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Outdoors

JIM ARNOSKY
AUTH(

Drawing from Natw

Dm

$11.75

EARLY

March

in

sketchbook

in

Jim

Arnosky,

hand, set out to

die <~over the arrival of spring in his Ver-

countryside.

....

many
was

fascinafp^

nings o
his

He had imagined

times just what he would find, and

t<

,,iiiig

discover that the begin-

were very different from

winterbound expectations.

The weather was cold and


his sketching

hands. The

raw.

Most of

was done with gloved


signal he perceived of

first

resurging wildlife was the

call

of

wood

frogs. Early spring wildflowers thrived,

but they were in

tible

motion.

mented,

"I

am

hard-to-reach

difficult,

places. Everything

was

in barely

On March

percep-

31 he

com-

slowly beginning to be

surrounucJ by the things I want to


draw"
This ^ook is the fulfillment of one
spring season spent sketching by the
ist

and

naturalist

who

created Drawing

from Nature and Drawing

As

Life in Motion.

Arnosky

in his eaiw^. '^ooks,

his sure

art-

reveals

knowledge of drawing the

natural world through sincere, down-to-

earth

commentary and spontaneous,

in-

formative illustration. At the very heart


of this remarkable

work

is

his sharing of

the keen pleasure that can be had sketch-

ing outdoors in spring and bringing

it all

back h

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Sketching outdoors
in spring

$11.75
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Sketching Outdoors
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ALSO BY JIM ARNOSKY


Deer

at the

Brook

Drawing from Nature

Drawing

Life in

Motion

Flies in the Water, Fish in the Air:

A Personal Introduction to Fly Fishing


Freshwater Fish

& Fishing

Secrets of a Wildlife

Watcher

Watching Foxes

Sketching Outdoors

\pring

jr.

'

WOOL

TUCSO:

TUC^O:;, AZ S5717

^^

ft4* ^

VAN HORNE LIBRARY

BY JIM
LOTHROP, LEE & SHE PAR

I")

ARNOSKY
BOOKS

N1

W YORK

DIS

This season

is

dedicated to

LOUIS PORTER

Copyright

1987 by Jim Arnosky. All rights reserved.

No

part of this

book may be reproduced or

utilized in

any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by An\ information
storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher Inquiries should be addressed
to Lothrop, Lee

<Sj

Shepard Books,

William Morrow

a division of

& Company,

York Nev. York 10016. Printed


I

Library ol Congress Cataloging

in

list

123456789

Edition

Publication Data

the artist

on how and why he drew them

Juvenile literature
art
[

Juvenile

Plants in

literature

Outdoor

artJuvenile literature

6 Spring in art

life

Juvenile literature 7

United Mates

ol

New

America

artJuvenile literature

Summary
comments from

spring

nature accompanied In

Animals in

art

Juvenile literature 5 Landscape in

Drawing -Technique

Animal painting and


C.83

ol

10

4 Wildlifeart

Nature (Aesthetics) 2 Landscape drawing


technique
1987
4.Drawing
technique!
fitle. NC825.088A76

1.

in

105 Madison Avenue,

Sketching outdoors

Arnosky. Jim,

Provides drawings ol landscapes, plants, animals, and other aspects

Inc.,
in the

-Juvenile literature

illustration

86-21308

technique

ISBN 0-688-06284-9

And

exempt from public haunt.


Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks.
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
this

our

life,

Wii

wi Sh

\ki spi \ri

You Like

It

The pictures
season

detailed,

in this

NTRODUCTI ON

book were drawn from

life

during one

Some were sketched in a flash. Others, more


were made when I could sit and look and carefully
spring.

draw what I was

seeing. All the pictures

been reproduced actual

you can see them exactly the way

me as sketched them. As drew, thoughts


me about the nature of the seasonable subjects had

they looked to

occurred to

size so

on these pages have

chosen and ways

to capture

them on

paper. These "drawing

thoughts" are included, set apart from the main


All of

In

one

text.

my sketching is done using a minimum of art supplies.

shirt

pocket

carry two soft-leaded pencils, a small

sharpener, and one kneadable eraser. These things, along with a

pad of quality drawing paper, make up

my necessities.

As comforts

bring along a small folding stool to

sit

on and

pair of polarized sunglasses to cut the sun's glare off the white

paper.

When drawing outdoor scenes,

employ

a portable

wooden easel.
I work outdoors in all weather. In the early days of spring,
when it is still quite wintry, I wear warm woolen gloves. also
use an umbrella to sketch under when it is raining. Because of
I

my special interest in wildlife,

always keep a pair of binoculars

handy.

To each and every

artist

recommend spending some time

each season sketching outdoors. You will find working in the

open

air refreshing.

your drawing
pictures that

lines.

Weather,

And

fair

or foul,

somehow

invigorates

each day afield you will produce

you might not otherwise have imagined.


Jim Arnosky
Ramtails

Spring 198$

began my spring drawings

deep snow

still

lay

upon

day, sketching with

in

March, when

the ground.

woolen gloves on,

neighbor's sugarhouse. Inside, where

was boiling maple sap


trees.

On

places

did this drawing of

was warm,

it

my

my neighbor

he had collected from his tapped

that

little

many

one raw and snowy

The water being boiled out of the sap rose

escaped through the

in

as

vapor that

house's open roof, creating a small,

sweetly scented cloud in the wintry woods.

V-.
When drawing buildings or other man-made objects on
don't oxerly concern yourself with

and

true.

making

lines that are straight

Capture the feeling of the place around the structure

the land, the vegetation, the air

time later at

home

to level

and

In cold weather,

may

lines

it

when sketching with gloved hands,

possible to

and

be terribly off plumb.


I

pencil less than sharp. The combination of a dull point

lead makes

sky. There will be plenty of

your building's horizontal

straighten any vertical lines that

the spot,

draw good substantial

keep

and

my
soft

lines quickly.

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Deep

in the

maple woods

rotting for years

and had

finally

snow. The whiteness of the


the break
in the

was

recent.

found

broken

succumbed

wood

Two maple

shade of the giant old

this

inside the

to

had been

winter wind and

huge stump showed

saplings that

tree are

tree. It

had been growing

now standing

in the light.

A leaf-littered woodland floor can be suggested by a scribbling of


leafy shapes
It is

and shadows.

easier to apply shading

when your pencil point

To draw the darkened place inside the hollow

is

tree trunk,

outlined the area, then added the shading. Afterward


the darker lines of texture

and

dull.

lighth

drew

in

details.

When amid broken and fallen trees, be


away from any other potential deadfalls.

careful to stay safch

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(

11

In the springtime

woods you

and individual branches

will find

that have

many dead

to

draw

is

spent one entire afternoon high atop a mountain,

As I sketched,

woodpecker began hammering somewhere


was chipping away

is

at

in the distance.

it

can overwhelm you.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by a scene, pick one thing in it


that interests you
a single tree, a fallen branch, or even a
boulder and begin drawing that.

Sometimes, after you begin a drawing, your subject


less interesting

drawing
closer to

12

it

it.

will

seem

it appears in reality. You may be


may simply be seeing it too small. Move

on paper than

too small. You

a
It

another dead but not yet fallen branch.

so visually exciting,

down

interesting to look at

lost in the intricate details of this windfall.

Woodland

trunks

been broken and blown

by winter storms. Each and every piece

and

tree

.<

13

In spring, streams
their banks,

becomes

fill

with melting snow and

and flood the surrounding

a torrent.

sketched

different days in April,


still

melting into

The
bed

at

first
all.

this

ice, rise

land. Every

up over

little

brook

mountain brook on three

when snow from

the high country

was

it.

day the water was so high

couldn't see the stream

The rushing stream cascaded over rock

creating white-capped waves, and

strewn land high above

its

ledges,

washed up onto the boulder-

banks.
<4t

**4

To sketch a fast-moxing stream, you really have

Draw rapidly, always makingyour lines

in the

to loosen up.

same direction

as

the flow.

The sound of the rushing water should set your drawing rhythm.

lively

stream can be intimidating when you begin sketching

Watch the flow andyou


the

same simple

will notice that the

patterns oxer

keep swirling. Plunges,

and

oxer. Ripples ripple. Swirls

spills, slaps,

and splashes are

formed continuously. Each stream waxe


preceding

14

it.

it.

moving water repeats

is

per-

a recreation of one

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15

The second day


logs, branches,

downstream by
birches.

set

my easel near a place where various

and building boards

that

had been carried

the flood formed a jam against two sturdy

The birch

trees are part of a

rocky midstream island.

A?
BiHB

16

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Soon

after all the

volume of water

snow had gone from

in the

the mountains, the

brook diminished. The water

level

lowered and the noise of the running stream quieted. Surfaces of


pools calmed and

again. All the while


to see the liquid

could see
I

down

sketched

to their

sandy bottoms once

this lovely little pool,

form of a trout moving

in the

expected

dark water.

In a rushing stream the dark water indicates the general flow.

The white water shows where the stream

leaps, rumbles, pauses,

or \eers away from the main flow.

Work on each
pouring, what

waterfall until
it is

going

oxer,

it

is

clear

and where

how much water

it is

spilling

is

to.

Notice that the streamside boulders look dry and the rock

in the

falls looks wet.

Once you haxeyour water scene drawn, go


more, adding a dark line here or a

bit

oxer the picture once

of shading there to help

distinguish water from rock.

Every boulder has a number of surfaces. Each surface


different rock face, with
fissures.

its

The longer you look

own marks,

scuts, clefts,

at a boulder,

the

is

and

more of

its

indixidual history you will pert ewe.

10

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Trees growing close to water are apt to have roots showing above
the surface of the ground. In early spring, with the snow cover

gone and no greenery


models of strenuous

to

obscure them, such roots are exposed

living.

Over time the roots of a

and crack

it

can wrap around

into smaller pieces. Often these

broken mass together.


20

tree

a large

same

boulder

roots hold the

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sketched

this

day of spring.

herculean shoreline pine on the

It is

the

first

spring drawing that

first
I

truly

did without

having to wear winter gloves. The sun was as bright as

warm. Light played

all

The longer
to

my

I sit

drawing a root dug into the ground or a boulder

in the earth, the

more

I feel I

too

am becoming rooted

spot.

After three hours spent sitting before this great tree and thinking

of

its

growth,

had

to

pry myself from

my seat when

it

was time

to leaxe.

Any drawing done outdoors

will

seem incomplete when you are

forced by aching muscles, hunger, or fading light

to

pack up and

go home. Back home, however, away from the reality of your


subject and its surrounding scenery, your picture will look
finished and full of interesting details.

22

it

was

over the massive roots and clearly defined

each stratum of the ledge the tree stands upon.

embedded

warm

..

In a soggy April
frogs.

woods I heard

the clucking calls of male

wood

followed the sounds to a small spring pool and found

three males competing vocally to attract a mate.

By getting down

my belly and pulling myself toward them,

able to get

on

close

enough

to see

not only the

frogs'

was

heads sticking up out of

the water but also their bodies hanging suspended under the

waters surface.

When

suddenly discovered, wild animals often

their position

will freeze in

and stay motionless for as long as

the\ feel thc\

are being watched.

Whenever

can,

draw things their actual

added measure of information


Ml

of the fiddlehcads in a cluster

spot of earth.

When

fhis

wa\ the) ha\e

size. Tliis gi\cs

pddlehead

of "looking

gives fuldleheads theii chann.

an

my pictures.
emanate from nearh

you draw fxddclheads, show

that each individual

24

to

is

this,

the

same

and show

facing a different direction.

about"

in all directions is

what

/
The

calling of the frogs signaled the

began seeing fuzzy

clusters of

coming of fiddleheads.

them everywhere

in the

woods, on

the banks of streams and shores of ponds, and along the edges of
fields.

Most were sprouting green from

of previous years' fern growth.


in

new places

through the

leaf

Some

fresh, festive-looking

mold.

the

composted mounds

fiddleheads were sprouting

newcomers pushing up

The

first

wildfiowers of spring are loners that grow in secluded,

often hard-to-get-at spots. Drawing

going on

safari

and sketching

in

them from

life

can mean

some uncomfortable

These Painted Miliums


hillside.

places.

wen

growing on a rugged wooded

To draw any wildflower, get as close

comfortable as you can.


able,

If you

you may not be able

to

it

as possible

and as

are too far away or uncomfort-

to see

or concentrate on the intricate

details of your subject.

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Keep your pencil sharply pointed when you arc drawing

delicate

flower parts.

Draw
k

stems. lea\cs. sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils all in

outline first. Then

Wake-Robin glowing
border of out pastutc

in a

add "color' and

sluuh plan

light by shading.

in (he

wild btushs

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Trout Lilies flourishing on the sun-dappled hanks of a

28

small brook.

made this sketch just after a warm rain. In the damp shady
woods where these Moccasin Flowers thrive, mosquitos were
out in squadrons. Repellent, long sleeves, and even my mesh
head net could not protect me from them. I came home bitten
I

and

itching.

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<^-

Moccasin Flowers are also known as Pink

mh

Slippers.

29

Wherever you discover wildflowers just beginning


revisit the place often to see

sketches
noticed

its

made

how

to grow,

they develop. Here are periodic

of a Jack-in- the-Pulpit, from the

pointed nose sticking up out of the

moment

soil to the

first

day

it

stood fully formed.

In drawing, color

gray,

and markings are suggested with shades of

from pale and nearly white to rich and deep tones that

range toward solid black. Learn


pressure
this

to

vary and control your hand

when you are drawing and you

will he able to achieve

spectrum of grays with one soft-leaded pencil.

Colors are most \i\id in the clear light of rain-washed air. After
a rain I like to roam, sketchbook in hand, knowing something
lovely will catch
I

my eye.

sketched the final stage oj this Jack-in-the -Pulpit during one of

our rainiest weeks. Notice how

brilliant

it

looks.

TluJack-in-thc-Pulpit

woods.

30

is

a solitary flower that grows

in

moist

-:-

Springtime scenes are open and airy-looking. Here a fisherman,


anticipating the

of the pond.

around

it,

coming season, has cached

his boat

on the shore

Now it looks obvious, but as the foliage grows in

the boat will gradually

become hidden and

will

eventually be invisible to passersby.

With

this sketch

learned not

to judge

a picture while

it is

still in

I had nearly conxinced myself to quit drawing


Once because the boat, from the angle at which I was
seeing it, proxed difficult to draw. Again when a heavy bank of
clouds blocked the sun, and the light that gaxe shape to my

the works. Twice

3&;

this scene.

drawing was
"

** -T=r

lost.

The sunlight returned.

mastered the subtle

shape of the boat and came out of the forest with one of the finest
pictures I had made all spring.

While

was drawing

swimming out
sketches.

back.
bird
I

The

in the

first

the fisherman's boat,

spotted a loon

pond. Using binoculars,

was

a side

made two quick

view of the loons head, neck, and

The second was drawn even more rapidly just

had emerged from

drew only what

aid of binoculars,

a dive with a small fish in

saw,

and from

after the

its bill.

that distance, even with the

could not see the loons eyes or

nostrils.

could make out only a spattering of its bold black-and-white


markings. As

was drawing

This time, underwater,

it

my last lines,

the loon dived again.

swam away.

'

Sometimes
is

vision

a quick glimpse of

enough

to recall

an animal with your naked eyes

and draw what you saw The way

white-throated sparrow was perched with up-cocked

enough of an impression
flown,

was

able to

make

in

my mind

this

tail left

that, after the bird

this sketch.

had

When

you

the impulse strikes

fleeting the opportunity,

springtime sketches,
basis for a

more

all

detailed

do

to

so!

drawn

draw from

Any one
hastily,

and finished

life,

however

of these rough

can

later

picture.

be used as the

Some

days your

quickest sketches will be your best work.


Reptiles

and large

birds can

moxe so slowly they appear

to

be

holding a pose for you.

s'+^-Al*'

Quick studies of animals you are seeing through binoculars


show a high level of accuracy in capturing moods, poses,

often

and

actions. This

binoculars

is

may be because

the looking

an intense type of seeing.

U^

36

we do through

During a gentle spring rain small birds remain


perch more often to

rest,

dry

off,

and preen

their feathers. Sketch

each perched pose for as long as the bird holds

-z~~~>
**

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'

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actixc, but thcx

it.

This sketch was done on a blustery


attracted to the scene

May afternoon. I was

by the contrast between the sturdy stone

wall and the slender poplar trees that were being

whipped about

by the wind. Some gusts were so strong they threatened

my easel with

them.

No

matter

how strong

the wind, the

poplars' tiny spring leaves held fast to their branches.

Some

trees

and shrubs

leaf out in early spring. Others develop

your spring sketches

reflect this

xariety by showing which trees already haxe leaxes

and which

lea\es later in the season. Let

trees are still in bud.

Small springtime leaxes seen from a distance appear as

dots,

dashes, oxals, and arrowheads. These are also the shapes used
in

38

drawings

to

suggest spring leaxes.

to take

While
this

resting streamside during a long day of fishing,

male smallmouth

circular nest he

The

fish

fins
I

He was

had cleared away

in shallow water,

in the gravelly

noticed

guarding a

bottom.

was immediately aware of me, but he stayed over

nest even after

while

bass.

had approached

to

within three

feet. All

his

the

sketched, the bass appeared not to be threatened. His

and

tail

waved serenely

presumed

that

in the water.

one or more females had already deposited

eggs in the nest and that the eggs were there, hidden
glistening pebbles

among

the

and sand granules. Papa smallmouth himself

blended so well with the water color and the stream bottom that
even with

my polarized glasses on

more than once

of him.

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40

lost sight

The female mallard was on her nest when


close

enough

to see

her in lovely detail but

so as not to frighten her off her eggs.

first

saw
far

still

her.

was

enough away

didn't press that luck

and

stayed only as long as necessary to get most of this picture

completed. Later, well away from the nest

site,

added the

finishing touches.

One morning
pond

spotted the male mallard standing on the

shore, asleep.

was

him and began making

able to sneak to within eight feet of

this sketch.

Suddenly the duck awoke,

spread the feathers of one wing in a lazy stretch, and walked


away.

^mm

The next time


mother.

visited the mallard hen, she

found myself sketching

was becoming

frantically to

keep up with her

active brood.

Ducklings were

still

hatching, out of sight under their

mothers broad feathery form. Those


were quacking
the ground.

softly all

around

her.

that

had already emerged

Soon they were

Any sudden movement or loud

scurrying back to

Mama where,

investigating

noise sent

them

all

pressed against her flanks, they

felt safe.

/&*<*

42

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like to get

lexel to

down low near ground

draw

tiny

animals such as

these ducklings.

J
m

43

Domestic animals, though wary

accustomed

these piglets stood stock

me

began

If

Once I began my

up.

to

When

to strangers.

still.

initially,
I

first

Each pair of beady eyes was sizing

sketching, they forgot about

an animal you are sketching suddenly moxes

it.

Then

wait,

(as

is

likely to

had for as long as you can


adding a few more lines each time your
it

subject approximates the original position.

Keep on drawing even if your first attempts are obxiously bad.


With each completed figure you will ha\e learned more about
your

subject's

anatomy. Your

lines will

become more

sure,

your

sketches more accurate.

Exery time
in

44

draw animals from

my figures from

become

approached their pen,

behave naturally.

happen), keep drawing the pose


recall

quickly

life, I

see a marked improvement

the first to the last sketch in a series.

me and

^Oi^^^^^B

I
.

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When drawing from


a light horizon line

life

scenes that feature animals, begin with

to gixe

your picture a plane on which

to

appear. Quickly block in the animals, starting with those which


are standing

still.

Sketch others that are moxing about. Then

concentrate on the scenery around the figures. Once you haxe the
entire scene sketched in,

add

light by

applying shadows.

The three-dimensional shape and musculature of an animal are


is molded

both easier to see and easier to draw when the animal

by light and shadow.

you find you are haxing trouble constructing a particular animal, perhapsyou should wait until you
can see it in brighter light. Then try drawing it again.

Back

in

March

it

seemed natural

The looking took me

to the

If

to

go out and search

maple woods, along the mountain

streams, and from pool to soggy pool in the

spring

commenced,

it

for spring

caught up with

my

damp

forest As

wandering.

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Soon

didn't have to

go

my wife,

Deanna,

tilled. In

the next few weeks,

is

do

far to

my springtime

sketching. Here.

busy doing her spring planting

when new

plants grow from the

seeds she sows, spring will have become summer.

48

in soil

ARNOSKY

JIM
and

two-hundred-

his family live in a

year-old farmhouse in northern Ver-

mont, surrounded by ponds and


woodland. Well known as an
author,

and

naturalist,

he has written and

illustrated

numerous highly

books

young

for

successful

Roger Tory

readers.

Peterson has declared

artist,

him "an

inspired

teacher," for his ability to sharpen


anyone's awareness of the natural world.
Eric Sloane has called

Drawing from Nature

"a bible

awareness." The book

is

an

Arnoskys
on the art of

ALA

Notable

Book, and School Library Journal


starred review, described

it

in a

as "a spiritual

sharing of ideas and techniques by a


gifted wildlife artist."

Science 84 praised both

Nature and
in

its

Drawing from

companion, Drawing

Motion, as "luminous

Life

tributes to Ar-

noskys powers of observation."

In

nam-

Book of 1984. School


Library Journal described it as "More
than a course on drawing. Arnosk\
ing the latter a Best

>

book

is

paean

to the

unobtrusive obser-

vation of nature and to the marvels of the


natural world."

othrop

iv Cm

Shepard Books

Nov >ork

Rf

IMORi

ISBN D-bflfl-0b2flM-T