Winter Wildlife Biro Drawing Workshop
Thought Foundation
1 December 2019


Stepping into December, this workshop sparkled with Christmas jumpers, rainbow handbags and cardigans, and exceptionally furry drawings!  The workshop was attended by both children and adults including a very talented 4 year old.

The theme of Jane's presentation was wolves and the Wolf Conservation Center, New York:

Last year I visited the Wolf Conservation Center, New York state to meet Atka the famous Arctic Wolf. Atka was one of the center’s Ambassador wolves and I had dreamt of meeting him for five years!

The center is involved in the conservation of critically endangered red and Mexican grey wolves, which I also caught a glimpse of. There are only 14 Red wolves left in the wild.

Atka; image courtesy Wolf Conservation Center

Atka was the most gentle, magnificent animal imaginable. He was enormous. His eyes were an amazing yellow, gold colour.

Over hundreds of thousands of years wolves have been vilified by humans, which has led to their persecution. The last wolf in the UK was killed in Scotland in 1680 although there are some tales they existed in Scotland until the 18th century.  

Wolves were almost exterminated in the USA by a government driven wolf extermination programme from the 18th – mid 19th century that saw nearly 2 million wolves killed. They have slowly started to repopulate America, but they are still hunted today.

Atka spent many years visiting schools in America, helping to teach children and adults that wolves are not the dangerous animals humans think they are and that people living in wolf inhabited countries are far more likely to be killed by a bee sting than be harmed by wolves.  

Atka sadly passed away in his sleep last year, aged 16.  I am very lucky to have met and spent time with him. 

Jane meeting Atka

Since 2013 I have made several drawings of Atka and Wolf Conservation Center’s wolves for them to auction and raise funds to protect wolves. This year's drawing 'Home' is of Atka and layered with images of Arctic wildlife.

Home 2019 Biro drawing Jane Lee McCracken for Wolf Conservation Center 



Attendees were given the choice of the following species, associated with winter, to draw:

Arctic Wolf (Atka)
Snow Leopard
Musk Ox
Red Fox
Snowy Owl
French Partridge
Polar Bear

Preliminary sketches form an important part of the drawing process and can often be as exciting as finished drawings, so included in this gallery are a few gorgeous sketches.

Sally an art teacher made a striking drawing of a red fox in her beautifully expressive style and her daughter Annie age 7 produced excellent bold and fluid drawings of Musk Ox and Snowy Owl. One of the most astonishing drawings was by Isabel who drew two polar bears; at just four years old Isabel demonstrated remarkable control of her medium and an incredible sense of proportion for someone so young! Her Mum Jess, created a delicate and beautifully realised Red Fox in her first foray into the realm of colour Biro.

Six year old Edie's marvellous bold drawing of a Snow Leopard, often known as ghosts of the mountains, captured its piercing blue eyes. Edie has come on leaps and bounds with her drawing as has her sister Violet who celebrated Christmas with a superb drawing of a partridge. Alisa, Violet and Edie's mother chose to draw Atka and having lightly mapped out her outline, she began work on Atka's eyes, sublimely rendered and a work in progress to watch out for! Wolves are the favourite animals of Beatrice age 10, and her passion for wolves shone out in her epic drawing of Atka. Lucy age 10 loves drawing people but hadn't done much drawing of animals. She worked hard to perfect the outline of her drawing and achieved wonderful artwork of Atka, which captured Atka's magical gaze perfectly:

 Preliminary sketches


Red Fox 2019 Biro drawing, Sally


Snowy Owl 2019 colour Biro drawing, Annie age 7


Musk Ox 2019 colour Biro drawing, Annie age 7


Polar Bears 2019 colour Biro drawing, Isabel age 4


Red Fox 2019 colour Biro drawing, Jess


Snow Leopard 2019 colour Biro drawing, Edie age 7


French Partridge 2019 colour Biro drawing, Violet age 10


Arctic Wolf 2019 colour Biro drawing, Alisa


Arctic Wolf 2019 colour Biro drawing, Beatrice age 10


Arctic Wolf 2019 colour Biro drawing, Lucy age 10