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How to Draw Fur in Colored Pencil on Black Paper

Article ID: 17
Written by: SidneyEileen
Written on: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:48 pm
Article Description: This tutorial describes in detail how to realistically draw fur on black paper, utilizing layering and opacity to create detailed color and lighting. To create such a drawing for yourself you will need black paper or another black drawing surface, a graphite pencil, an opaque white colored pencil, and an array of other colored pencils.
External link to this article:
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This tutorial describes in detail how to realistically draw fur on black paper, utilizing layering and opacity to create detailed color and lighting. To create such a drawing for yourself you will need black paper or another black drawing surface, a graphite pencil, an opaque white colored pencil, and an array of other colored pencils. You can use any colored pencil brand you want, but brands which use an oil binder will tend to be more opaque than wax-binder brands. In any brand there will be significant variation in opacity between pencils, so you will need to familiarize yourself with your own pencils in order to use them the most effectively.

For your white pencil I recommend Lyra Rembrandt or a Derwent China White pencil. Either will show up very opaque on black paper. The Prismacolor Premier white is very translucent and will hardly show up at all, so it is entirely unsuitable. If you have another brand of white pencil, test it on a black surface to see if it will work for this purpose.

I own a huge set of Prismacolor Premier pencils, which is what I used to create this drawing. I name the exact pencil colors I used at each stage of the drawing, some of which are no longer made. You will want to familiarize yourself with your own pencils and test each color on the black paper to achieve the exact colors you want. If the color you want to use is to translucent, test how it applies over white pencil. Sometimes this will allow a color to show and be usable on black paper even when translucent.

It is also very important to keep your pencils sharp. I sharpen constantly when drawing fur so that each hair is cleanly defined.

Reference Photo courtesy of stalksthedawn

http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=41496

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Reference Photo: http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=41496



Examine and Outline

The first thing I do when approaching a new piece is examine the reference material very closely. I take in the shapes and the colors, paying particular attention to how the light and shadows fall. Examine where the darkest areas are, where the fully lit areas are, where light reflection occurs. Observe what seems to glow. Look for what median tones can be dropped into the blackness, and which should be brought into the light. What shapes might need more definition, and which might need less? Is there anything that is unclear, or are there any details which might be more dramatic if they were less clear? How should the subject be placed on the paper? How large should the drawing be? Would it look better in black and white, or in color?

Once I have closely examined the reference material and have a compositional plan, I draw a basic outline sketch of the subject. I will typically use an “F” hardness graphite pencil. “B” also works well. The shininess shows up clearly on the black paper, but is easy to erase if drawn lightly. WIP1 (below) shows the sketch lines very faintly. Some artists prefer to use white charcoal, pastels, or even colored pencil for the basic sketch. I do not recommend using colored pencils due to the difficulty of erasing them, but try any or all of the above until you decide what works best for you.



Choose Your Colors

If you are drawing the piece in color, you will need to pick out your colors. Examine the reference for dominant color tones, and try to find corresponding pencils. When working on black paper it is likely that you will need to choose much brighter and lighter pencils than would be required on white paper. Shading will often be achieved just by applying less pencil to the paper, or using less opaque colors.

It is also very important to observe the opacity of the color you wish to use. Different brands of pencils will have different properties, so always test the color on the edge of the paper before using it on the piece. If a pencil has very little opacity, it might not show up well enough on the black paper to be used. Sometimes those colors can be used anyway because of layering, which will be demonstrated later.



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Layering the Fur

To achieve the most realistic fur possible, each hair must be drawn individually, and they must be layered one on the other so that the viewer sees hints of the fur underneath.

For the first layer, I chose Prismacolor’s Peach Beige, lightly applied. This defines the areas that are to be colored, and provides a base that is not stark black. Very little of this layer will be fully visible in the final piece, but without it, the drawing would not have a fully realistic level of depth.

I am right-handed and always steady my hand on the art surface, so I worked the piece from left to right, finishing each section as a go. This process prevents me from smudging or distorting finished parts of the drawing. This is entirely a personal preference. It is also possible to work a layer across the entire drawing before moving to the next, finishing the drawing as a whole rather than in parts. As you create more drawings you will find a pattern of work that is natural for you.



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The second layer is a firmer application of the Peach Beige, creating a stronger backdrop in some areas and fully defining some of the hairs. The lit areas on the first section are now defined.



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The thrid layer is Prismacolor’s Orange Mineral. In some places I applied it lightly over the beige, to tint the area slightly orange. In other places, I pressed firmly to create a stronger color. This is laying down a color layer that will be deep in the fur, creating a tint or hint of color when covered with more fur.



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This layer adds Prismacolor’s Orange Deco. This layer partially hides the Orange Deco with a softer orange tone. The brightness of the Orange Mineral underneath prevents the Orange Deco from seeming flat.



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For the final layer, I used Derwent Chinese White to brighten areas and define the white portions. I also added some tiny flecks of white to show where hairs were catching the light particularly brightly.

The white pencil is the only non-Prismacolor pencil I used in this piece, because the Prismacolor white is not opaque enough to show up on black paper. The Lyra Rembrandt white works as well as the Derwent, and I use the two pencils interchangeably in my art.



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After completing the first section, I moved onto the ear area, duplicating the bottom layer of Peach Beige in the furry area to the left.



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Next I add the Orange Mineral, which I also used as the base color layer for most of the ear. I used more or less pressure on the pencil to create brighter and dimmer areas of the ear.



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To retain consistent coloring throughout the drawing, I again used Orange Deco on the fur, and along the outer edge of the ear.



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Again, for the sake of consistent coloring I used the Derwent Chinese White for the highlights, and the whiskers.



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To achieve the glowing effect of light through the ear I used a few additional colors. I used Crimson Lake to draw the blood veins, which I want to be barely visible in the final piece.



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After that, I add a layer of Salmon Pink to brighten some portions of the ear.



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Despite testing the color on the edge of the paper, the Salmon Pink did not lay down as brightly as I wanted, so I added a layer of Derwent Chinese White to provide a brighter base.



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I added another layer of Salmon Pink, and this time it was as bright as I had originally wanted.



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Yellowed Orange added more color saturation.



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I added Pale Vermillion sparingly to those parts which needed to be the brightest orange.

At this point the lightest parts of the ear were mostly saturated with pencil, so they wouldn’t take many more layers. Saturation is the point at which the tooth of the paper has so much pencil on it that more won’t stick. Exactly how many layers of color may be applied depends upon the paper, the pencils, and how heavily lead is applied to the paper. I use low-tooth paper so the pencil applies smoothly, and I usually apply the pencil in very light layers. A heavy hand can saturate the paper in a single layer.

I was watching the saturation of the paper very closely because the ear did not look the way I wanted it to and I knew I was going to need at least another color or two. WIP15 was far too orange, and the blood veins were still too visible.



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I applied Magenta very lightly over the entire ear to give it a more pinkish quality.



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I used Black sparingly to re-darken some of the ear and make the brightest areas pop more.



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After the ear was finished I moved on to the fur areas on the right side of the head. As before, I started with a base layer of Peach Beige. In this area the image is all little details, so I concentrated on drawing individually visible hairs from the beginning.



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I added just a touch of Orange Mineral, mostly on individual hairs.



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Again, I added a touch of Peach Beige, and then a fair amount of Derwent Chinese White, applied over the Peach Beige and Orange Mineral. White pencil is also applied very lightly over the sketch lines of the paws, which allowed me to completely erase all remaining graphite marks.



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Once the graphite was erased, I used a firmer application of Derwent Chinese White over the established areas, and a light application on the paws.



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Most of the fur from here is white, so I applied Derwent Chinese White more firmly to the leftmost paw to define the shadows and lighting. I also added Pink Rose to the pads of the uppermost paw, but I wasn’t too keen on the quality of the color for the more shaded pads.



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I added a tiny bit of Tuscan Red to the pads of the uppermost paw. Instead of the Pink Rose, I lightly used Beige Sienna lightly for the pads of the leftmost paw. However, I was not very happy with that color either.



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I didn’t like the way the leftmost paw was looking, so I erased some of the Beige Sienna and applied more white. I also added a firmer application of white to the other two paws, and drew in the last whiskers.

After looking at it for a bit, I also added more white to the tail, even though the highlights are not present in the reference image. I felt that more definition would create a stronger image.



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This is what my test section of paper looked like after I was finished with the drawing. Many of these colors were used in the drawing, while many were not.

Get a good white pencil, test your other colors, keep your pencils sharp, and layer liberally, and you can create your own beautiful colored pencil drawings on black paper.



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Final Composition

This piece was drawn on 12”x18” paper, and the final composition makes use of negative space.
Sunrise


This tutorial was written and illustrated by Sidney Eileen.
http://sidneyeileen.com
This article was last edited by Singular on Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:19 pm
This article has been viewed 1222 times


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