It’s Sunday afternoon (again! How does it come around so fast?), I’m armed with a cup of tea and ready to share what I’ve been up to this week.
I’ve got to admit, that when I started writing this blog, I had no idea how time consuming it would be! I find I have to be really disciplined to get the post written and shared each Sunday. It does force me to find time for art though, as without the deadline of a blog post I think a lot of things I’ve done would have ended up unfinished. This is one of them: a coloured pencil drawing of our gorgeous, dearly departed family cat Molly.
For those of you who are interested, I thought I’d make this post into a mini tutorial on drawing animals with coloured pencil.
You can draw the outline freehand to start with, but if you want to get the proportions exactly right, using a grid technique to translate the photo into a drawing is the easiest method.
On the computer, overlay your photo with a grid of squares. Measure out and draw the grid onto your blank drawing paper. Working methodically, transfer all the outlines you can see square by square. Think about where the lines intersect the grid, for example in this drawing, the bridge of Molly’s nose intersects the horizontal line of the square about two thirds of the way across.
When you’ve got the outline down on paper, decide on where you’re going to start adding colour. In the above photo, I began with the eye. In my case, starting with the eye is risky as it’s my favourite bit and once it’s done, I’m tempted just to put it to one side and never pick it up again!
I posted a progress photo on my Facebook page though, to try and motivate me to carry on – it worked!
Keep your pencils nice and sharp to make sure that detail is crisp. Begin by lightly shading and building it up, rather than laying down colour heavily to start with which can damage the surface of the paper. Drawing on coloured paper is good because highlights show up beautifully and the dark base gives depth to the finished piece. Pick out the shiny parts of your subject’s eyes, and make sure that the dark sections are dark enough to contrast with, and bring out, pale areas.
When you come to adding the fur, look carefully at which direction the hairs are growing in, whether they’re long or short and how densely packed they are. Around Molly’s eye and her nose for example, the hairs are very short and fuzzy, so require tiny strokes of the pencil.
Build up the hairs, one colour at a time. Again, work methodically out from one place, this will help keep your drawing uniform.
Take your time and make sure you’re happy with each area before you move onto the next.
When you’ve finished, you can add extra highlights with pastel pencils or even acrylic paint as I have done in this drawing to bring out Molly’s whiskers.
This is another drawing I’ve just started. I’ll put progress photos up on my Facebook page, so please do pop by if you’re interested!