After executing a fair bit of drawing work in the fall of 2018 and into early 2019, I went through a two-year lull in which I didn’t produce a single new finished drawing. There were a lot of stops and starts and abandonments, and distractions of writing work. I have finally put something new down on paper, which I have been planning since spying this cormorant high atop a dead jackpine in Monument Channel on eastern Georgian Bay in the summer of 2019. I took a mess of reference photos with a telephoto lens from my boat’s dinghy. It took two studies to figure out the minimum size I could manage for the bird, which ended up dictating a drawing about 15×22 inches. This is the first drawing I’ve produced using a Koh-I-Noor charcoal pencil (Silky Black, 8815/1) rather than a Conté stick or pencil. I find this pencil delivers a little more control, and the finish is less powdery than Conté, which means less loss of tonal depth and the need for fixative spray.
I confess to a perhaps perverse affection for double-crested cormorants, which are such a hated bird to so many people, They have been unfairly maligned literally for centuries as gluttonous fish-eaters, and I have written in the past about controversial desires to eradicate their colonies in the Great Lakes.