You may not remember, but I spent quite a while when I first started drawing trying to draw a squirrel that looked like (more or less) a “real” squirrel. Or enough like a real squirrel to not look like a third-grader who needed glasses drew it.

This was my second attempt. The first was much worse.

I failed. Utterly and completely. I tried at least four, maybe five times and each try was worse than the previous attempt. I moved on. I figured I might improve and then I could go back and give it another whirl.

Definitely worse.

Today, not having anything particular in mind and figuring I had drawn a lot of orchids and should draw something else, I wondered if maybe, by some chance, I was now advanced enough to draw a squirrel.

I drew a squirrel.


The colors aren’t exactly right, but I’m not sure that the exact colors I want are in my huge collection of pencils. Everything was too purple, too brown, too magenta, too yellow, or too pink. If I had been content to draw a gray squirrel, it would have been easier, but almost all my photographs are of the reds. With few exceptions, they aren’t really red, or at least not entirely. They are red in sections. There is one little girl squirrel who is truly a perfect red squirrel, but all the others are a mix of grey, white, red, and a hint of black. What makes them red rather than Eastern Gray Squirrels is their smaller size, the double curled tails, and the white ring around their eyes.

Garry felt this fellow’s eyes were a bit beadier than my drawing. I agree. Not only beadier, but his whole face is a bit rattier. Red squirrels have a more pointed, ratty face than gray squirrels, but I chose, as an artist, to emphasize his loveable qualities rather than his beady-eyed ratty-ness.

I am still having trouble getting those feet right. Still, I’ve come quite a way since January. I’m going to try it one more time and see if I can get the color a wee bit more accurate.

Categories: #Sketchbook, #Squirrel, Anecdote, Arts, Drawings

Tags: , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Awesome drawings! My attempts to draw realistic images never turn out too well, which is why I prefer cartoon style.


    • A lot of mine look like cartoons too. Which I don’t mind because I love cartooning, but I want to get the basic stuff in place before I start wandering far afield. Bizarro (Don Piraro sp?) gives a little lesson every now and then called “How I draw it.” He shows his original sketch, how he inks it, and how he adds layers of colors . I believe he uses transparent sheet overlaying the inked sections — one at a time. I’ve learned a lot just from seeing how someone else does it. He also paints and his stuff is definitely on the weird side of art. His current project is called “Peyote Cowboy” and it’s brilliant, but definitely strange.


  2. Hm. Yes, definitely squirrel, the greys are interlopers aren’t they? I haven’t noticed from where you hale….in England the Native Reds are well under threat, though when I lived there there were certainly plenty Reds.
    I do like your earlier efforts, the ‘definitely ‘worse makes cute squirrel for a children’s story-book.


    • We live in New England, the southern end in Massachusetts.

      The red ones are threatened here too, but around this house, the reds are dominant. Usually the grey ones (who are at least a third bigger than the red one)s eat everything before the red ones can get to it. Maybe it’s that we feed them which makes the difference?


      • Perhaps feeding them might help. Back in the late 80s I visited America for a wedding and saw Greys only.


        • Greys are very dominant most places. They are bigger — quite a bit bigger — and all squirrels are very food driven. Mind you, the smaller red ones are tough little cookies, but the sheer bulk of the big Eastern Gray squirrels usually wins the food wars. But when there’s plenty of food available, they the balance equals out. That’s where I think “home feeding stations” begin to really make a difference.


  3. This one is definitely a squirrel. Lovely


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