It's hard to go wrong when drawing a penguin - an animal mostly black and white - in ink. As these charming little aquatic birds often show up in zoos and aquariums I've often had the opportunity to watch them in action. Back in about 2003, I had been commissioned by a client to create a series of three penguin species, as a gift to his wife who loved the animals and had even traveled to the Antarctic regions to see them in the wild. Several years past since that time, and I had intended to draw another penguin, but hadn't found the time or inspiration (although I did complete the Emperor Penguin and young in about 2008). I drew the Gentoo image (this was in May of 2011.) and then revisited the Rockhopper Penguin, which I had considered a weak drawing. But I was able to save it, and add it as the fifth penguin image in the illustration library. I hope to soon add the Chin-Strap along with the African Penguin. If you have a suggestion for another species, please send me an email.
Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds native to the Southern Hemisphere, mostly in and around Antarctica. They are adapted for life spent in the water, where they are graceful and quick swimmers. On land they are somewhat less so, but are able to traverse difficult rocky terrain, or long distances over frozen wastelands to reach breeding grounds. While penguins are often thought to only live in cold climates, most species live far enough from the South Pole so their environment is temperate and is not nearly as cold and harsh as the conditions further south. If fact one species - the Galapagos Penguin - doesn't live that far from the equator. Major populations of penguins are found in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. The largest species of penguin is the Emperor, standing an impressive of about 3.5 feet (1 meter) tall and weighing 75 pounds or more (35 kg.) There are thought to be between 17-20 extant (living) species of penguin on earth. There have been some impressive species that have gone extinct, including some that stood as tall as 6 feet. Penguins are "Counter-shaded" with black backs and white bellies. This is used for camouflage, so they blend in when swimming when seen from above and below. Penguins feed mostly on krill and fish. Unlike many animals, penguins are able to drink sea water due to a specialized gland filter. The salt is filtered out and excreted through the nasal passages.