Pets in Space

…Or, How to Draw Animals the Mrs. Tracy Way

pets in space

It took me awhile to find where I had posted this drawing before, but I found it at the end of “More Whimsy”. I thought it would be a good starting place for a “How-To” post about drawing animals, which I promised to do in “How To Draw People When You Don’t Know How to Draw People.” I chose this one because of the variety of pets/animals that can be seen in it.


You will notice in this detail that (whimsical) animals are actually pretty easy to draw. See how the cats, mice, rabbit and bears and some of the dogs all have roughly the same body shape? Then they all have a basically round head. Where you make them look like the different animals is with their ears, tails and whiskers (or lack thereof), and their faces. Afterward you can color them in however you want.

pets in space center

Of course if they are going to be in space, remember to make them facing all different ways. You may have to rotate your paper in order to do this more easily.

pets in space detail

I see by the date on this that “Pets in Space” is almost six years old now. In this detail you will see a bird, as well as some turtles, snails, a gecko and a ladybug. Don’t be afraid to add non-pet animals to your drawing. It makes it that much more whimsical. Instructions for snails and ladybugs can be found in “A Closer Look, (or How to Draw Whimsical Insects).” 

birds at school

Speaking of birds, they are pretty easy to do if you don’t mind them not looking real. (But remember, whimsical doesn’t have to look real, which is a real plus when you don’t know how to draw birds!) These “Birds at School” are part of a drawing found in “Animal Playgrounds.”  Notice the pink bird in the foreground taking a selfie on the cell phone. That’s one of the real-life details I probably wouldn’t have thought to put in had I not been a middle school teacher!

Of course, you can’t have a playground without at least one fight, and it’s nice if you get to choose what you want to eat in the cafeteria. I’m wondering now why I made the worms cheaper than the seeds; seems like it should be the other way around.

penguin playground

Penguins are actually easier for me to draw than regular birds, because they pretty much stand up straight so you can make them facing toward you without much trouble. My English learners got pretty good at drawing penguins the Mrs. Tracy way.

Rocky's penguin
Penguin by Rocky.

Here you can see some details from “Animal Hospital” as well as some practice drawings at the bottom right. Never be afraid to have at least one page in your sketchbook that you can use for practice. It’s also a good place to test colors if you aren’t sure how they will look, because you know you can’t erase gel pen!

manger scene

Here is a manger scene from 2013. What do I always tell you? That’s right! Drawing your people and animals facing the other way eliminates having to know how to draw their faces!

cats by fenceAnimals in action are a teeny bit harder so you may need to use your practice page to get their positions just right.

calico cat
Just make different color patches on your cat and you can call it a calico. No need for expert knowledge of cat breeds!
rabbit garden2
In case you ever wondered how rabbits can get carrots without going outside, now you know.
rabbit lbrary3
Also in case you didn’t know, rabbits like to read in their libraries on a rainy day.
You can always add a whimsical groundhog to your garden scene.
small bear
As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to know what kind of animal it is. Decide what it will be after you draw it. I’d say this could be a bear, based on his looks, but it would have to be a super small one. But remember, it’s YOUR drawing so your animals can be whatever you want them to be.
Sage's Zoo
This is Sage’s Zoo, done for my granddaughter in 2012.

Wild or zoo animals are a little more difficult to get right, at least for me, especially the monkeys. I admit to having trouble getting anything to look mean or dangerous. Case in point, the lion and the bear David remembers in “David and Goliath” below…

lion and bear
Well, at least the camel looks pretty good!

Hopefully you have gained some inspiration for your future animal drawings from this highly technical drawing lesson! (OK well maybe it wasn’t all that technical, but it was fun.)  Maybe next time we can try whimsical flowers…