The Role Of Color In Depicting Fur
I’ve already made a post about how I need to use a lot of colors to create depth and today I’m going to revisit that concept.
As I’ve been working on my current piece, which is a colored pencil portrait of my neighbor’s dog, during the live streams I’ve been doing for it, I find myself repeating that I need to use at least four or five different pencils in any given area before it starts to look like fur.
The pencils I’ve been using are raw umber, burnt sienna, burnt umber, and at least two shades of gray. I make small marks with all of these pencils close to another so that, from a distance, it looks like a mass of fur.
If I used only burnt sienna, or only gray, for example, even if I made all the lines the exact right length and put them in the exact right place, it still wouldn’t look like fur. It would just look like a bunch of lines.
The truth is I’m not putting all the lines in the exact right place, nor am I making them all the exact right length, but because I’m using multiple colors of pencils, I coming out with something that looks like fur.
I can look at my reference photo and look here and see that I’m still not done. I need more dark gray right in here for one thing.
You don’t necessarily have to use the exact same colors that are in your reference photo. You just need to use multiple colors if you want your work to be even close to realistic. Even if you’re working in black and white, you need to use multiple shades.
I wanted to make this post mainly about the use of color , but I’m gonna mention one more thing about fur. You don’t have to have all your strokes in the exact right place. You don’t have to have all your fur strokes the exact right length. But you do have to have them going in the right general direction. That is what will give you the texture you want. Also, the way the fur lies indicates the underlying muscle structure, so if you have your fur going the wrong way, you could end up drawing what looks like a deformed animal.
That's all for now. I'll see you again soon.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife