Readers might wonder why I have offered up no drawings of the hamsters. My reasons are many. Ten, actually to be precise. Hmm, with ten hamsters, I spend much of my discretional time cleaning cages. I provide hamster janitorial services daily. What hours of the day remain, I can be forgiven for devoting to other things, as for example to reading, or eating, or even sleeping.
Then too, though I am a fairly patient person, especially as regards art, ten hamsters make for difficult drawing subjects. Certainly a single hamster would be easier to draw than any hamster with several roommates. With one animal, one watches and gradually observes and learns most of their repertoire of behaviors. Usually animals, even ones that move around a lot, return habitually to some pose they adopted a few minutes earlier. So while one needs to make many sketches on the fly — in highly interruptible sessions composed of numerous restarts — eventually with luck one gains enough swiftness of hand and knowledge of the particular anatomy to make a decent resemblance. Or one can also draw an animal sleeping, when all else has failed.
That last resort fails, however, when one has ten hamsters — even divided up boys and girls, into two cages of seven and three, respectively (a division that one hopes took place soon enough, if you catch my drift). Take my situation today. I began drawing one cute little fellow, lying in a huddle, his face up turned. I had barely rendered a few silvery lines when one of his roomies steps over him and sits atop the aforementioned cute face. After the interloper had moved on, my subject had shifted pose, scrunching his face under the fluff of a neighbor, and that chance was lost.
So I pick another customer. The second face is not quite as cute as the first, but cute enough. I make, I think, maybe three gestures with the pencil when a wakeful hamster among the group decides to shift through their aspen bedding, flinging bits of wood shavings this way and that. One clump of wood sliver lands — guess where.
I’m a patient person, but I gave up. I told the peaceful sleepers, “I’m drawing something that doesn’t move. Hasta.” It mattered little. No visage was left visible to draw. All the sleeping hamsters were now presenting surfaces of fur only, rolled up in clumps of undifferentiated hamster mass.
However I found something to steady my optic nerve! I picked up a favorite little sea shell and made a fast drawing of pen lines. I think my little study is as much about masses of lines as it is about a shell. That should have worked with hamsters. All those lines of gossamer fur! Perhaps it’s courage I lack! Drawing challenge for brave hearts: draw hamsters!
This is as much of a hamster as I have managed to draw so far: