Week 21: Piebald

I was initially going to draw a magpie for this, but I kept seeing the most gorgeous looking snake while browsing for piebald references online, so I chose that.

This is a Piebald Ball Python (Python regius) and the unpigmented areas are caused by partial leucism or piebald effect. Leuc is the Latin variant of the Greek leukos meaning “white,” and it’s a natural mutation. While wonderful looking it doesn’t breed true and the ratio of white to pigmented areas varies a lot.

The normal snake is regularly patterned with the pumpkin-coloured pigment over it’s entire body but in this mutation you can see this gorgeous “pigment cell differentiation” that happens. I thought this was the neatest thing I’ve ever seen. I generally like snakes and find them interesting, I even have a card deck of photographs of various snake species, but this just knocked me out, I find it so beautiful.



My sketch was almost exactly like the photo reference, I am much better at sketching after five months. I like that, I like the feeling that I can just sit down and sketch anything. It’s a bit hard to see this, my camera doesn’t seem to be working properly. The usual operator error perhaps? (I got a slightly better photo the next day and switched them.)

Materials I used:

Staedtler 2H pencil (Old Trusty I call him)
Van Gogh watercolours
Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils



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8 Responses to Week 21: Piebald

  1. Roseanne Dix says:

    beautiful drawing Judith. Isnt it wonderful to know that you can draw anything?


    • Thanks Rose, what I like is that I don’t have this terrible dithering hesitation, I really can sit down confidently and draw.

      I’m still having problems with perspective, walls, buildings etc. but I shall plod along, hopefully to improve in that respect as well.


  2. Beverly King says:

    Oh gosh, I’m not a “snake” person, but the colors on this one are gorgeous! Well done you. 🙂 I always thought piebald was only a type of horse until I looked up the word. As my sketching gets more practice, my vocabulary is increasing too. 😀


    • Thank you Bev, I do enjoy drawing reptiles for some reason. Not a snake person, what kind of heresy is that??!!

      Yeah we get all kinds of learning on these prompts. Next up is “workbag” which could mean all kinds of deliciousy things.


      • Beverly King says:

        I think it comes from spending a few years living out in the middle of nowhere on a farm. It seemed like all the snake I saw were 6 to 8 feet long with rattles. Once I saw one have a puppy for a snack. I think that made me not a snake person!


        • Oh dear, a snake eating a puppy would definitely stay in your mind.

          Years ago I saw my Siamese cat Hog Wild playing with something in the garden, throwing it up and catching it, and it was a garter snake he’d killed. Tit for tat. Nature’s balance. 😉


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