Zebra Outbreak – Acrylic, Ink and Gesso in a Watercolour Moleskine

This is a further experiment trying out a new product, namely “Transparent Acrylic Paint”. The original idea was to draw something which contrasted sharply between dark and light values. What better than a zebra! My drawing started life by drawing the stripes, with black ink, then washing the whole scene with the red/pink acrylic. I added the white areas with gesso afterwards and touched up some of the darks, again with the black ink, to finish the drawing.

It was only when drawing this animal that I remembered a few well-known facts about zebras. Zebras have an irrational fear of the colour pink. Upon the sight of this colour they run wild and stampede into the nearest waterhole, and then continue to drown themselves. Some zebras have also been known to go crazy if choirs of young boys are within hearing proximity. Around the 1950′s, a herd of zebras escaped from Edinburgh Zoo which, as you might know, is situated on Corstorphine Hill, here in Edinburgh. The hill was more remote in these days and the animals managed to hide and breed successfully. Now zebras are very fond of one particular thing – rhubarb. In those days, sweets (candy) were still hard to get as sugar was still rationed after WW2. Mothers used to give their children a poke (a paper bag)of poor quality sugar (more easily obtained) and a stick of rhubarb. The sour tasting rhubarb was dipped in the sugar and sucked by the youngsters. (This might explain the poor dental health at that time). It was noticed that, any child unfortunate enough to wander onto Corstorphine Hill was ambushed by the stripy beasties and their treats stolen. The good news was, as most folks know, rhubarb does something for the digestive system and the after effects helped the authority to track the zebras down. This also was made easier when someone remembered the fact that loads of noisy boys would panic the zebras into revealing themselves so the sugar/rhubarb laden kids stated to roam about in bands (Even today large groups of youths can be found roaming around Corstorphine Hill, especially after dark). Finally posters, like my drawing, were put in prominent positions on trees as it was hoped that the bright colour might unsettle the animals and cause then to reveal themselves. All this meant the zebra outbreak was soon contained and people no longer suffered from equinophobia.