Aspiring Habitat Specialist: Partick Shimko Finds Passion in his Art

Aspiring Habitat Specialist: Patrick Shimko

Gina Hoburn

Aspiring Habitat Specialist: Patrick Shimko

“I started drawing when I was little,” Patrick Shimko said. 


Patrick Shimko, now an artistic senior, wants to inspire other future artists with his experiences of trial and error as he strives for his goal of becoming a habitat specialist.


“My uncle used to draw, I never met him, but he died before I was even born. My dad had a few of his sketches and they were nice.” From that point, Patrick started looking at life and his passions using his [uncle’s] mind’s eye. 


“When I was little I used to make these doodles and I thought they were the best thing ever when in reality they didn’t even compare. As soon as I got older I started to like drawing more,” he said.


As Patrick got older, he started drawing realistic animals, made-up animals, and dinosaurs. To help his improvement of art, Patrick would visit museums such as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and draw the dinosaurs and animals that are displayed there.


“When I got into 8th grade, a teacher recommended an artist who animated a bunch of Disney movies like The Lion King, Aladdin. He did a lot with animals when I looked into him. He was excellent and did hyper-realistic drawings of animals. 


After that, in my sophomore year, I got online lessons from him and did elephants, big cats, horses, and bears. It gave me more experience with drawing on basic structure and anatomy. It also helped me with my shading and texture design, which led to some of my drawings like the Golden Eagle,” he said.


Patrick’s Golden Eagle drawing after learning how to shade and use texture. (Gina Hoburn)

As Patrick practiced and improved his art, he used a variety of sources such as referencing images to inspire him and added his own creative liberties. He began watching  Youtube videos on how to draw certain things.


“I also take an interest in digital drawing. I use Autodesk Sketchbook. I’m not good at digital drawing. My biggest weakness is drawing humans. I usually don’t color as I’m colorblind, it’s hard for me to know what colors to use, but I usually stick with black and white paper, but digitally, I try to add color since I know what color I’m using, but sometimes I need help, sometimes some things look red and it’s not, blue looks purplish and I don’t use those colors a lot.”


To extend his knowledge of drawing, Patrick realized that he needed more art credits and decided to take some classes this year. 


“I decided to take ceramics, it’s fun, you get more freedom, but you need to follow the requirements for the project you’re doing, but you have a lot of creativity, and I can enjoy that,” he said.


Patrick shared his experiences about Art Exploration.


“I also took Art Exploration. I love to draw animals, animals are everything I draw, animals and dinosaurs, but my teacher said we are allowed to implement anything. When we did Zentangle, I chose to do a Zentangle lion. The other project was a radial balance, and I did an elephant mandala with a bunch of colors, which was a bit of a struggle since we used watercolors,” he said.


Patrick Shimko also explored printmaking.


 “The last project was a printmaking project, and I decided to do a gorilla with tribal patterns to make it stand out more. When we went online I was able to do digital drawings like surrealism. At the very end of online and the semester, we did a self-portrait, I did Chaswick Bowman,” he said.


Shimko then shared how he got his idea for his self-portrait.


I took inspiration from a photo of Chad with a panther in the background. I wanted to do my own interpretation and I managed to draw the person, but the panther wasn’t able to be added. I asked my teacher for help and she said she knew I like tribal designs and I got an idea. On each side, I had two tribal Esque panthers,” he said.


Patrick plans on going to Delaware Valley University or a college near Columbus Zoo in Ohio. Shimko is looking for a college that involves zoo science and the inner workings of zoos and wants to major in zoology and minor in architecture.


“I want to do something with habitat and exhibit design, it mixes in with my passion for animals,” he said.


Shimko shares insights of inspiration to blooming artists or even those who draw as a hobby.


“When it comes to drawing you have to go through trial and error. When you look at something it’s not gonna look the way you like. A few of my drawings never turned out the way I liked,” Patrick said.


“It’s all about trial and error, I experience it constantly. I have the feeling to draw then all of a sudden I feel like it’s going to be rough and not turn out the way I want, but once you get into the groove of things you start to almost get a feeling for what you’re doing, get comfortable and I do this for a couple of days. just try new things, don’t give up, giving up is never an option in art,” said Patrick.