Thursday, July 14, 2011

Animal Sketchbook

Here are a few samples from my animal sketchbooks. As much as I enjoy drawing at the zoo, I find it absolutely essential to draw also from TV programs.
Only in those nature shows will you find natural behavior like playing and hunting, feeding etc. 
Sometimes I sketch with the film at full speed, other times I freeze frame in order to study a particular moment closer. 
I have tried to sketch animals during my one trip to South Africa in Krueger Nat. Park a few years ago, but I found myself at the mercy of the jeep's driver. These guys want to show you as much as possible each day and they move on rather quickly,so you end up not having enough time to observe the wildlife for sketching.
For my next trip I'll have to hire a driver for myself.

There are also a few Sullivant inspired animal cartoons.
I tried not to copy him, but instead play with caricature and proportions in ways I hadn't done before.

My friend Stuart Ng published these and other drawings a little while ago in form of a sketchbook.
.........juuust in case anyone is interested, I think he still has a bunch for sale.
Here is the link to his site:


  1. Thank yoooou! :)
    I'm so glad to hear you find it essential to draw from the TV! I went to the zoo not so long ago and I just couldn't 'see' the animals - they were either hiding, or just too far away to really study!
    These are incredible images by the way - for me, the big cat studies in particular are AMAZING :P
    Thanks again,

  2. All fantastic sketches, Andreas! My favorites are the turtles and one of the sleeping Tiger.

    Any chance you plan to sell your "A different stripe" sketchbook to the public? I would love to own a copy of your animal sketches! :)

  3. Oh my goodness, I really love those Jaguar sketches, especially the way the skin/fur is hanging down from the jaw and the top of its neck. Just a remarkable sense of weight and anatomy.

  4. Wonderful! I love your style with each of these materials and the amount of personality that come through. I particularly love that horned fellow at the bottom - I've had staring matches just like that with animals at the zoo.

    I reblogged some of my favorites with proper credit and link backs - hope that's okay, but if it's not I'm happy to take them down.

  5. I'm kind of in a bind...because I haven't watched TV in 3 years! So I just rely on Google image searches instead ;)

    Love image A70 - you captured the leopard form perfectly there.

  6. These are simply breathtaking. Thanks for this goldmine!! I'm rich!! :)

  7. OH....MY....GEED! SO buying this book!!

  8. Andreas I have your sketchbook! Everyone it is very good! You should definately get it!

  9. I picked this up last year from Stewart. Amazing work!

  10. Great drawings!!! Just looking at them I feel like there is a story there. I'd bet they'd make for a great children's book.

  11. 'allo!

    So; I have a question - why do you find it essential to draw from TV? I don't quite understand. Surely drawing from life is better...? You get to see in more detail about how animals move across varying terrains, and surely perspective must be better in life than on the TV?

    Jus' curious, that's all!


    PS: L ROSSI's point about the animals "hiding" - that makes a lot of sense, now that I come to think about it!

  12. Those lions at the top are beautiful, particularly the one on the right. You've captured the both the elegance and savagery of them perfectly. How often do you sketch Andreas? Are you a compulsive sketcher, or is it just a case of doing it when you have time?

    Anyone who doesn't have the book should get a copy, it's a great thing to look through :)

  13. Chris, spending quality time drawing the real animal in front of you is the most important thing for anybody
    who is into sketching wildlife.
    Studying film footage adds to the overall observation.
    It's good to know how a lion runs, comes to a stop, hunts,
    fights etc.
    Andy, I draw animals whenever I have the time. An annual pass for the zoo is a must.

    1. Andreas as far studying bigcats, from your observations, what are some of the differences between lions and tigers that you noticed in person? Some people think there similar, but I noticed tigers seem longer and more narrow, lions seem shorter and thicker in the body and front quarters & shoulders, yet tigers have more muscular lower limbs. Just wondering what your assessment was on this, I read you guys actually sketched a real Barbary lion in person for the making of the Lion King.

  14. i will deffinatley be checking out animal planet, thanks for the tip!
    i'll also have to get my hands on that sketchbook, all of your drawings in it are so fantastic.

  15. wonderful stuff....sigh...!!!

  16. Beautiful !! i have that sketch book! :) my other half bought it me for my birthday, best present ever, and through your sketch book i found the works of Sullivant,Clay, and Jouve.

    Also i am so glad you are blogging, i love your work you and Glen Keane and the 9 old men inspired me to want to animate :D

  17. Really cool. Love that Tiger laying down and the smiling guy below him!

  18. Andreas, I have a lot of difficulties drawing animals at zoos because they have a tendency to move around so much (as opposed to observing people, sometimes they pause, hence making it easier for me to observe)

    Do you have any suggestions for that?

  19. Sheila, start drawing animals that don't move much like alligators, or any sitting or sleeping animal.
    Eventually start sketching animals in motion, and remember, often a few lines are enough. Don't think about a perfect drawing. After a while you will learn to take a mental snapshot of a moving pose and draw it from memory.

  20. These are fantastic! They remind me illustrations from Punch.

  21. It's a fantastic book and you're such a talent my friend. I hope to see you soon,


  22. I had no idea you had this sketchbook out there. Ordered from Stuart NG!

    Not only are the drawings wonderful... the (watercolor?) color is inspirational... I need to learn how to do that. I retract my statement about not seeing utility in finishing (and adding watercolor) to the previous pencil test you posted here. Now I see it.

  23. I bought your sketchbook about a year ago online. You should make another one with characters and your animation stills!

  24. Thank you so much for putting the link to buy your Animal Sketchbook! I am so glad I have your signature and a drawing of Tigger that you did with your very hands!

  25. these are astonishingly beautiful Mr Deja! Ive just gotten into studying animals, espeically big catsĀµ. Do you have any tips on how to draw their legs with they are lying down so they dont look like road kill? Mine are looking ok except for the squished legs!

  26. You know, you really know how to tempt me! Especially if it comes with a drawing! (Did you just go through a stack of 50 drawing in every one?)

    I was wondering how and when you recommend adding in characterture to life drawings? (If you're still reading/getting comments from way back here - sorry to be so late to the party.)


  27. Julie,
    you can add caricature and character to your life drawings whenever you want.
    it's really fun to look at the model and turn him or her into a more exaggerated figur, or even a humanised animal.
    At the zoo you might observe a real zebra, but draw it as if it were shopping at the mall.
    Try it sometime for fun.

  28. Here in Brazil we (nerd animators) love your work I really want these one!
    Shamed on me for never drawing at the zoo.
    Keep it up and Thanks!

  29. these sketches are awesome you usually just see these types of drawings for people

  30. Dear Andreas
    I'm from Liechtenstein and just stumbled over your blog. Now that your sketchbook is out of stock I'm wondering if there's a chance it'll be republished in the near future?
    Best wishes!

  31. Andreas! Please! Is there anyway to get a copy of your sketchbook! Are you doing reprints! PDF Downloads? Please anything! You can't just sellout of these 5 months after you start your blog! Not when we're all just discovering this! You're such a tease!

  32. Hi Andreas, I would like to echo Stella's comments above! I would love to purchase this sketch book, but the page link brings up an error. Finger's crossed the books are re-released soon! :)

  33. I just contacted and as of today (12/8/11), they still have some of these sketchbooks in stock, they just are not signed by Andreas. Ordering mine now! Can't wait

  34. Stella! Thank you so much. I've ordered mine too (the postage cost twice as much as the book lol).

    Many thanks again, I owe you a beer ;)

  35. mr andreas deja what goes in your mind when you draw this animals. are you striving for the gesture.?

  36. I have been reading the text from " the art of animal drawing book" which i dont understand.

    the artist is not merely a human camera who illustrate precisly what he sees. most of the sketches were done without models or photographs. when i did use them they serve as a stepping stone rather than the outright statement of what i want to express.

  37. Hi Andreas, I just wanted to ask if there is any chance what so ever that you still have one of those sketchbooks around for sale?
    If so, here is my contact
    I would super appreciate if you could help me out.
    Thanks you so much