Coloured pencil drawing tutorial - Molly the cat

It's Sunday afternoon (again! How does it come around so fast?), I'm armed with a cup of tea and ready to share what I've been up to this week.

I've got to admit, that when I started writing this blog, I had no idea how time consuming it would be! I find I have to be really disciplined to get the post written and shared each Sunday. It does force me to find time for art though, as without the deadline of a blog post I think a lot of things I've done would have ended up unfinished. This is one of them: a coloured pencil drawing of our gorgeous, dearly departed family cat Molly.


For those of you who are interested, I thought I'd make this post into a mini tutorial on drawing animals with coloured pencil.

You can draw the outline freehand to start with, but if you want to get the proportions exactly right, using a grid technique to translate the photo into a drawing is the easiest method.

On the computer, overlay your photo with a grid of squares. Measure out and draw the grid onto your blank drawing paper. Working methodically, transfer all the outlines you can see square by square. Think about where the lines intersect the grid, for example in this drawing, the bridge of Molly's nose intersects the horizontal line of the square about two thirds of the way across.


When you've got the outline down on paper, decide on where you're going to start adding colour. In the above photo, I began with the eye. In my case, starting with the eye is risky as it's my favourite bit and once it's done, I'm tempted just to put it to one side and never pick it up again!

I posted a progress photo on my Facebook page though, to try and motivate me to carry on - it worked!

Keep your pencils nice and sharp to make sure that detail is crisp. Begin by lightly shading and building it up, rather than laying down colour heavily to start with which can damage the surface of the paper. Drawing on coloured paper is good because highlights show up beautifully and the dark base gives depth to the finished piece. Pick out the shiny parts of your subject's eyes, and make sure that the dark sections are dark enough to contrast with, and bring out, pale areas.


When you come to adding the fur, look carefully at which direction the hairs are growing in, whether they're long or short and how densely packed they are. Around Molly's eye and her nose for example, the hairs are very short and fuzzy, so require tiny strokes of the pencil.

Build up the hairs, one colour at a time. Again, work methodically out from one place, this will help keep your drawing uniform.

Take your time and make sure you're happy with each area before you move onto the next.

When you've finished, you can add extra highlights with pastel pencils or even acrylic paint as I have done in this drawing to bring out Molly's whiskers.

This is another drawing I've just started. I'll put progress photos up on my Facebook page, so please do pop by if you're interested!


I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

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Clare Willcocks: Coloured pencil drawing tutorial - Molly the cat

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Coloured pencil drawing tutorial - Molly the cat

It's Sunday afternoon (again! How does it come around so fast?), I'm armed with a cup of tea and ready to share what I've been up to this week.

I've got to admit, that when I started writing this blog, I had no idea how time consuming it would be! I find I have to be really disciplined to get the post written and shared each Sunday. It does force me to find time for art though, as without the deadline of a blog post I think a lot of things I've done would have ended up unfinished. This is one of them: a coloured pencil drawing of our gorgeous, dearly departed family cat Molly.


For those of you who are interested, I thought I'd make this post into a mini tutorial on drawing animals with coloured pencil.

You can draw the outline freehand to start with, but if you want to get the proportions exactly right, using a grid technique to translate the photo into a drawing is the easiest method.

On the computer, overlay your photo with a grid of squares. Measure out and draw the grid onto your blank drawing paper. Working methodically, transfer all the outlines you can see square by square. Think about where the lines intersect the grid, for example in this drawing, the bridge of Molly's nose intersects the horizontal line of the square about two thirds of the way across.


When you've got the outline down on paper, decide on where you're going to start adding colour. In the above photo, I began with the eye. In my case, starting with the eye is risky as it's my favourite bit and once it's done, I'm tempted just to put it to one side and never pick it up again!

I posted a progress photo on my Facebook page though, to try and motivate me to carry on - it worked!

Keep your pencils nice and sharp to make sure that detail is crisp. Begin by lightly shading and building it up, rather than laying down colour heavily to start with which can damage the surface of the paper. Drawing on coloured paper is good because highlights show up beautifully and the dark base gives depth to the finished piece. Pick out the shiny parts of your subject's eyes, and make sure that the dark sections are dark enough to contrast with, and bring out, pale areas.


When you come to adding the fur, look carefully at which direction the hairs are growing in, whether they're long or short and how densely packed they are. Around Molly's eye and her nose for example, the hairs are very short and fuzzy, so require tiny strokes of the pencil.

Build up the hairs, one colour at a time. Again, work methodically out from one place, this will help keep your drawing uniform.

Take your time and make sure you're happy with each area before you move onto the next.

When you've finished, you can add extra highlights with pastel pencils or even acrylic paint as I have done in this drawing to bring out Molly's whiskers.

This is another drawing I've just started. I'll put progress photos up on my Facebook page, so please do pop by if you're interested!


I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

Labels: , , , , , ,

28 Comments:

At 17 August 2014 at 11:46 , Blogger Vicky Myers said...

Thanks for sharing - your drawings are inspiring (I will never forget my art school teacher advising me I cannot raw except with collaged paper - and he was right!). I too find posting a blog every Sunday is a great motivator for finishing work:)

 
At 17 August 2014 at 12:12 , Blogger Liz said...

Clare, you have done a magical drawing of Molly, really beautiful x

 
At 17 August 2014 at 12:21 , Blogger Andrea Kay said...

Your picture is absolutely stunning.

 
At 17 August 2014 at 12:31 , Blogger Blue Forest Jewellery said...

Wow, it's amazing to see a work in progress and the finished art - which is fabulous - like that. I've never been able to draw but have the greatest admiration for those of you who can. What an amazing memento of Molly.
fHave a great crafty week,
Alison x

 
At 17 August 2014 at 13:24 , Blogger Fiddly Fingers said...

This brings back lovely memories of Molly Clare. Beautiful work :)

 
At 17 August 2014 at 13:26 , Blogger Carol Porter said...

First of all this hardly looks like a pencil drawing, its more like a photo its sooooo good!! And the way you drew the reflection in her eye is amazing!. Sorry that she is no longer here, but it certainly looks like you've captured her spirit.

 
At 17 August 2014 at 13:42 , Anonymous Patchwork Fairy said...

The drawing is truly beauftiful, they is amazing.

 
At 17 August 2014 at 14:41 , Blogger Ginx Craft said...

Your cat drawing is amazing. I thought it was a photograph at first. I love the tap too.

 
At 17 August 2014 at 23:25 , Blogger Lucy Blossom said...

It's a beautiful drawing of a beautiful cat. Thanks for sharing the tutorial - I can't draw for toffee.

 
At 18 August 2014 at 01:22 , Anonymous Christmas Pie Crafts said...

Absolutley beautiful work - I can 'feel' Molly's fur. Hope you have a good week.

 
At 18 August 2014 at 01:24 , Blogger Julia Nyanyo said...

I always enjoy following what you are up to on fb all week, then popping by on a sunday to see a bit more. I love that you think with a tutorial that we might be able to draw like you (you know that's not going to happen really don't - you have a special talent! and I know that techniques can be learnt, lots of practice etc etc but seriously, you have a special talent!)

 
At 18 August 2014 at 05:09 , Blogger say it said...

Wow, your drawing is so realistic. Really wish I could draw, but it always looks like a child has done it!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 07:42 , OpenID inkycollective said...

Such beautiful drawings, and really handy tips too. Thank you!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 10:53 , Blogger the cape on the corner said...

THIS.IS.AMAZING! do mine, do mine. :)
b

 
At 18 August 2014 at 11:25 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thank you Vicky, I'm glad you feel the same way about finishing work for your blog, it's certainly a good incentive. I think that's a bit mean of your art teacher, you should give it another go!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 11:28 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thanks Liz!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 11:29 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thank you Andrea! Just off to have a browse of your blog now, your profile picture intrigued me!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 13:47 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 18 August 2014 at 13:48 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Hehe, do you mean draw your cat? I could have a go if you wanted!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 13:50 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thank you! And thank you again for sharing on Twitter, I really appreciate it!

 
At 18 August 2014 at 13:51 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

I think everyone can draw! It just takes time and patience, you should give it another go :)

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:10 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thanks Alison!

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:11 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thanks Carol! The reflection is made a little shinier with acrylic paint as I couldn't get the white pencil as bold as I wanted!

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:13 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thank you!

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:13 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thank you! That's what I'm aiming for so it makes me very happy you thought that!

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:14 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thanks Lucy! I reckon there's a hidden drawer (is that a word?) in everyone!

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:14 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thank you!

 
At 23 August 2014 at 14:15 , Blogger Clare Willcocks said...

Thanks Julia! I'm glad you enjoy following what I'm up to! I really do believe that everyone can draw with a bit of time and patience :)

 

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