The Capybara as an Art Form

Capybaras, like their mini-capybara cousins, the guinea pigs, are sort of lump shaped. I would love to create a capybara topiary, but honestly, without a fancy sign to announce it, we would be looking at a potato shaped shrub. Artists have a way of seeing through an amorphous blob to accentuate and enhance the unique features we associate with these big potatoes rodents. I hope these examples inspire you to pick up a pencil and try your own!

It isn’t easy to find capybara statuary! These are in South America. You can see that a shrubbery capybara would look like a . . . shrubbery. Capybaras show up on products in Brazil, of course. The Japanese have appropriated them but stop well short of making capybara flavored ramen. Then there is the ubiquitous Japanese capybara, Kapibara-san. How about item #4. What is that? (Answer below)

How do artists get from the real McCoy capybara to the art capybara? No simple answer, but here are a couple clues:

A google search for capybara images will give you a mix of photos and drawings. I love the way artists embellish and exaggerate individual features but still capture the “essence of capybara.”

That last batch was silly. Not terribly accurate, anatomically, but taken altogether, they still look like capybaras. The overall shape is, well, a shrubbery, kind of amorphous. Compare all of the ears, then the feet, it’s the details that make them capybaras.  How about those noses? Can you pick your favorite parts and sketch your own capybara from those parts?

Some of my favorites are very cartoony, like the ones above. If you can find those books, they are adorable, and you don’t need to read Japanese. I love the way the features are exaggerated, and how the characters are so very silly. Great gift for your favorite capybara aficionado, if you can find them.

Sorry, I must include this one. Barry Blitt, who draws for The New Yorker, “stole” my photo of Dobby standing with his paws on the counter, and made him a beer drinking presidential candidate back in 2016. We could have done worse. And did.

There are some fabulous renditions of capybaras out there. Have I missed any?

How about this one?

My all-time favorite is The Capybara Club, by Will Bullas. It’s featured in Prince Dobalob Builds a Zeppelin, and a print hangs on my living room wall.

One more thing before I leave. I can draw but I can’t photoshop myself out of a paper bag, or however that goes. I’ve always wanted to see The potato eaters done with capybara heads. Can anybody out there fix this up for me? I’ll add it to this post if you do. Thanks in advance.

The potato eaters – Vincent Van Gogh

If I missed anything good, please let me know and I’ll add it. In addition, I still have a few coloring books. Nearly free ($5.00 barely covers shipping) through this blog post, just ask. It’s also available online.


So what is #4? I’m still not entirely sure, but it seems to be a charger of some sort. You tell me!







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