I have seen a pygmy hippo in real life, yay! He was in a zoo in Hawaii, being very cute and chubby, and he yawned as I looked down on him. Looking up reference photos makes me want to paint pygmy hippos every day, all the time. They all look very shiny and squishy. Baby hippos are almost too cute to exist!
I love taking pictures of animals with their mouths open, and to a lesser extent, painting them with their mouths open. I'm not really sure why; I guess to me it adds a bit more interest than an animal just standing there. I also like getting a photo of an animal scratching itself. Yes, I'm weird. By the way, my cat was helpful in the positioning of the legs of the previous hippo picture. She doesn't look very hippo-like, but I'll take any quadruped I can get to stand there and pose.