Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Colored Pencil Bear: Drawing from Book Images.

(Here is the sketch I will use to teach today, as well as the colored pencils that were used).

Hello, and welcome back to another lesson in art.

A good exercise in art is to draw different animals.
There is so much variety in animals, and it is always a fun undertaking.
Of course, animals are not ones to sit still and pose, and it isn't always easy to wrangle up a polar bear for a session from which to paint.
This is where books and magazines come in handy.

My son received this Animal Encycolpedia as a Christmas gift from his grandmother.
I immediately knew that I would be borrowing it from him.
It is the nicest book I have ever seen of animals, such a huge variety and they are all real pictures, not drawn ones.
(Of course, I do appreciate drawn pictures, I just like to draw from real ones.)

I picked up this book the other week and decided to sketch a bear.

I started with the lightest color I could distinguish in the bear's fur, and sketched the outline of his head.
It isn't necessary to erase all the lines since the color will blend in with the colors that are added.

Next I measured with my pencil where the eyes were on the head
and lightly drew in some lines to place them.

From there, I lightly marked in the bears features:
nose, mouth, ears.

I darkened some of those features that I felt confident were in the right places...

 and then added in some colors for shading around the eyes, his mouth, and the edge of his head.

At this point, I sat back and looked at the original bear picture, and my own,
and really critiqued how things were going and what needed to be fixed.
(I try to do this along the way, of course, but at this point, I could sees something was off).

 Can you see what it was?

Look at the bear's head from his eyes to the top of his head.
My bear's head is not tall enough over his eyes and between his ears.

Thankfully, this can be fixed by extending the head and ears with the original lightest color,
and then working to blend them in.

Next I went a bit heavier with the reddish brown,

and then darkened around the eyes, nose, and in the fur with a brown/black.

As the shading continued, I found it helpful to edge in the dark fur at the top of his head.

 Legs were darkened it.  This helps me see where the boundaries of his head are.

When I had my bear to the point where I felt finished, I went back with some of the lighter colors
and blended the fur in at certain places, to get rid of any underlying white.

He was a fun sketch to work on.

 Do you have any books with real animal pictures in them?
If you do, try sketching one soon.  Take your time, be patient, and draw what you see.
There were several times in this sketch that things looked terribly wrong to me and I wanted to quit,
but patience was worth it for me this time.
No, my bear isn't perfect, but I like the way he turned out, and he was good practice.

Remember, practice makes perfect.

 Until next time, thanks for stopping in!


  1. My boys loved this! Amazing! Thank you for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  2. Great tutorial! You've inspired me to do some drawing. :)

  3. Oh, my gosh... I couldn't stop on your last post! So I ended up here. So impressed with your talent and for sharing the steps with us. Drawing and painting are not my strengths. That is why I so admire it in others! Do drop by my blog for a visit... I would so love to have you over!

  4. Great tutorial, thanks so much. You are definitely one talented artist. Thanks for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.