Posted on Nov 27, 2012 in Berlin | 1 comment

Sketches of animals at the Berlin Zoo

Sketches of animals at the Berlin Zoo.

On Monday, Nov. 26 I met Katrin and two other illustrator colleagues of hers, Anja and Christian, at the Berlin Zoo.

Before I got there, I had already been on the Berlin public transit for 2.5 hours since I had to drop off a package at FedEx, and there is only ONE FedEx drop off location in all of Berlin, which was of course on the other end of Berlin from the zoo. I could have called it in for pickup, but I didn’t want to be stuck at home.

In the Berlin U-Bahn

In the U-Bahn in Berlin — a long ride home from the zoo gave me time to sketch, but I got so wrapped up in drawing that I missed my stop and had to ride back on another train. But getting a sketch done was worth it.

Berlin has an amazing old zoo. I grew up in Cologne, right next door to the Cologne Zoo, and my mother took me to the zoo sometimes daily in the warmer months, when I was small child. She must have had an annual pass. So seeing the old buildings that were designed in a style reflecting the animals’ region of origin, reminded me of the magic and mystery of seeing these exotic creatures. But they all look quite sad, especially the great apes, as Katrin pointed out. I found it very difficult to draw them because obviously most of these animals move around, but it was a fun exercise for me. Katrin did a fantastic drawing of the “Giraffenhaus“.

Sunrise on Berlin apartment buildings

Sunrise on Berlin apartment buildings.

Hippopotamus at the Berlin Zoo

A big hippo at the Berlin Zoo. But even more amazing are the hippo-sized ducks in the foreground.

Elephants at the Berlin Zoo

There was some noisy construction going on nearby and that may be why the elephants got very excited. One of them, who seemed to be their leader, trumpeted loudly and stomped about, gathering the other three adults to form a circle around the one baby elephant.

Giraffenhaus at the Berlin Zoo

The “Giraffenhaus” at the Berlin Zoo. A beautiful turn-of-the-century building which captures that era’s romanticism about exotic places. In my childhood’s imagination, both giraffes and elephants were from Ali Baba’s magical world. Katrin did a great drawing of this building here.

Gorilla at the Berlin Zoo

I came upon this strange scene: the gorilla seemed to pose for the humans. But I am sure he was quite indifferent.