How to Draw Realistic Long Fur in Coloured Pencil | Top TipsFeb 24, 2023
Drawing long fur is not nearly as difficult as it may seem, so keep reading because I’m going to share my top tips and techniques to explain why!
The First Steps in Creating Realistic Long Fur:
The first thing I do is map out a rough idea of the fur. One key thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be an exact replica of your reference photo, it’s the look and feel of the fur that’s important. Once you have an idea of the shapes and waves of the fur you can then start to bring in a bit more detail.
I personally like to work in sections and because, for this example, I am using drafting film, it means you don’t need to put as many layers in as traditional surfaces, so you can start to get the details in really quite quickly. While moving in sections through your piece, you can start to add the darker elements and get the values in and it’s really important at this stage to not let yourself become too negative because it can start to look a bit ugly and strange when you’re blocking in areas of colour, but you need to trust the process and keep going.
The next step is to move back through your piece, really look at the details and then using a Tombow Mono Eraser and a slice tool, very gently bring in some soft highlights and texture. I like to think of it as bringing in highlights rather than erasing pigment because it makes it a little bit easier to comprehend.
What to Concentrate on:
Your aim is to try and get an effect of layering, because long fur is layered over each other so there are areas that are very deep and there are areas that are sitting on the surfaces. The dark and the lights are incredibly important and you need to concentrate on the values, the values are basically dictated by the source of light. Where the light is shining directly onto the fur you are going to get highlights and where the fur is hidden from the light you are going to get shadows, so that's why you need to pay attention to the values to ensure you end up with beautiful structure in your drawing.
Avoiding Spaghetti fur!
When drawing long fur, people often end up with fur that looks like spaghetti or string and this is likely because they’re concentrating too much on the shapes and trying to define the curls and this will often result in them outlining the fur giving it that spaghetti like effect. To avoid this, think of each chunk of hair as its own little masterpiece with its own light source and look for the softness, look for the shadows and highlights and you will end up with a beautiful drawing!
Drawing long fur doesn't need to be a daunting experience, you just need to have the right mindset and techniques to tackle it! To hear more and to watch me demonstrate the techniques I have discussed, click on the video above.
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