Pencil Drawing Series: David Filer


He was born in Zimbabwe in 1986, and after achieving an Honours degree in Information Design at the University of Pretoria in 2008, he began drawing full time in the highly competitive and somewhat precarious field of wildlife art.

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story. Lisa Hogan

While specialising in African wildlife, David seems to devour any subject matter put in front of him. It is not the end product that most inspires him, but the journey taken to unveil the world’s beautiful creatures. Hair by hair, a creature is almost carved from the paper and with his attention to the smallest detail, an old battle scar or a blemish on the skin seems to tell a story unique to each piece.

“The most difficult part of a drawing are the eyes, when you get those right, the rest of the piece falls into place.” There is an almost-human quality in the gaze of his animals, where no matter the subject, is always dramatic.

dungbeetles majesty giraffe2

In terms of what inspires me, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint one exact thing, but rather a single moment that triggers a response – be it a moment in the wild, a song, or in the case of my most sentimental drawing; a dream.

As for the medium, he have settled on graphite pencil as he stated, “I find that when reduced to black and white, you strip the subject matter down to its basic shades and are left with an intense, powerful piece of art. When portraying the true beauty of wildlife, you often find variety of textures in one subject, from the silky smoothness of an elephants tusk, to the almost granulated leather covering his trunk.” As a result, the highest quality Fabriano paper is used and carefully fixed to preserve the tiniest of details.

gfowl Gus pangolin butterfly orangutang

Images courtesy of David Filer


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