‘The Art of Animal Drawing’ – Part 3


Please note: I am not being paid to review any products or books.

I would like to say thank you to my readers for their lovely comments about my last blog. I was sure you would be interested in Terryl Whitlatch’s book ‘Science of Creature Design – Understanding Animal Anatomy’.

I would hazard a guess that most of us love at least one novel that contains fantasy creatures. I always loved C. S. Lewis’ ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ and J. R. R. Tolkein’s ‘Hobbit’. Even though I found Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ a little creepy, there were parts of the story I loved (especially the part about the gryphon). For this reason, this month, I would like to share why I am so inspired by another of Terryl Whitlatch’s amazing books:

Animals Real and Imagined

I actually bought ‘Animals Real and Imagined: Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be’ before I bought ‘Science of Creature Design – Understanding Animal Anatomy’. I had no idea what an incredible adventure I was starting, or that I would want to collect her other books. In fact, I live in hope that she will publish more books in the future.

‘Animals Real and Imagined: Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be’ does not have the detailed scientific information that is found in ‘Science of Creature Design – Understanding Animal Anatomy’. BUT it shows the inner workings of an amazingly creative mind. The book contains:

  1. Illustrations that could be stunning art fine pieces – even if you are not interested in fantasy art, I am sure anyone would be wowed by her gorgeous paintings of a kangaroo, peacocks, spider monkeys, iguana and fish, frog, fox, Pegasus, lemur, marine life (whales, fish, turtles, nautilus, etc.), coati and Tasmanian wolf.
  2. Fantasy animals (there are concept sketches, notes and completed artworks) – Terryl goes much further than the typical dragons, gryphons and minotaurs! Your mind will be blown!
  3. Terryl’s sketchbook pages showing her process – detailed anatomical sketches, comical extrapolations and tongue-in-cheek comments about her creations. I think I will enjoy dipping in this book for many years to come; plus, I am more determined to keep up with serious sketchbook studies in order to improve my illustration work.
  4. Heaps of fantastic, humorous cartoons.
  5. Tips for creating fantasy worlds.

This book taught me one huge lesson. Don’t be afraid to experiment with any idea, beautiful or crazy. They are all have merit. And you never know how brilliantly it could turn out. I was mesmerised by the skilful anthropomorphising employed by Terryl in her work. Since reading ‘Animals Real and Imagined: Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be’ I have been trying some nutty ideas out with my illustrations and have been pleased that they have turned out reasonably well. Needless to say, I want to continue in this vein in the future.

If you have found Terryl Whitlatch interesting, you might also be interested in the work of Aaron Blaise. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell from my internet searches, that he has authored no books except a colouring-in book. You can watch his Youtube videos though:

Please comment below if you have discovered any amazing books on animal animation. This is a portion of illustration that I am fascinated by and am determined to learn about further in the future.

In next month’s blog, I will be deviating a little from the theme of animal animation, and instead sharing, as an educator, why I am so passionate about encouraging writers and illustrators to include cognitive elements into their picture books.

Until then…