I can’t draw cows. Actually, I can’t draw animals of any sort.
My first attempts — soon after I began learning to draw — involved wolves. Later I tried sketching a dog, but fortunately for you, I didn’t save any of those drawings. The only dog I have drawn and saved was “Killer” — from Inktober 2018, done in ink. It was not a good drawing.
At one point I did paint an old gray mare as part of an underpainting lesson, and I have drawn and painted a few cats. One I did in scratchboard actually turned out good — until I worked a little more on it and gave it a horribly wonky-looking nose!
And then, there are cows. I like cows. I really love seeing pastoral scenes with cattle — actually a very popular subject for painters.
Recently I tried drawing a “bunch of cows”. I soon gave up. In this little watercolor, I finally gave up painting actual cattle and tried to suggest cows by using blobs of dark colors with white gouache for faces. It didn’t work.
It’s the thought that counts, right? Oh, wait. No. That only involves gift-giving, not art. Well, according to Phil Schmidt, a watercolor artist who judged our HFAA Regional Show a few years ago, a good judge does consider what the artist was trying to do, and maybe one blob here does resemble a cow — at least if you have a lot of imagination — but, seriously… let’s move on.
After completing my “cows in the field” watercolor, I figured I should practice diligently on drawing real cows, not blobs of wet paint. So, I gathered up a few reference photos and grabbed a pencil.
I tried sketching this cow directly onto a canvas panel in hopes of painting it in oil. Oh, the poor cow!
At this point, I decided to get some help, so I searched out “how to draw a cow” and came up with lots of hits. By following along with one tutorial, I was able to build a slightly better cow.
By no means great, but definitely an improvement. I sketched it first in graphite and then used a bit of watercolor.
A funny moment then happened — this was done on July 9 — when I scrolled through Facebook and found this!
As it turns out, July 9 was “Cow Appreciation Day”, and I’ll be marking that on my calendar from now on. I hope that cows everywhere can appreciate my desire to draw them and paint them, and the same goes for sheep, and horses, and dogs, and wolves, and all the rest of the animal kingdom.
I try. I really do.
And, by the way, how much do you really know about cows? I took the “Cow Quiz” from Farmer’s Almanac and scored 8 out of 9. Silly me. I’d forgotten how many stomachs a cow has!
Good luck, have fun, and, oh, before I go… may I share a favorite childhood joke?