5 Colour Recipes to Help You Draw More Realistic Animals | Beginners Tips

Nov 18, 2022
5 Colour Recipes to Help You Draw More Realistic Animals - Bonny Snowdon Academy
One thing that people ask me all the time is how do I decide which coloured pencils to use when drawing different shades of hair and fur. There really is no straightforward answer. Picking colours is a skill that comes with practice and, while looking closely at all the different colours in an animal’s fur and figuring out what coloured pencil is best to use can appear daunting, it doesn’t have to be! As always, all you need is a little guidance, so, I thought I would walk you through some of my helpful colour recipes to make the process of creating realistic animal fur and hair a little more straightforward.


Drawing Black Fur


People are always surprised to see how many different colours appear in black fur. Don’t make the mistake of just reaching for your black pencil! Black fur is never really just black. Be brave and add some colour to your drawing, it will really help you make your drawing more realistic. 

In this colour recipe, I layered Dark Indigo with some of the more suspected shades of black and grey. Cool shades of blue and grey will allow you to achieve a cooler-toned area of black fur, whereas, in areas where the fur appears to be a warmer tone, I find that shades such as Burnt Sienna allow some of those beautiful brown tones to come through the black. 

To watch the full colour recipe and learn how to draw black fur in coloured pencil, click here.


Drawing Grey Hair


Like black fur, grey fur and hair have many hidden colours, which many people are shocked to see, so, even though there’s an amazing range of grey pencils available, using these alone will stand in your way of creating a life-like drawing. Look for the nuances of colour, keep an eye out for warm and cold tones, and light and dark values, and don’t be scared to add a little colour! You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes! 

To watch my colour recipe and learn how to draw grey horse’s hair in coloured pencil, click here


Drawing Golden Fur


Golden fur might feel a little intimidating, but, like everything, it just takes practice and a little bit of guidance. At first, finding the right colours can be hard, so don’t be afraid of a little trial and error. 

If you’re a beginner, don’t be upset if you don’t get it right the first time. Enjoy the process, learn from any mistakes, and try again! 

To find out which coloured pencils I use to draw golden fur, click here


Drawing Black and Orange Fur


Drawing black and orange fur can be a really fun challenge, as mixing these two colours together can leave you with a green animal and, while a green animal may sound unique, it’s probably not what you’re going for. Try your best to keep your colour theory in mind and avoid getting too excited and adding everything but the kitchen sink! 

If you’re not 100% up-to-speed with your colour theory, buy a colour wheel. This will help you to understand the relationships between different colours while helping to prevent that feeling of surprise when you add a colour and the result is not what you were expecting! 

For further guidance when it comes to drawing black and orange fur, click here:


Drawing Bay Horse Hair


Every time I share a photo of one of my bay horse portraits on social media, people flood my inbox asking which colours I used. Bay horses, understandably so, are a really popular subject, but lots of people struggle to achieve the sense of vibrancy they are looking for. 

This colour recipe will help you to create beautifully rich orange horse’s hair. To watch it now, click here


The important thing to remember when it comes to picking colours is to trust your judgement, be confident, take those “whoops” moments in your stride and don’t give up! The more you experiment, the more you’ll understand how different colours interact with one another, and the more you’ll be able to make quicker and easier decisions about colours in the future! So, what are you waiting for? Get your brave pants on and give it a try! 

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