Original by Shane Swann

Medium pen and pencil

Pangolins are a sort of armoured ant-eater, and like ant-eaters, the young ride on the tail or back of the mother. They are also the only mammal covered in scales.

I started this drawing straight after completing Matriarch and Baby . After taking on such a mammoth task with the elephant drawing, I
felt I wanted to work on something much smaller that I could complete faster. However I discovered that working on a smaller scale, on such a textured animal meant I had to work even more intensely on the detail – meaning it still took rather a long time to finish. Also it was the first time I’d worked on a drawing of an animal that didn’t have fur or fine feathers, I found it quite a challenge trying to find a way to draw in the effect of the scales. The other struggle was drawing in the structure and form of the scales – for example, when drawing fur, you can improvise a bit, however the pangolin’s scales had to be drawn almost mathematically, in a perfectly regimented order, I found this very difficult… if one scale was in the wrong place or wrong size, it would ruin the overall effect!

I was originally only going to draw the two pangolins, however in doing this, the composition looked wrong to me. I felt the pangolin needed to be grounded on something.. so I decided to draw in leaves, twigs etc, the kind you’d see on the ground of it’s natural habitat. I enjoyed this, the under and over lapping of leaves and twigs was challenging but fulfilling to complete.

I was very pleased with the outcome of this drawing, what started as simple sketch, actually became one of my favourite drawings i’ve done.

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