How to draw a cat: Ginger cat in coloured pencil - close ups and thoughts on the process, technique, what it was essential to consider
Details of the cat in the last post
So how did I work?
My little Jakar battery eraser was essential for drawing back through the colour for those whiskers, adding highlights to the eyes and creating light fur over shaded areas or darker stripes. It's such a brilliant drawing tool. Coloured pencil on moleskine paper erases really cleanly and I think is my favourite surface for using them alone, rather than in a mixed media piece. I also like warm cream paper.
I rarely erase as in correcting and didn't at all here - the first marks are faint, were in orange and were assimilated into the final result. That gives plenty of time to move things a little before going in with more colour and more detail, knowing you are happy with where it's positioned.
It's so important to understand the layers of the fur and the direction - the skeleton and muscles beneath the fur, causing those shapes and changes of fur direction. The brow and mouth must be parallel so that the cat isn't distorted or flat.
The shadowing showing the mouth is so subtle - overdo it and it looks like a cartoon but it has to be there just enough to show - a fine balancing act.
I let the fur of the body fade off into scribbles as I wanted attention focussed on the face and eyes.
And the ears inside were a delicate mauve and pink
- curving the marks and scribbles helps to shape the curve of the ear - it's like sculpting with your drawing. That little slightly balder patch, just in front of the ear, where the skin shows through is also important.
Editing what is used from the photo is vital - I decided to leave out most of the background to focus on her face and fade out the fur at the top for the same reason. The lower eye was simply black in the photograph - a camera can't deal with the degrees of light and shade that the human eye can, I had to work out a way of making it look shaded, work out where the pupil would be and keep it convincing.
In addition to all the technical stuff, it's vital to catch the character of the animal - each is so different. This one was a sweetie with a dreamy gaze and the noisiest chatterbox I've ever known in the cat world - she couldn't come into the house without a long tale of miaows and greetings.
In close up you can see the scribbly way I draw - it isn't actually a 'tight' photorealist drawing as that isn't the way I work. The image is made up of lots of scribbles, layers of colour, erased lines etc
So ..... that's how I went about it. You can see other work I've done on cats here. It's not something I do a lot but I really enjoyed this one and my daughter cried when she saw the online image and loved it - so all is well there! not that I want to make my daughter cry ............
And for some stunning drawings of animals take a look at Gayle Mason's work at Fur in the Paint.