Learning To Draw Goats

No matter what books I am working on, somehow I end up with another book about goats. This year is no exception on that score. It does leave me learning to draw goats.

In school I drew horses. Lots of horses. I didn’t draw goats.

drawing goats depends of getting the head right
An Alpine goat has a dished face but a straight nose. The ears are pointed and upright. Saanens have a similar nose, but the ears open wider and are more rounded at the tips.

Later I worked on cats. These were much more difficult. I didn’t draw goats.

So now I need to draw goats.

This book is a little fun thing filled with alliterations, tongue twisters, short stories and short remembrances about goats. It isn’t quite done yet.

Nubians are different
A Nubian doe has a Roman or convex nose. The ears go down with an upward flair at the tip. They are wide and as long or longer that the nose.

Since each short topic is on a different topic, each can be worked with separately. One series of flash fiction stories are related, yet each is still different. Each begs for an illustration.

Usually I use photographs. I have none to use to fit this book. The illustrations will need to be drawn.

The easy way is to have someone else who draws regularly draw these illustrations. Except the easy way will be the hardest way.

newborn Nubian kid
Newborn kids are different. They have long legs, difficulty standing and are often as miserable as this one looks as they are suddenly someplace new. By the next day the awkwardness is replaced by cuteness.

Who draws goats? Very few people around here. And goats are different.

Goats are angular, not round like horses, cats or dogs. Each goat breed is different and some of those differences are subtle. If the artist misses one, anyone familiar with the breed will spot it right off and know the artist didn’t know what a goat should look like.

drawing goats means knowing meat from dairy characteristics
Boers are meat goats. They have short legs and thick, chunky bodies. They look heavy. Many of the body angles are rounded over.

That leaves me learning to draw goats.

I do have lots of models, if I can get them to stand still for a time. Photographs are easier and I do have lots of those.

dairy goats are different
This Nubian shows some dairy characteristics. They have long legs to make milking easier. Juliette is an old fashioned Nubian so her body is heavier but still not meaty over the back. The muscles are thinner

The other problem is breed. My goats are Nubians with their Roman noses and long, pendulous ears. Other breeds have dished faces and upright ears. And LaManchas have tiny ears.

My solution will be to draw illustrations for the easy stories first. Build up my confidence. I can do this.

After all, learning to draw goats will be like learning to draw horses. It’s a matter of practice.

Martha Cunningham drew the illustrations in “Dora’s Story.”