How to draw a Badger
Simple Conte pastel Badger drawing
The basic body outline.
The Badger head
With your smaller oval in place, you now need to define the face and shapes. The European badger has a squat snout which has a slight upward curve. The nose itself is defined and similar to that of a large dog but to draw the nose you first need to shape the snout itself. From your small head oval draw out a curved line with slowly and gently rises upwards. This will form the basis for your nose.
The nose shape is the thing that defines the badger as from this you get the very distinctive black and white stripes. With these, there is no way that the animal could be mistaken for anything else.
Once you are happy with your nose shape then it is time to add the legs and tail to your large body oval.
Drawing a Badger -Where to start.
The European badger is a squat and large mammal and is easy for beginners to draw for several reasons. Firstly, the animal features black and white colouring and a range of greys for tone. The body shape is easy to draw too as it comprises two ovals- The larger one becoming the main body of the badger and the smaller one becoming the face.
To begin your drawing, start with these two ovals. Look at the shape of the badger and break it down into basic geometry until you get an eye for ratio and free hand drawing. Two ovals will form the basis for your sketch.
The trick to a good badger is proportion and texture. A badger has a course coat which varies in shade from grey, hints of white and through to black. The face has the very distinctive white stripes and the tail is fluffy and white too. Texturing the coat is easy with the side of a Conte crayon or a soft pencil. I use white, grey, dark purple and black to build up the layers and textures.
The badger's face.
Conte soft pastels
These are the amazing soft pastels that I use to create pictures like the one above. The are blendable and powdery and give a strong colour finish. Conte are one of my favourite pastels as they give such a beautiful feathery texture to the picture.
With the curved snout and the little black eyes, the badger has a face full of character. This creature has been in the UK for a long time and is iconic. To ensure that my badger drawings stand out, I add white light touches to the nose and the eyes, and I create movement in the fur by using varying strokes from whatever medium that I am working in.
In this drawing I used Conte, which are soft and chalky- perfect for smudging and shading. For definition I used the sharper edges of the Conte crayon side.
Once you have added in your white stripes against the black paper, your badger should be taking shape. Bring it to life with some bear-like claws on the end of the feet and some textured hair. Don't forget little details like the reflecting light in the eye or the straggly whiskers. Remember to draw over your oval body shape with the hair to create dimension and movement. Realism comes from having the little details right.
Conte starter pack:
Badger hair and detailing.
Building up texture to bring the hair to life gives depth to the drawing.
A badger has a thick and long coarse coat which is easy to replicate with long strokes of your pencil or crayon. If like me you have used black acid free paper, you already have the base colour. All that remains is to build up the hair with a mix of hues.
Create movement in the coat by drawing the hair lines in different directions. Don't forget that the hair lies differently along the body when around the legs and face. The backside of the badger is full and round leading to that cute white tail. Curving your drawing strokes will help to create that fullness.
Using other media.
As your confidence grows, you can introduce other media such as coloured pencils, watercolour acrylics etc. The painting of mine below is created in acrylic on a box canvas frame. Again, the texture of the hair was done in strokes and layering, building up to a 3 dimensional image.
If you work with paint then there is scope for funky backgrounds and unusual colour pairings. Never be afraid to experiment and work on finding your own style.
I intend to write some more hubs on how to work with Conte pastels in more detail, including using them in combination with materials such as pen and ink. Conte are perfect for wildlife as you can use them to define but they retain a softness. That softness is especially important when drawing fur and feathers.
Alternative media- acrylic paint on box canvas.
Brief details about the European Badger.
1/ The European Badger (Meles Meles) is affectionately known as "Brock" and can be found all over Europe. These are large and bumbling animals who are shy and mellow in nature although a badger can fight if necessary. The animal has very sharp teeth and incredible bear-like claws which it uses for digging.
2/ Adult badgers can weigh up to 6-14kg in Spring but the weight varies according to season. In Autumn the badger can weigh as much as 18kg as it stocks up before winter.
3/ The European badger is nocturnal and lives in an large underground burrow system called a sett. The sett can have many entrances and be fairly large in size. Each sett can be home to several families of badger. Badgers can co-exist quite happily with other wildlife including foxes and have been known to sometimes share their setts with them. They are equally at home around domestic animals- I have fed one for years who eats with a feral cat colony with no problems.
4/ The sett comprises an elaborate system of entrances and tunnels. Some setts are hundreds of years old. Badgers keep their setts clean and are known for having what are known as "latrines" which are situated around their territory.
5/ The badger has a varied diet which ranges from earthworms, fruits, seeds and nuts, right through to small mammals and carrion. They particularly love peanuts.
6/ The European badger is currently a protected species (despite the awful cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset) although it is clear that the current Government would like to see this status revoked. Badgers have been scapegoated for years by farmers in regards to the spread of Btb which they caught initially from cows. A vaccine exists and badger groups are busy trying to get their badgers vaccinated. This has to be done every year for five years.
Some beautiful HD footage of Badgers.
Supporting native wildlife.
Not only can wildlife art support causes via fundraising like I have done, it can also raise awareness of specific species. In the UK there are many badger groups that have formed due to the situation with the UK cull, including "sab" groups, wounded badger patrols and local wildlife groups.
One of the biggest groups is the Badger Trust. If you wish to support the beautiful badger, then that would be your first port of call. There are many groups on Facebook also.
Have you ever seen a European badger in the wild?
Further information on badgers.
- The Badger Trust: Home Page
Badger conservation and welfare are the primary goals of the Badger Trust (the new name for the National Federation of Badger Groups, NFBG). Badgers (Meles meles) face a wide range of threats including badger digging, badger baiting and other forms o