Which Coloured Pencils to Use When Drawing Black Fur | Colour Recipe

Apr 19, 2024
Which Coloured Pencils to Use When Drawing Black Fur | Colour Recipe

When it comes to drawing black animals it's important to remember they're not actually black! There are so many colours present in black fur including pinks, blues and yellows so let me share some of the coloured pencils I used to draw this Labrador, that work well for drawing black fur.

I used a lot of Dark Indigo from the Polychromos range, which is a really lovely dark blue, and it works so beautifully for black fur. Obviously, I wanted to end up with a black Labrador and not a blue one so, although I was using lots of Dark Indigo, I would layer it under black or even glaze it over the top of black which works really nicely in some of those cooler toned areas. 

I also used a variety of cool and warm tones together which gives a lovely effect. I used a lot of cold greys and warm grey too because, as you can see in this piece, across the nose area and the top of the head there is this lovely warmth and brightness from where the light is hitting the fur and they worked great layered over black in these areas. I used Light Yellow Ochre in a few areas on top of the head as well to help add some of that warmth from the light. 

One of the pencils I used an awful lot is the Caran d'Ache Pablo Light Gray and this is a really good pencil for coming over the top and adding some of those highlighted areas. I drew this piece on white Pastelmat board so you can work light over dark well on this surface. This meant I could get those little highlights around the eyes, the fur details in on the ears and around the muzzle nice and easily. A more bluey colour such as a Silver Gray Pablo will also work beautifully for the muzzle area.

Introducing some brighter blues and pinks for the highlights is going to help bring your animal to life such as the Light Cobalt Blue from the Caran d'Ache Luminance range or the Royal Blue and Granite Rose Pablos. You can lightly glaze the colours over the top to create that bit of coloured highlight like you can see I've done above the eye area and also across the nose and muzzle.

Caput Mortuum Violet is another favourite pencil of mine and it's such a great colour to again glaze over areas to help add some richness to the fur and help make areas a little less blue. When you're using a lot of the cool and light greys over the black it can sometimes end up looking a bit blue so the Caput Mortuum violet works really well to help balance that out.

To get the dark blacks in this piece I used my Derwent Drawing Pencil in Ivory Black and this is a really soft black pencil and it gives a nice dense black over the top of other colours so works great in areas where you want to get your darks really nice and dark. 

I'd say I've got upwards of 15 layers in the top part of this piece to allow me to get all those subtle tones in and then around 7 layers down in the neck area because of it being so dark. 

You can find all the colours I used through my affiliate links below.


Faber-Castell Polychromos:

- Dark Indigo

- Black

- Cold Grey 1

- Cold Grey 2

- Cold Grey 4

- Warm Grey 4

- Caput Mortuum Violet

- Burnt Sienna

- Light Yellow Ochre

 - Dark Sepia

Caran d'Ache Pablo:

- Light Gray

- Ash Gray

- Silver Gray

- Granite Rose

Royal Blue

Caran d'Ache Luminance:

- Light Cobalt Blue

Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle:

- White

Derwent Drawing:

- Ivory Black

- Chinese White

If you'd like to hear more about how, why and where I used these colour choices in this piece, make sure to watch the video at the top of this page. You can also find my brown fur colour recipes here.

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