Animal Drawing class goes to San Francisco Zoo

Cogswell offers an Animal Drawing and Motion class taught by Jeff Jackson and David Perry.  In the class we go over how to draw the animals using the GCAT (Gesture, Construction, Anatomy, and Technique) method.  So far we have learned gesture (capturing the pose of the animal and the rhythm of that pose).  Then we use construction (to solidify the volume and check proportions of our drawing).  We just got our first lecture on anatomy where we understand how the muscles are working under the form.  Technique goes into the style that you draw with and how you carbonize the form or exaggerate it.  Technique also deals with detail like the fur.  For homework we find photographs and video reference and draw form those, but photos and videos can only get you so far.  During our 7 hour long Saturday class we tend to take a trip to the zoo, either Oakland or San Francisco Zoos where we can draw our animals from life.  I picked the tiger, but did not stop to consider the lazy nature of cats… they do like to sleep a lot.  When we went to the Oakland Zoo I was out of luck.  The Tiger was quite hidden and slept all day.  I could only see her ear.  However in San Francisco I got lucky!  They had just gotten a new tiger and she was very interested in her new home so she was not sleeping and was instead exploring around her exhibit.  I got a whole bunch of really great gestures that I was able to then add construction and anatomy onto later.  I spent a few hours outside her exhibit just drawing and watching.  It’s amazing how briefly people really look at the animals in the zoo.  They just see them and then walk on.  They hardly stop to appreciate the majesty of the creature.  Usually it’s parents distracting their kids with snacks or something.  This class really gives me the chance to really study the animals and really appreciate them.  After lunch I got to see the big cat feeding and recorded the lions and tiger.  I also caught the fishing cat on my camera as she caught two fish.  After that I walked around and recorded all of my friend’s animals (we had to record our own footage and most of my friends did not have a camera).  I also started the ever so clever trend of buying the refillable cups at the zoo.  By the end most of the class had the refillable cups.  I, of course, bought myself the tiger cup.

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