The best way is to imagine the animal with the head of a giraffe, the front part of the neck long and the wings in a cross. You could then add a neck or hind half and then draw a single leg holding up its breast (similar to how the head of the male elephant is held up by its long neck). The legs alone are sufficient but it does not take long to figure out in which direction they should go. It also helps to see that they cannot turn to another direction like an elephant. You must keep the head the same direction all the time.
This is called “The Cross of the Horse” or “The Three Arrows”.
The idea for the giraffe design came in the mid to late 60’s in America. The French artist Andre Brion, who was also a very avid watercolorist, thought how nice it would look if a giraffe got a bow and arrows. He went to a local zoo which he saw. It had three giraffes and one giraffe had an arrow sticking out the side of its head. The giraffe in the middle was so small he couldn’t draw him accurately enough yet. I saw him and thought it would be a great concept in the end. I drew the concept and got my first drawing done for a few months.
After some years the watercolorists were impressed but wanted to see what the drawing looked like with real animals. My family got me a small wood framed giraffe and the drawing was done. It was the only real drawing we did in that whole time to get started in the field.
There is a great cartoon by John McCrea called Water Color in the 1960’s in the New York Times. He used all watercolor and his giraffe design is the best I have seen.
To my eye the drawing resembles the horse and a cross. I used a watercolor of a giraffe and a cross to get the horse design.
To create the giraffe I took a drawing that you got in a museum or in a book and tried to recreate it to my drawing. The drawing I used was made in the 1970’s or 1980’s and I did not draw from memory at that time. I had a little drawing book from the 50’s which contained the drawings for many famous artists.
To give the giraffe the legs and feet, I added a few different techniques to my drawing. I have used the horse on this page. The watercolor drawings are the same way. With
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