds just very subtle bumps / dirt / veins / scratches. I will now work on the mothers leg which will have reeds / grass acting as negative space to blend the leg into the paper and to connect the babys head to make the composition pleasing to the eye.


  • The African elephant has ears that average at least three time the size of the Asian elephant
  • Ears are used as signaling organs in the African elephant
  • Ears are used to regulate body temperature
  • Ears are used as a protective feature in the African elephant to ward off potential threats.
  • Each elephant's ear is unique and is used as a a type of fingerprint for identification

head complete

8 comments:

Andrew said...

I have a question, how do you draw your wrinkles

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

Hello Andrew, I am drawing this picture with a selection of 3H/F/B/6B pencils. I firstly draw out the lines so I know their placement - lighter areas are with the F and deeper wrinkles I just go straight in with a softer lead to make them dark straight away, tone is then added to the relevant places to create depth and three-dimensionality (realism). Always remember with an elephant that they very rarely have any smooth parts to the skin - so draw texture a little crackled and speckly to give the illusion of mud and sand dust. Sometimes I work up layering from a hard lead to a softer lead - and sometimes I work the other way round depending on which pencil I pick up first! When scaling down such a large animal it is impossible to draw everything as it simply wont fit, but with practice you will get to know your subjects in more depth and understand what information should be added if you wish to achieve a realist result. I hope this helps :) Jules

Roger Brown My Botswana Art said...

Great blog ,and love the African wildlife appearing in it.Your attention to detail is amazing.

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

thankyou Roger! I'm so pleased you found my blog as I am in awe reading yours and your brilliant creations :) Jules

Roger Brown My Botswana Art said...

Thanks Julia for looking at my blog and leaving a trail of encouraging comments.

B. Starfire said...

Wonderful! Such beautiful work! Thank you for sharing it!

Dors said...

WOW a wonderful blog and your work is amazing. The detail is incredible.

Thank you for visiting my blog and following.It's appreciated.

I will be back to look at more of your work.

Julia Ruffles | wildlife animal artist said...

Thankyou Dors :) your wonderful comments are very encouraging! Jules

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