Capture wildlife in the wild


Becky Thorley-Fox shares the secrets of capturing wildlife from life, drawing and painting on the spot.


Drawing and painting wildlife in the field is a challenging but highly rewarding pursuit.  A photo only offers a frozen moment and doesn’t reflect the way the eye naturally sees.  Getting to know a species through drawing and painting will bring freshness and spontaneity to your work.  Your constantly moving subject and changing weather conditions employs all the senses and demands your full attention and keen observation skills.

Behind every painting there will have been many hours spent sketching and getting to know a species.  You need to have a good sense of a bird or animal’s form and movement.  Begin with subjects close to hand and familiar to you – birds in your garden is a great way to start or visit local lakes to draw larger birds such as geese, ducks and swans.  Nature reserves or zoos also offer a way to get close to a subject.  Day trips or longer stays on our coastal islands is one of my favourite ways to spend time drawing and painting wildlife.  I’ve really enjoyed working on Bardsey Island, Skomer Island and the Isle of May and look forward to visiting others.