Sketching a young male deer

I have been asked to paint a young stag and it’s with delight that I begin.


Just before Christmas I bought The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and it cast a spell over me for the whole week during which I sat snuggled up reading it. Why? because it is set in times past in frontier Alaska where snow, log cabins and basic living are the norm – my kind of escape material for some reason.

Anyway – getting back to my sketch. The story features a great deer and I imagined his antlers silhouetting against the barren snowy nightscapes and with this image in mind I began my baby stag.

I selected a few images from royalty free sites and my customer chose one. One that I would have chosen too, which boded well.

stag young

To push me to draw fast and focussed I stood bending over slightly at a table in my studio. It was not comfy and made me get down the essential planes quickly. I was happy with the funny knuckle and finger-like horns and the eyes as I drew.
I never realised just how asymmetrical and un-matching the horns are. They are both quite different in shape and width as they grow out of the head.

Looking at it now I feel overall he has too austere a look and is a bit unfriendly. I may have drawn his face too thin overall and I need to create a small disconnect between the inner edges of his ears and those antlers to make a shadow area – what do you think?
Anyway – I might be able to soften this skull-like line drawing with the warmth and fluidity of watercolour washes which I will do tomorrow.

To see a doe watercolour demo I did a while back click here.
If not I will draw again. I love the curvilinear and sensuous planes and angles in this animal. So graceful.

Watch this space.


2 thoughts on “Sketching a young male deer

  1. I think once you had color, he won’t look as thin, but he has a skinny face in the first place. I also think once you paint his eyes very dark, it will make a big difference. The white eyes make him look a little alienish right now. I can’t wait to see how he turns out!

    1. Hi Milka

      I think you are right…the large chocolate eyes will make him more appealing plus the soft caramel of his coat too. I think now he sort of looks like a billy goat! Thanks for your comments A

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