Mule Deer - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Mule Deer" Colored Pencil

A young mule deer buck is alert while trudging through deep, December snow. The rut is coming to an end and the hardened antlers will soon be shed. Now it's all about survival, anything that can help conserve precious energy is a blessing. A harsh winter is a real threat to the survival of a mule deer. If the ground forage completely disappears, these tough animals will consume twigs and branches. During lean times their stored fat reserves can quickly become depleted. That's why from late spring to early fall the mule deer gorges itself on succulent leaves, grasses and flower beds.

Two prominent features distinguish the mule deer, large ears and a black tipped tail. The mule deer is stout with a thick, strong neck and chiseled face. The eyes are black with a distinct, dark brow. Patches of white highlight the throat and rump. An orange and sienna coat becomes charcoal gray in the winter. This prey animal uses camouflage effectively by changing its overall coloring with the seasons. No matter what time of year, they seem to blend perfectly into the natural environment.

Mule deer are very common in this area. During the winter I frequently see mule deer in town raiding bird feeders and grazing comfortably. They seem to tolerate human presence but if spooked they will dash off into the brush. The image of a doe and twin fawns is a sure sign of spring. There's always a good chance of seeing mule deer when hiking in Three Sisters Open Space Park on a summer evening.


  1. I love your way of using pencils. Delicacy. Balance.

    1. Claudine,

      Thanks. It's a very natural way for me to work. I think it's a little tight and I wish I could loosen up more but it feels uncomfortable when I do. Sometimes doing some watercolors helps. That's why I admire your pastel oceanscapes. I like the broken colors and soft edges. Keep it up.


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