I think I did anthropomorphize this ewe, though...it's her wool that is soaking in the tub and on the drying rack right now. That hint of a smile is probably a little projection of how I feel about playing with fibre, and how grateful I am to my neighbour and this sheep for the opportunity.
As I've been following the Sketchbook Challenge blog since the beginning of the year, I thought I'd include a progress photo.
Many of the people formally participating in that challenge not only share finished drawings, but much of the messy stuff that leads up to them.
When I know I'm going to be doing a 'finished' style drawing, I will do a bit of a line map before drawing in earnest. If you click on the drawing at left you'll see some thin, spidery lines here and there that are my visual code to guide the light, shadow, proportion and different 'planes' of the drawing. I tend to think of the object I'm drawing (even from photos) in all three dimensions...mapping out the planes helps me to keep foreshortening, light and shadow all in the right places.
In the case of the sheep, it was also about dividing the space between the different textures - there is a substantial amount of space on the sheep's face that has straight hair. Part of the challenge in this drawing was to create different textures between the different types of coat, the horns, and the eye area. As you can see in the progress photo, I'll often jump straight to the details that I think best characterize the subject once the initial mapping is done. If I can get the eye area (often the part of a drawing that we will focus on right away) right along with any other important characterization, the rest of the drawing really only needs to be hinted at in order to be successful. The viewer's eye will SEE the parts that are tight, drawn to describe the subject, then their mind will FILL IN all the other details. My favorite drawings are certainly audience participation in nature - and I believe these are also the ones that hold the widest appeal.
So now to go back and rinse out more of these lovely black locks, and to think about my challenge word for this coming week...'Surrender'.