Final tech breakdown for now. As “Asian Elephant” is the last in this particular series! This one is spun from a nice little point of inflexion – my discovery that I’m allowed to go on the internet and take much sharper reference images than mine, from other people, for free! It only took me 9 years to realise that websites such as Pixabay exist. Head over there now to see what you can pick up. Well, not “NOW” now…

…because who can possibly be torn away from this breakdown? We have an ear, negative hairs, and a very laboursome section of skin – one that would set the tone for a large portion of the drawing. Once the darkest lines were down, it was a case of hacking away patiently at all the smaller ones in between, and all the middle and lighter values in between those too. Yikes. “Leathery” is the brief, busy are your evenings.

Graphite drawing of elephant close-up ear skin


Nice smooth, faraway background. Circulism is the order of the day, with a semi-blunt 8B, 6B and 4B. I don’t have anything against odd numbers, honest. Then blend away.

The hairs were all done with a mechanical 4B pencil. NOT 3B or 5B!

Graphite drawing of elephant close-up background


Plenty more mechanical pencil usage, on the old chin. Then careful use of the embosser on food particles. Messy eater. Won’t be invited to mine, that’s for certain.

Graphite drawing of elephant close-up mouth


The overarching truth in many of my graphite drawings is that quality is a function of time spent. With this eye, I just had to embrace early the fact that I’d be sat at the desk for hours. Perhaps for separate bouts at a time. Minimal embosser use, as there was a lot of detail to pack in, in between those negative lashes.

Graphite drawing of elephant close-up eye


Entering mind-bending territory. Leave all rational thought at the door, it won’t help you here. Sadly there’s no way to feel your way around this. I leaned heavily on the grid method, as my brain couldn’t compute all the little variations on its own. Two or three heavy sessions with the mechanical 4B pencil, a blunt 4B pencil and 6H mainly.

Graphite drawing of elephant close-up trunk


But I did make it to the end without going crazy. This was about as close as I ever came.

I conducted a timed limited edition run for prints of this piece, so no more are available, but the original work is still for sale here. 10% of all my wildlife sales go to WWF International.

Graphite drawing of Asian elephant.

Graphite drawing of Asian elephant.

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