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Once in a while, it’s a good idea to relax with some fun sketching. Draw something frivolous and light. Recently I stumbled upon a neighborhood Shinto shrine with Chinese zodiac sculptures. Not the usual beautiful, elegant figures, but in signature cute Japanese style. I photographed all of them. I thought they would be easy and fun to sketch.
Why is this a simple sketching exercise?
Drawing animals is not the easiest thing. But in this case, the sculptor has simplified and stylized every Zodiac animal for us. The cute, round shapes have done away with all complications (except, perhaps, the dragon). Remember that you don’t have to draw exactly what you see. Draw them the way you want to and make them your own.
You can start with the head and work your way from there. I invariably found that I made the head too big. In any case, that’s how I figured out the proportions. Drawing with a pencil makes it easy to correct any mistake. Don’t tinker too much with your drawing, though. Let things be. To sketch means to let yourself loose. Focus on learning how to see. Not perfection.
The local Shinto shrine
If you take a walk around Japanese neighborhoods, you will inevitably come across a local shrine. Take a look at photos from the Shinto shrine in question. Important family rituals take place there. During the first week of the new year, people pray for good luck from nature gods or Kami.
Many new year cards in Japan have an image of the Chinese Zodiac animal for the year. In 2022, the Chinese lunar year starts on February 1, and it is The Year of the Tiger.
What does the Year of the Tiger mean?
Let me quote from Yahoo Life!: “The Year of the Tiger will be about making big changes. This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again”. Sounds good!
The Zodiac animal photos and my sketches
I am showing you the sketches I made from these animals. Now it is your turn! You are most welcome to share your work in our One Tree Art Club Facebook group. I can’t wait to see yours.
If you enjoy painting with watercolor, you will find many tutorials on this blog. They come with free outlines that you can download from the One Tree Art Club library.
A few more posts about sketching that you may enjoy: