Today’s experiment:

I remember how difficult it used to be for me to estimate proportions in my drawings of faces and figures.  It is still not my forte.  On a whim, I wanted to see how I would fare with a sketch today.

Sketch subject – my Jaguar

Begin digression:

Before I describe today’s sketch I wish to digress briefly for a riddle. My father, a mathematician once explained some logical (and also grammatical) principles to me.

“A single negative is a negative;  a double negative is a positive,” he said.

I replied, “Yes, I know that, what’s your point?”

He continued, “When is a triple positive, a negative?”

I was blank.

He went on, “I eavesdropped on a conversation the other day. This girl asked her father for a very expensive car and he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, sure, a Jaguar I’ll get you.”

A perfect example of a triple positive yielding a negative.

End digression.

The subject of  my experiment today is not an automobile, but rather an old jaguar statue. It has been in my family for quite a while. I saw this figure perfectly silhouetted once, in a scene in the mystery series ‘Poirot’ (with David Suchet). Since Agatha Christie placed her Poirot mysteries in the 1930s, I am sure this is the vintage of my statue.

Photo: Jaguar Statue

Vintage Jaguar Statue


I selected charcoal as my medium so that I could easily attain a wide range of tonal values in a short amount of time. The format of my paper was large (12″x18″), so any watercoloring would require preparation to prevent warping of the paper.

I sketched the head of the jaguar from my desk chair. The large paper gave me a lot more freedom. I haven’t sketched on this scale in many years. I took a life drawing class once and we sketched on huge pads of newsprint affixed to easels. One uses different muscles for that kind of drawing.

Photo: Jaguar Head

Here is my sketch:

Charcoal Sketch: Jaguar Sketch

Jaguar Sketch – Charcoal
12″x18″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper


I am very pleased that I got the proportions correct in this sketch. I am sure that, with further experience in the medium of charcoal, I could probably reproduce more mid-level tonal values, for a better rendering of the surface of the statue. I would love to try a watercolor painting of the jaguar’s head on this scale. Some day soon, perhaps.

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