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Did You Draw a Rhino Today? 4 Reasons to Draw More Rhinos

Iris works as an illustrator and concept artist. She also believes that anyone can learn to draw, it just takes some time and fun.

Why draw a rhino when you can't even draw a dog or a face yet?

Everyone tries to draw people’s faces, while that’s one of the hardest things to draw. We see faces every day and are fine-tuned to pick up the smallest mistakes.

Have you heard of “uncanny valley”? It’s when a drawing feels creepy but you can’t tell why. Often this is because we pick up small mistakes and our subconscious starts screaming at us: “THAT’S NOT A REAL HUMAN!”. That happens even when we can’t quite say what is wrong with the artwork.

So yup, humans are the hardest to draw because anyone can tell when you don’t do it right. The same applies to dogs and horses. Of course not as much as when it comes to people, but still most folks are familiar with what a dog or horse should look like.

Now how often do you see rhinos in your daily life? Let’s have a look at this rhino drawing:


It’s just a rhino, right? But I’ve drawn the ears, nose, forehead and eyes all in the wrong place:


If we shift the anatomy of a human by a little bit, it looks so wrong. Even though I traced the “correct” portrait version of this woman, my “correct” sketch makes her nose seem a bit bigger and her eyes a bit more narrow, so we already lost likeness between the two. We’re so fine tuned that small differences look like a different person.

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And yet the rhino just looks like a rhino.

I made smaller changes for the woman’s portrait than for the rhino, but the mistakes feel bigger


It goes even further; for some people the correct rhino drawing feels wrong and the mistake feels more natural!


That’s because if we’re not familiar with the animal anatomy, we project human anatomy onto it - ears go on the side of your head, not on the top of it!

A Visual Library is a great asset for your drawing skills, especially when you do design work. I’ll discuss the concept of a “visual library” in a different article, but in short: in art, a visual library is your background knowledge of what the world looks like, so you can draw on that for making cool designs, or it gives you a gut feeling of when something doesn’t look right. We all have an extensive visual library of human faces even if we can’t translate that to paper yet, but not everyone has a visual library of niche subjects like African wildlife, skyscraper architecture or Japanese RPG weapons.

Sketches made by myself, stock pictures free use & no attribution license from Pixabay.


Claudia Smaletz from East Coast on August 30, 2021:

Agreed I usually draw every day it really does help

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