Using Toy Animals as Artist’s Models

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How Schleich Animals Can Help Us Learn to Draw and Sculpt

Our local feed store carries the Schleich line of toy animals, and I tend to add a new one to my cart whenever I go in for chicken food. They have lots of wild animals, and farm animals, and even some dinosaurs. Some of them aren’t as realistic as others, but most of them make good reference materials for a drawing or sculpture.

As I mentioned in the video, I used their ram to help me see how to put the horns on my ram mask, and how the horns sit in relation to the ears. I looked at a lot of photos, too, but the toy ram was a big help.

While I was doing research for this post I found the Volnau brand of tiny animals that include sea creatures, too. From the photos, they look quite realistic, but I haven’t seen any of them up close yet. Their sets include more animals than the Schleich brand, so that might be a better way to build up a collection.

If you’ve used these little toy animals as models for your drawing or sculpting, please let us know if they helped.

If you’d like to read Temple Grandin’s book that I mentioned at the front of the video, you can find it here.

And I think the book that talked about the depressed leopard was “Animals in Translation” – a great book. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Using Toy Animals as Artist’s Models”

  1. I have a bunch of those little animal figures, too. I started buying them for a drawing class when I couldn’t find enough reference photos of the whole animal especially the back and top of the head. They really help in seeing proportions and placement of eyes, horns, whatever. They also have dragons and other mythological animals for inspiration. I think they are great tools.

  2. Hi jonni, I have just finished watching your video on how to use the little toys for reference. It’s super. I have seen these toys in a few art shops but they are a bit expensive. However, I am keeping my eye open for a nice horse and I will give it a try. I keep photographs for reference and they are a great help.
    I am back painting and have started a few small sculptures . I will keep you posted. Many thanks, Margaret

  3. Hi Jonni…enjoyed your comments today. Could you please post the author and title of the book you mentioned? Sounds like a good read. Thk you.


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