African Safari Family Legacy
FIRST STORY FROM RECENT TRIP TO AFRICA
Nothing is more exciting than to draw an African animal.
I am a writer and a photographer, but I dabble in drawing and wood carving.
I'm posting some of my drawings not to suggest I am a skilled professional, as I am not. My intent is to illustrate that through drawing the creatures I will become more intimate with every line, every curvature, every angle of the magical creatures that comprise the "wild" of Africa.
Through drawing, I also become aware of the vital embracement of art in relation to the African environment. Drawing forces one to become "part of" the animal, bird, the tree, the grass, the shade shadows, the clouds, the sky so one becomes a child of Africa, a neophyte in awe of its wonderment.
Drawing requires intense study of the photo, and, at least for me, countless vain attempts to recreate the reality of the creature. It also involves reading about the creature or scene you draw to get a "feel" for the reality of pencil on paper. I was reading the other evening about the elephant, and how its trunk hast two "fingers" to delicately pinch up the smallest of objects, and how its crusty, thick hide is shaped like tiny bricks with crevasses carved into deep wrinkles so water can be trapped there to increase the cooling of the giant creature.
When I draw an elephant, I have become part of its knowledge, its wisdom, its purpose. I understand better the need to preserve these creatures, and why it is important for future generations such as my grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and their grandchildren's grandchildren to have the choice to travel on their own Legacy Safari back in time and stand on the soil near the elephants, lions, rhinos and other creatures where humans rose upon two legs and began to migrate to the far reaches of this earth.
My goal is that when I arrive in Africa, I will have drawn the majority of creatures I will see, and thus be closer to them and the land itself.
A true legacy means you become "part of" whatever you do, and by drawing, I become "part of" my world of Africa.
Thus, I encourage anyone thinking of taking a Legacy Safari at some time in the near or far future to pick up any pencil and start roughing out a drawing of a lion, elephant, giraffe.
Take a picture you like of any animal, bird, or landscape, and just sketch. It isn't an issue of whether you draw the creature correctly, for no art can ever replace reality. The idea is you are becoming "intimate" with the creature; you are reaching across time and space to become nuclear with the animal, to become one with it, to fuse your humanness with its wildness.
If you have children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces, have them draw their favorite zoo animal. Often, the seeds of an African Family Safari Legacy are born through the imagination and gestate over time until a savings plan is formed, and the whole family rallies behind the idea of taking a trip to Africa at some point in time.
Drawings start off awkward at first, like anything. But if you continue to let your passion and belief that you can do it flow, you will find yourself more than able to render fascinating drawings you can't believe came from the tip of your pencil.
I erase a lot. An eraser allows you to reconstruct and reconstruct until you get the right feel, the right proportions, the right shadings. The web is full of aides and tools to help. I often go to www.wetcanvas.com where artists from all over post "how-to-do-it" examples and guides for us neophytes.
Draw yourself into an African Legacy Safari. Start today.
(Links to additional drawings by cliff)