I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you how important pets are in our lives. My family lost our dog of 13 years last November, and between you and me, I’m still grieving for her. Dogs, cats, and as I recently learned from a distant friend on Facebook, even birds can have a place in our lives that ranks right up there with parents, children and siblings (and sometimes higher–wink wink).
Thank goodness that they can also be easy animals to draw, so that they can be remembered in special ways, always. We’re honoring these amazing creatures with the Passion for Pets special collection with a newly lowered price. With it, you’ll find four colored pencil workshop DVDs from with Mark Menendez plus the Realistic Pet Portraits in Colored Pencil eBook by Anne deMille Flood. This alone includes 22 step-by-step demonstrations of easy animals to draw, as well as general advice such as drawing fur and facial features of horses, rabbits, and more. Here are some tips from Anne’s book.
Depicting fur and feathers may seem overwhelming at first glance, but what I always say is, “It’s just a pattern–so relax.” Simply look for shapes within the fur or feathers so you can break them down into patterns of lights and darks. I describe this as random pattern–it may not be predictable, but the pattern always repeats itself in some way. I happen to love repetitious design, so I don’t mind the exercise of figuring out the pattern. Just approach this in a logical manner–using my techniques–and you won’t have any problems.
Whether fur is dappled or solid, it is important to apply each layer with a stroke pattern that characterizes and reflects both the type of fur and the direction it is traveling. If every stroke is applied in a too-precise or repetitious manner, the fur will appear phony and artificial. The fur must move and change with the shape of the animal in order to make the viewer see the pattern without it appearing fake or unnatural. It’s helpful to carefully observe your reference photo and check it often to ensure that your pencil is moving in the same direction as the fur shown in the photo.
At right: Anne used a “road map” of Mustafa to determine the pencil strokes for this kitty’s fur.
Another important aspect of creating fur is establishing an accurate value pattern. A value pattern can best be described as the darkness and lightness of areas and how they compare with each other. For example, in order to give an object shape and form, a shadow area must be dark enough to contrast with a light area. Shadows and highlights joined by midtone areas form a three-dimensional appearance. If your value pattern of darks and lights is not correct, your image will look flat and lifeless.
Make an Accurate Road Map
Your line drawing should be considered a road map to guide you as you work, including correct out-lines of all the important markings on the animal. Another trick to help you create believable fur is to trace a simple map of the fur direction using arrows to show the pattern. Keep this map next to your drawing while you work to remind you which way the fur has turned in a certain area. ~Anne
These are great tips for easy animals to draw, and there’s much more where this came from! Get the Passion for Pets collection today and start drawing the beloved pets in your life.
Yours in art,
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