Wednesday December 30th 2015

It’s a Real Zoo

Rachel Wetzler is great to work with. She’s very generous in sharing her knowledge. This time she told us a few things about how she creates such realistic animals.

First she searches magazines, books, or online to find images that will work. “My giraffe’s body needed to be positioned from the side, with the head turned toward the viewer, “ she explains. “When I found an image, I referred to it as a drawing guide to create the outline of the giraffe. From there I drew in the details such as spots and eyes. Using a photocopy machine, I enlarged the drawing until it was the right size.”

Here are some more tips. Thanks, Rachel!

  • Suitable fabrics lend natural color and visual texture. Try tone-on-tone fabrics, which have more movement than solid fabrics.
  • Shading through fabric choices and/or coloring with paints and pencils softens edges and creates depth.
  • Thread weight can be crucial to enhancing realism. The giraffe’s eyelashes are embroidered with 30-weight cotton thread, while the chin hairs are 60-weight polyester thread.
  • Add details with paint or colored pencils.
  • Animals too small to be worked in fabric, like the zebras, can be drawn with Pigma pens and fabric paint.
  • Eyes can make or break an animal. Do a little research to determine the shape and color. Always add correctly sized and placed white highlights in the eyes to bring the animal to life.

Jan Magee, The Quilt Life

Giraffe detail from The World by Rachel Wetzler
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