pencil sketch of a Holstein-Frisian cow

I experienced the process of internalizing at a small scale when I sketched this Holstein-Frisian cow from a photo reference. In this process, you learn the rules, purposefully forget about them, and do everything as if it comes naturally. Alas, I haven’t drawn cows enough to draw them from memory, using construction and previsualization. I tried it, but failed miserably. So, instead, I more or less copied a photo, not by tracing, but by redrawing. Still, redrawing is a step up, skill-wise, from downright tracing.

It took a few hours, though, to forget what I read about how how to draw cows, how they show off their anatomy, easily stylized as a balloon-bellies suspended as a tent on a skeleton. But then, milk cows, as the over-bred animals they are, tend to be exaggerated versions of their prehistoric counterparts, the aurochs. They are bred to produce milk, and if having a calf wasn’t necessary to start the lactation flow, they wouldn’t even have offspring either.