How To Draw Black Fur | Coloured Pencil Demo

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Hi guys and welcome an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> this week’s tutorial.

In this video I’ll be showing you how Igo about completing this pet portrait of a Black and Tan Jack Russell whilst I also providesome tips and advice on how to paint or draw black fur.

I start out this piece by transferring anoutline over onto my paper, and then I begin to refine the sketch using Prismacolor Col-erasepencils.

I sketch in these erasable coloured pencilsbecause I find it helpful an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> break up the sketch by using a small selection of differentcolours.

As well as drawing in the key features andfur pattern, I’ll also map in some areas of highlight and shadow an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o.

Contrast is key when an style="text-decoration: underline;">drawan>ing black fur, soby indicating contrasts early on in the sketching phase, I’ll hopefully be more consciousof them later on during the rendering process.

Once I’m happy with my outline, I’ll startmy foundational coloured pencil layers.

I’m using a variety of coloured pencilsfor this piece, so I’ll leave a list of all the materials I use and mention in thedescription box down below.

So working on the ear and the left side ofthe dog’s face- I start off by blocking in the lightest and darkest areas- I map inthe lightest areas using a pale blue, and use a dark indigo blue for the shadows.

I’ll go into more detail about which coloursI use later on, but my primary objective for the first layer is to get a rough idea ofthe underlying form by planning my values.

I’ll adjust my colour and really push mycontrasts further along in the process, but for now I don’t want to make my shadowstoo dark as I want to have room to build up the colour, texture and depth through layering.

As for the lighter areas, I know that I canget away with making them a an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>uch darker than they well end up being, to allow the highlightsan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> stand out against them.

And that brings me on to talk about the materialsI’m using, and some suggestions and recommendations an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> make the process easier and more efficient.

The surface that I’m working on is ClairefontainePastelmat- which I’ve made an in-depth video about, so I’ll a leave a link an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> that belowand in the cards in the top right.

Pastelmat is a very forgiving paper- it acceptsmany layers and the abrasive surface readily pulls pigment from the pencils.

This means I can easily add extra layers torework something entirely or work lighter pencils over darker areas and still get theman style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> stand out.

This is ideal when drawing in pale detailsagainst a dark background- such as when I add fur texture by using individual strokesof a lighter colour.

Because of this, I don’t have an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> worry toomuch about going an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o dark, and I don’t have an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> avoid colouring over areas that will staypale as I can just add these back in later on.

On the other hand, if I was working on watercolourpaper or drawing paper, which doesn’t have the abrasive quality that pastelmat has, I’dneed to be much more careful and considerate with my layers.

On this paper, I would work strategicallyfrom light to dark, and work around the areas that I want an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> keep light.

So, If you’re not working on pastelmat,or another type of abrasive surface such as sanded paper, you could try using a texturefixative or workable fixative to help isolate your layers and regain some tooth.

Another option is an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> use the Brush & PencilTouch-Up Texture, which is essentially a texture fixative that you can paint on instead ofspray- and I use this later on in the process of this dog.

Using a fixative in this way would mean thatwhen drawing in highlights, your pale colours wouldn’t mix into the darker layers underneath,so still remain bright and crisp.

To help minimise smudging, I’m working frommy non-dominant side towards my dominant side.

So in my case because I’m right handed,I’m working generally left to right- and I also try an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> work from the top of the pagean style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>wards the botan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>m.

This is another special consideration I makewhen drawing black fur- or any dark colour on a light coloured background.

Smudges in this case would be quite difficultto erase, so I want to limit the time I have my hand resting on an area that already haspencil applied an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> it.

Another method is an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> use glassine paper betweenyour hand and your work, and this works really well, but I use it to a minimum whilst recordingas I don’t want to obscure the artwork for the camera.

Glassine is essentially a non-stick paperthat’s designed to protect artwork- and you can buy it in rolls or loose sheets- butconveniently, pads of Pastelmat come interleaved with this paper, as do the wire bound padsof Canson Mi Teintes.

And I’m sure there are other brands of paperthat also come interleaved with glassine an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o, but these are the two that I know of.

So moving on from materials and taking a closerlook at my method and what I suggest to keep in mind when rendering black fur.

First up, I think it’s important to notbe put off by black fur- and the same applies to white fur- there’s something about thesetwo extremes that many people find intimidating.

But, in reality, the approach used to renderblack or white fur is more or less the same as drawing any other fur colour.

It might help to think of black fur as just“dark coloured fur” instead- and by extension, white fur as “light coloured fur”- asultimately the coat colour isn’t really just black or white, or even just shades ofgrey- but a great multitude of different colours and tones.

So, like I briefly mentioned earlier, I blockin my initial layers by giving an indication of the highlights and shadows with a paleblue and a dark blue.

I’m using blue here because this dog’sfur is smooth and glossy- and the phoan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> I took of him was whilst he was sitting outsideon an overcast day.

Daytime lighting tends an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> be quite cool, andsince his fur is going an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> reflect the sky and lighting, there’ll be a strong influenceof those cool colours in his fur.

If however, the phoan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> was taken around sunriseor sunset I would be looking out for and replicating warm underan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>nes in his fur with deep coolshadows instead, and if the day was cloudless with a bright blue sky, the blue underan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>nesmay be even more obvious.

The blues I’m using though aren’t brightand highly saturated, but instead quite muted- so for instance some go-an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>s would be Sky Blueand Light Ultramarine for Polychromos, and Solway Blue in the Derwent Drawing for highlights.

And for the shadows I’d consider using DerwentDrawing Ink Blue, Derwent Artists Midnight from the Black & White 6 set, as well as DeepIndigo from the Polychromos.

Any colour names I mention of course are justto give an idea about what sort of colours I might use amongst many others- and there’sno hard and fast rules about which colours you can use, and in what quantity.

The colour of the subject matter can appearvery different depending on lighting, but black fur has a lot of variation in it an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o-some fur appears much warmer and browner than others, especially when it catches the light.

So, make sure to closely observe your ownreference phoan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>, and adjust your colour choices accordingly.

The undertones and reflected light in blackfur is also going an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> be heavily dependent on the dog’s environment- so for instanceif the dog is sitting on grass on a bright day, there may also be some subtle green tonesmixed in there.

Fur quality is also something to consider-duller, less glossy fur will reflect less light- so the blue from the sky- or greenfrom the grass- is going to be even more subtle- if perceptible at all.

But of course, I’m not using just bluesto realistically render this dog! If I see that the blues are getting too saturatedor obviously blue on my paper, I’ll lightly layer over them with some brown an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> help warmthings up and neutralise them a touch.

I’ll mainly use warm and dark browns forthis, for example walnut brown and burnt umber from the Polychromos.

And similarly, if an area becomes an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o warmwith browns, I’ll glaze in some blues.

I’ll also use dark browns elsewhere in thefur as an undertone- for example I noticed that the fur between his eyes, on the topof his muzzle and on the ear on the right had lots of warmer and more of a brown colouration.

And a handy tip an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> help see these more subtlecolours is to increase the saturation of your photo in a simple photo edian style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r.

On top of these colours, I also use a wideassortment of greys.

Polychromos has a wonderful selection of warmand cool greys- and I also used the Caran d’Ache Pablos and Luminance which have someinteresting neutral colours an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o.

To create lively looking black fur- even ifit’s not glossy- make sure to include a variety of different neutrals- and not justblack and white and the shades of flat grey in between.

If you’re unsure what specific colours touse, I suggest creating a colour breakdown of the image you’re using.

And, I do this digitally, by opening my referencein a simple photo edian style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r like Microsoft Paint, and then I use the eye-dropper tool to selectareas of colour I’m finding difficult to read.

I then draw this colour at the edge of mydigital canvas- and seeing the colour out of context makes it easier to analyse andcompare to the swatch charts I’ve made of the pencils that I own.

If you’d like to see a step-by-step guidefor this, I’ll leave a link in the description box down below to a blog post I made san style="text-decoration: underline;">howan>ingwhat I do, as well as a bunch of other handy tips to help break down a reference photo.

If you have a physical copy of your referenceimage, you can instead try judging colour by making a viewfinder with a very small openingan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> lay on an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>p of the area of the image you want to analyse.

The next thing to consider is your contrastand values.

These are fundamental in describing the anatomyof the animal, but also the difference between your highlights and shadows will also helpto describe the fur colour.

For example, you may realise that black furis actually a lot paler than you first expected- especially if a lot of the fur is in highlightbecause it’s glossy and brightly lit.

To avoid the dog looking like it has greyfur, the areas cast in shadow must be in strong contrast to the highlights.

In this instance, it may be helpful to playaround with your reference image in a simple photo editor, and adjust the contrast slideran style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> see what sort of impact this has on the animal’s appearance.

I find it useful an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> make and refer an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> an imagewhere I’ve boosted the contrast so it’s a little stronger than I want to aim for,as I find that it's quite natural to play it safe with the contrast when I’m rendering-so my result will always be less dramatic than the reference I used anyway.

Creating a black and white version of yourreference may also be useful for checking your values- especially if you compare itto a black and white photo of your work in progress.

Moving on to my next tip! A reference photo of an animal with blackfur may have areas that are very underexposed- so there may be areas on the image that seeman style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> be pure, flat black.

Whilst I don’t recommend choosing an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> workfrom a reference where there’s a lot of underexposure, some underexposure can be expected,and can be worked around.

In order an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> be able an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> interpret form anddetail in these underexposed areas, I’ll play around with brightness and exposure settingsin a simple photo edian style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>r to create a bonus reference that I’m able to pick out thedetail and form from.

I will still build up the shadow and contrastso that it’s similarly dark to the original reference photo, but having a grasp of theunderlying form will result in a more thoughtful and convincing representation, and any subtledetail that does san style="text-decoration: underline;">howan> through will help to break up the darkness.

And that brings me on to the last an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>pic- buildingup the fur texture and applying the fur detail.

Value is always more important when renderinganimal anatomy, but fur texture can help to reinforce the underlying form.

Here it’s crucial to closely observe yourreference, and pay attention to the direction or angle, and length of the fur strokes youput down.

Taper and curve of each hair is also worthconsidering.

This dog has short and smooth fur, so I makesure that the strokes are uniform and that the fur in each section follows the same direction.

Instead, if I had the hair strokes pointingin lots of different directions, the fur would look rough or wiry.

Suggesting texture is something I work onthroughout the layering process- which is why I’ll pay attention an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> the directionof the strokes that I lay down from the beginning, as this will help contribute to the feelingof the fur in the end result- but the distinct individual hairs are something that I onlyadd in my final layers.

I use liquid solvents an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> blend out betweenevery few layers to begin with, and this creates more smooth and even coverage over the paper,and merges the separate pencil layers an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>gether.

There are lots of different liquid solventsyou can use, but I use the Zest-It Pencil Blend, which I’ve made a video on- so I’llleave a link to that in the description box below and in the cards in the an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>p right asalways.

It also helps to soften any sharp detail thatI put in an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o early.

When rendering fur, I start off consideringthe rough and general form- so the large overall shapes and any tufts of fur, or blocks ofshadow or highlight.

And as I layer, I get more specific with thedetails- and the details an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>wards the end, I don’t blend out and make sure an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> keepcrisp and defined.

This is when using a fixative can really help-which is something that I did on this piece.

I used the Brush & Pencil Touch-Up Texture,which is a liquid with fine particles suspended in it that dries to a matte, textured andtransparent finish.

I can paint this on to my work using a brush-so I only have an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> apply it an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> areas that need it.

The Touch-Up Texture isolates the layers belowfrom any new ones I apply, and the particles add a bit of tooth, allowing the pencils an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>easily grab on an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> the paper to create bright and crisp details.

This medium is also ideal for when you’veburnished the paper surface smooth, by adding lots and lots of layers or applying firm pressure,so that it can no longer accept more pigment.

I’ve also found that using some sort offixative or sealant helps to bring out the colour of the piece- and make the black areasappear darker and richer.

And of course, sealing the dark pigment onan style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>the paper means that the artwork is a little safer to handle so I can be a little lesswary of potential smudging.

And the finishing an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>uches are to add in thewhiskers, and also the individual strands and tufts that stand out around the silhouetteof the animal.

And that’s all I have to say for today! As always, check out the description box formore information and goodies, and if you have any questions be sure an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> ask them down belowin the comment section- that’s where I’ll respond the fastest, and perhaps your questioncan help another viewer out an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o.

So here's the final product- it an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>ok about10 hours to complete this A5 commission and I'm really happy with the outcome and I'mglad an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> say that the client is an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan>o! I hope you found this video useful- if youdid, be sure an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> leave it a like and share it with your arty friends if you think theymight find it helpful too.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d liketo keep up an style="text-decoration: underline;">toan> date with my future arty videos.

Thank you very much for watching, hope youhave a lovely week and I’ll see you in the next video.

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