Black Rabbit


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday, 8th September, 2007

THE COUNTRYSIDE around Shepley has a mellow harvest-time look. While delivering books, I give myself time to draw it - over tiffin and a couple of lattés - from the coffee shop in Armitage’s Garden Centre up at Shelley. Then, while Barbara and the mums take a look around, I head for the pets department.

The quick way to do a wash drawing of a black rabbit is to work in Art Pen (a fountain pen designed for drawing) then add a wash of water – not too much – with a Pentel Waterbrush. As I drew, I had included a few quick lines of shading on the fur of the rabbit to act as a little reservior of ink for the wash.

Pen & Wash

I used the same technique for the landscape sketches. It’s a quick way to indicate the contrast between the fields of stubble and the dark trees and hedges surrounding them. For the trees, it's enough just to catch the black ink outlines to produce enough dark grey wash to fill the silhouette, leaving a little white to indicate where the light is catching the foliage.

Grey Skies

I didn't have any lines in the sky (above, top) so I picked up a little ink from the nib of the Art Pen on the end of the waterbrush and, giving the brush a little squeeze then dabbing it on a paper serviette, tried to get the mid grey that I was after. I then squeezed a little more water out of the brush and ran it along the edges of the grey wash to soften the edges.

Thorncliffe Farm Shop

goosesowI've wanted to stop and draw the piglets at the farm shop for some time and I get a chance today because, due to the recent foot-and-mouth disease restrictions on animal movement, the sow and her litter have stayed here longer than they normally would.

The boar was a saddleback of mixed ancestry so that amongst the eight piglets there are a couple throw-backs; one is black and another looks a bit like a Gloucester Old Spot.

Geese & Cockerel

A pair of white farmyard geese, and their companion, the black cockerel, come over to investigate as I take my pen and sketchbook from my bag. The reddish orange beak looks impressive - if slightly alarming at close quarters! - but at such close range the dusky blue eye with an orange rim is also striking.

This time I'm using a Staedtler Mars professional fibre tip pen; I would have added watercolour, if I'd had the time.