Sketch your Pet workshop/Demo with Alan Close
Saturday March 18th March 2023

This demonstration from master art teacher Alan Close was pitched to suit both beginning and experienced artists.
The old hands took away an artistic version of a much-loved pet. The beginners learned how to draw their pet from square one but to delay until a later date the complications of shading in colour. Alan set this up by providing a mid tone paper and only black and white media. The materials supplied were a sheet of midtone
grey Canson paper, Mi-Teintes 160 gsm, charcoal stick and white chalk.
He started by saying, “When drawing your pet if you are drawing from life, draw the head first because your pet will move and you will lose the pose. If drawing from a photo, get the basic shape first.” He gave out a hand-out, showing the MEL Method which gets the basic sketch done in masses before the detail. It is a mistake to draw an outline first rather than the masses.
You can get lost joining up the outline to where you started and it looks out of proportion. A centre line keeps you in proportion. The eye lines may be on an angle e.g. cats’ eyes.

The head may be on an angle to the neck. Be careful not to humanize your pet. Look closely, particularly at the eyes. Make sure you get the glint in the eyes.
Alan has the equivalent of mnemonics for drawing e.g. side-ways commas for the dog’s nose, in life drawing a coat-hanger for the neck, in portrait, the curly Y in the ears, things to hang your hat on.
After about half-an hour demonstration of teaching points and a generous afternoon tea, the students had a good hour of individualized assistance from Alan and Fiona, as they drew from their photos. There was absorbed, intense concentration in a soundless room. Getting past the drawings to the tones, they were advised to look with squinted eyes to see the strongest
whites and darkest darks.
The results from the artists, who were no longer students, were excellent. All agreed that they had learn’t something.
Well done Alan !

Report by WAA’s Colin Browne