Hi guys and welcome
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
As well as drawing in the key features andfur pattern, I’ll also map in some areas of highlight and shadow
Contrast is key when
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
And that brings me on to talk about the materialsI’m using, and some suggestions and recommendations
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
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 them
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
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
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
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
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
Another method is
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
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 pho
Daytime lighting tends
If however, the pho
The blues I’m using though aren’t brightand highly saturated, but instead quite muted- so for instance some go-
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
So, make sure to closely observe your ownreference pho
The undertones and reflected light in blackfur is also going
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
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
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
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
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 edi
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 s
If you have a physical copy of your referenceimage, you can instead try judging colour by making a viewfinder with a very small opening
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 slider
I find it useful
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 seem
Whilst I don’t recommend choosing
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 s
And that brings me on to the last
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
I use liquid solvents
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
It also helps to soften any sharp detail thatI put in
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
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
The Touch-Up Texture isolates the layers belowfrom any new ones I apply, and the particles add a bit of tooth, allowing the pencils
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 on
And the finishing
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
So here's the final product- it
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Thank you very much for watching, hope youhave a lovely week and I’ll see you in the next video.