This tutorial explains the processes involved in drawing a realistic looking animal with graphite. The subject of this tutorial is one of the more difficult animals to draw; the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.
I used a reference photo taken by Glen Taylor of the Natural History Society of SA as a reference for this drawing.
- Pencils: HB, 2B, 4-6B
- Eraser with a point/corner
- Cotton buds/pads
Drawing the Guidelines
The Wombat has a very easy shape to capture. Start with a round oval to form the body and a smaller, inner oval to form the head. Try to match the shape of the ovals to the shape of the animal as I have done.
You can begin to refine or add more guidelines as I have done so they follow the shape of the animal more closely.
Drawing Additional Guidelines
In this step, I have refined the shape of the head to form a more pronounced snout. I have also erased the now superfluous bottom guideline and begun to draw the shape of the limbs. Now that a general shape has been drawn, the smaller details can be added.
As with most animals, drawing a Wombat will not require a very detailed outline as the majority of the shape will be captured when shading and drawing the fur. The major outlines you will need to draw are the eyes, ears and fingers & claws. I have shown above how the guidelines drawn previously aid in this process. It is also a guide idea to erase the other outlines now and replace them with a jagged fur edge as you do not want to have defined pencil lines to deal with once you have begun shading.
Step Two – Shading
It is important to shade a base coat before you begin drawing defined fur lines. The common mistake people make when drawing fur is do so by only drawing hair. The problem with that technique is that in order to give more volume or to add shadows, more lines are drawn closer together. This results in the animal looking like a sandblasted piece of metal and looks poor.
My technique involves shading a fairly light base coat, except where there are defined shadows, which can then be drawn over when adding the hair. Contrary to what I wrote above, it is sometimes appropriate to not shade a base coat, but only where there are significant highlights in the animal’s coat.
It is also important to smooth the shading out with cotton buds/pads before you drawn the hair otherwise the pencil strokes could clash with the hair. As the hair will be defining the shape of the animal, having pencil strokes coming through the fur coat can distort the image badly.
Step Three – Drawing the Fur
Drawing a thick coat of fur requires a lot of shadows and highlights. This can be very difficult to draw whilst still maintaining the definition of the hair and requires a specific technique.
Firstly, draw hair lines over the shaded area with varying levels of hair density to add more depth to the coat. Make sure that the hairs all flow in the same general direction. It is also a good idea to avoid drawing too many straight hairs as it makes the coat look less natural.
Next, add highlights using the method described in the image below:
If certain hairs are too sharp, you can smooth them out with a cotton bud. Remember that it may take a while before you have a fur coat that looks natural.
Step 4 – Finishing the Drawing
After finishing the fur, shade the smaller details such as the claws and nose. Finally, darken the appropriate areas of the drawing with a 4-6B pencil. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure or else you may scratch the paper. This step is left till last to avoid smudging.