Animals Drawing Gouache Painting Photos Sketchbook Pages

I Otter Go to the Zoo

Otter, Gouache and Ink
Optimistic Otter, Gouache and Ink

…but my son Robin did instead. And he took wonderful, soulful photos that he shared with me. So of course I had to sketch them, starting with this otter whose expression really struck me. It came out a little different in each sketch.

Otter, drawn with icky Pigma Brush Pen
Worried Otter, drawn with icky Pigma Brush Pen

I finally threw away the Pigma Brush Pen I used for this sketch. The point seemed to fray on first use and only got worse. The Pitt Artist Brush Pens seem to hold up better.

Otter, Sepia & Black Pitt Artist Pens
Perplexed Otter, Sepia & Black Pitt Artist Pens

I think this one is my favorite either because of his expression (why am I assuming it’s a boy?) or because the drawing reminds me of a series of children’s books I used to read to my sons when they were little, about a little badger named Francis.

And here is Robin’s original photo:

Otter, photo by Robin Bouc
Otter, photo by Robin Bouc

I wonder what this cute little guy was thinking. Doesn’t this just call for a caption? What would it be?

16 replies on “I Otter Go to the Zoo”

The top sketch gets my vote! I used to photograph and (try to!) sketch a cute otter at the zoo in Auckland, many years ago.
And a caption?
“Lunch is a little late today.”


What a sweet boy! That expression! I think he is saying something like, “Hey, where did everybody go?” or “Hmm, oh well, stuck at the zoo…again” All 3 sketches have their own little personality. Looks like a fun effort.


I can’t think of a caption, but you’re becoming quite adept with the gouache. It seems to like you! Really nice job on the first sketch, though I like the others too.


Thanks Nel. After I saw Loise Stanley’s gouache paintings in her journals that I posted about tonight, I made a note to myself to really learn to use gouache. I found an out of print book about gouache that is supposed to be good at one of the libraries in our system and ordered it. Jana


Wonderful sketches, and I like that you tried several different approaches to it!

The expression on the otter’s face is similar to the one I had after waiting in line for two hours at the DMV, only to be told you’re missing a piece of paper, you’ll have to come back and try again.


Oooh, I think my expression would be a bit more annoyed than his after that. Two hours in line at DMV!? How awful! \

There was a funny TV show called “Reaper” where the DMV was the portal through which escaped souls were sent back to Hell. It was a funny premise, but rather too true! Jana


caption: “I’d rather be at the San Diego Zoo?” Reminds me that our zoo is now the first to go Google Map street view. I’m inspired to check out our otters.


“so, should I have the mackerel for breakfast or the sardines? If I have the sardines, then I can have the leftover trout for lunch…”

love how you captured his nose and cute little mouth…


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