A few years ago, I was up early having coffee on my back porch when my eye caught a slight movement in the tall grass at the edge of the pasture. A coyote trotted out into the yard, moving steadily toward some destination only she knew. She cut across the lawn, passing within 15 feet of me, and continued silently on her way.
I live in a rural area where coyote sightings are common. Increasingly, however, they show up in the heart of the city — and thrive there. Coyote pups born in an urban environment have a survival rate five times higher than rural coyotes. It’s not usual to hear the eerie nighttime howling of Canis latrans in city parks and neighborhoods.
Related to wolves, foxes and dogs, the coyote is roughly the size of a whippet. In sketching a coyote, be careful not to draw him moving as a dog moves. In motion, nearly everything about the coyote is different from his domesticated cousin: the coyote moves with head and tail low, looking more like a fox than a dog.
We’ll approach our coyote sketches by putting special emphasis on the dynamic line, an invisible meridian that runs from a point between the ears, along the spine to the tip of the tail. Any time you draw four-legged animals in motion, the range of movement starts at the dynamic line. Get this line correct, and your pose will be natural and accurate.
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