I have always been a nature lover and now it is a big part of my artwork. Nature not only inspires me to pick the pencil to start new projects but i i love the challenge to bring each animal to life. I love being able to capture textures and bringing them out with the simple pencil.
This tiger tutorial will be the first of a series that will conclude in a tutorial on how to draw the whole tiger. Animals are very expressive and the tiger is no exception. Being able to draw the eyes of the animal will bring the animal to life on paper. But the eyes are just one feature of a whole animal. Just as important as the eyes is being able to draw the hair which compliments the other features. The tiger has always been one of my favorite animals and drawing them is always great. They are not only beautiful animals but they look incredible as a pencil drawing.
The challenge for most people when drawing animals is giving a realistic look to the animal hair. Like i have mentioned before on other tutorials, the most important step before actually drawing hair is to understand it. If you understand how hair behaves on the animal that you are drawing, you will see how easy it will be to draw it using the techniques. You can read these tutorials on the techniques that i use to draw hair, drawing hair part one and drawing hair part two. These are an introduction to understanding the techniques that i use. In this tutorial we will be using these pencil drawing techniques to draw some tiger hair. I’ve been asked many times how i drew the hair on the chin on some of my tiger drawings. Well, this area is full of long and short hair and getting right can be tricky . But with the techniques that i use it can make things a bit easier. I do recommend that you first study how that area looks. Observe how hair overlaps, what direction hair flows, is the hair coarse or fine. In reality, i don’t draw hair, i give the illusion of hair. This technique is perfect for fooling the eye into thinking that it is looking at hair. It can be a tedious process but its not difficult once you get the hang of it. Understand the hair and you will know how to use the technique. Ok, lets take a look at that area.
From the image above you can see that the hair fans out from the center. But, you will also notice that the hair is not straight, it has a slight curve to it. Hair also clumps up and these clumps overlap each other. This overlapping causes shadows, so that means that the hair in shadow will be darker. If you want to give the effect of light reflecting off hair, all you have to do is leave that area white. Notice that the hair come together at the ends and it makes pointy clumps. The technique that will be used will outline the hair, but it will up to you to develop the clumps of hair. This is where understanding hair comes in. If you understand it, you will know where to add shadows to make these clumps in order to give the drawing much more realism.
Let start with the drawing. This might be a long tutorial but i want you to understand the process and understand the purpose of each step taken. Well here we go.
Well this is the drawing that we will be making today. The goal of this pencil drawing tutorial will be for you to understand how the the combination of different techniques and your understanding of hair can give a realistic look to hair. These techniques can be used on other areas and animals where you need to draw hair.
- 2b Mechanical Pencil
- 2h Wood Cased Pencil
- 4b Progresso Pencil
- Kneaded Eraser
- Stick Eraser
- Color Blender
- Bristol Vellum Paper
- Chamois Towel
Take your 2b pencil and lightly draw the outline above. Don’t worry if your drawing does not look like finished image above. What you should focus on this tutorial is to understand the pencil drawing techniques. Try not to make the outline too dark, just dark enough for you to see it. This will be a rough outline that you will follow to outline the hair with the stylus.
With your stylus you will indent some hair around the edge of the mouth. These indentations will represent the beginning growth of hair from the bottom of lip. The image on the left shows the area up close. This technique will be done with the area above the lip as well. When indenting with the stylus, make sure not to press to hard and make sure that the strokes are random. Random indentations will make give it a much more realistic look. If you have both types of stylus, the needle and the pen with no ink, i recommend that you interchange between them. The needle will give you finer lines than the empty pen. After you have indented the lines you will run your 4b progresso pencil over the edge of the mouth and you should see that the indented lines are now visible. Then you fill in the rest of the mouth using your 4b pencil. Don’t press too hard with the pencil. One trick to get nice darks is to add pencil and blend with the color blender and keep repeating the same process until you are satisfied with it. If you don’t have a color blender you can use a shading stump.
You will now indent the hair that runs from the side of the face down over the edge of the mouth. Using your 4b progresso pencil you outline the mouth and filling it in with pencil. Indent the whiskers that were drawn in the outline. Once you have indented then you can erase the pencil lines leaving just the indentation. Here we will add the hairs on the edge of the beard. Use your stylus to indent the tips of the hair. Look at the reference image above to see the direction that the hair flows. You will notice that the hair fans out from the center out. Make sure they are not straight and crisscross them. Indent the lines up to where the hair will end. Make a couple of lines longer than the rest and these will represent whisker like hairs that stretch out. Once you indented around the whole beard, use the chamois to outline the indentations. You can add graphite to the chamois by putting down some pencil with your 4b progresso on a separate sheet of paper and rubbing with the chamois. You should now have something similar to the image above. Just rub the around the edge of the beard not the inside, this will outline the hairs at the end. It will serve as a guide to the remaining hair that will be indented later. The image on the left is a closeup of the bottoms section of finished drawing so you can see what we are working up to. As you can see this is a useful and simple way to start drawing something that most people have trouble with. If you want you can practice this technique on a separate sheet of paper before going on with the rest.
Now that we have outlined the edge of the beard we will start to indent the hair on the remaining area. The trick here is to make the lines random. Make sure you don’t make the lines too long. If you indent the lines from the top all the way down, it will give the illusion of having long hair. If you look at the reference photo you can see that the hair overlaps and that its in layers. To get this layer effect i suggest you indent from the bottom up. Indent a layer starting from the left and moving down across to the right. The next layer would be a bit above the previous one and will overlap the lower layer. This way you can make sure that the indentations are layered. Another thing you must remember is not to indent the lines straight. On the left image you can see that the indentations are not straight, they have a slight curve to them. When indenting keep in mind also that hair clumps up and the hairs that make up this clump flow in the same direction. So there may be a couple of indentations that you could make in one direction and the next on another. The top area will have shorter hair than then bottom. To get the effect of shorter hair you will just make the indentations shorter. The results will be much better if the lines are random. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out the first time. You can practice on a different sheet of paper. Once you have indented the whole area you will run the chamois over the area. You should be able to see the indented lines. You can use this also as a preview of how lines are turning out. The image on the left shows what you might see. If you see this it means that you made a couple of indentations that were parallel. The beauty of pencil is that you can erase. Erase this area and make some more indentations that overlap. The image on the right is the same image as before except that i erased what i had and indented a couple of lines to overlap the existing ones. This overlapping gives the effect a more realistic look.
Taking your 4b progresso pencil you will begin to darken some areas. As you run your pencil, the indentations will be much more significant. Now this is where understanding how hair flows, overlapping and shadows comes into play. Once you have a a good understanding of this, you will know where to add these details. I can teach you the techniques but it will be up to you have an understanding of what you are drawing. In this step im looking for the clumps of hair that i will make up the whole drawing. With time you will know automatically where to add these darks. The spots that are under the mouth are similar to the spots that leopards and jaguars have. User your 4b pencil to add these spots. After making these spots you will notice that there will be some indentations that are white over these spots. You can use your color blender to blend them into the spots. If you don’t have any pictures of tigers, you can always use a close up of a cat. You’d be using the reference photo just for the hair so it really doesn’t matter that its a cat.
Using your 2h pencil we will start to out line some clumps of hair that will give the drawing much more depth. The indentations makes it much easier to see these clumps once you know what you are looking for. As you’re running your pencil over the lines they will reveal themselves and by looking at those you will know where to shade next to reveal those clumps.
On this step we will continue to reveal more hair clumps. You can begin to see what results you can get from layering. Just keep darkening around these clumps of hair using your 2h pencil. The color blender will be used to blend the pencil once you have the shadows. The shadows will be cast over hair below. To get this effect we will use the color blender to blend these shadows into the indentations below. This will be the illusion of layered hair.
Taking your 2b mechanical pencil you will lightly add more layers to the drawing. By drawing a “W” shaped outline over existing hair allows you to do this. Once you have outlined them, you can outline the bottom with your 2b mechanical pencil. When you are doing this remember how the hair flows. It does not flow straight down but fans from the center out. Using your color blender you will blend down, which will give the effect of shadow being cast on hair below. The red lines above show how you could add them. Just make sure not to add too many layers, just enough to give a nice effect of depth. Adding too much will result in loosing some of the realism. Keep in mind that you can add whatever you want, test it out and you’ll know what looks right. Experimenting makes it fun and you’ll be surprised what you can learn from this. In this step we also filled in with 4b the area under the left and right side of the face. This will reveal the whiskers. Taking your kneaded eraser tap across the dark area on the mouth. This will be the dark lips on the tiger. It should have a banana shape, where the center is much wider than the ends.
Well this has been a long journey and we’re almost there :D. On this step we will continue emphasize the shadows by darkening them lightly with 4b pencil and blending. You can now see how layering has brought dimension to the whole drawing. On the previous step we added “W” shaped outlines. Well on this step you can add those same outlines but just smaller and scatter them around. Now you can use your color blender to start blending those shadows. The shadows would blend down, so the best way to do this is to pull down the graphite over the area below using the color blender. To add highlights to the clumps of hair you will use the kneaded eraser. Squeeze the eraser between your index finger and thumb. This will make fine edge and you will just tap along where you want to have the highlights. Adding highlights that overlap on an angle across some areas will give the effect of overlapping hair. As you add these highlights you can add light shadows under them with your 2h pencil. Its just about experimenting from this point on and adding little details. You have the basic texture and look of hair done. Now you can add either more shadows and highlights. To add another nice effect you can use a stick erasers and cut the tip of it. This will make the tip flat. Now with the edge of it you run it from the top down following the fan pattern. This will make nice highlights which will represent long hair that overlap the hair that we’ve already made. On the edge you can use this effect to add more finer air. As you can see these little details makes a big difference on the overall drawing. I added more dark spots to give the drawing much more impact and you can do the same or leave the ones you already have. Look at different pictures of tigers to get an idea where you can add more and what changes you can make. You can also darken the shadows to have more contrast between light and shadows. Experiment with the techniques to get different results. The background was drawn by rubbing with the chamois towel, it will give a smooth look.
This was a long tutorial but hopefully it was helpful in understanding how to go about adding texture and realism to hair. Getting the right results will depend on how much you practice. Your first drawings will not be your best and i can tell you that the more you draw the more improvement you will see in your pencil drawings. Practice, practice, practice. This will be the first tutorial with a tiger. Next time i will write a tutorial on how to go about drawing the main features on a tigers face. After these tutorials we will work on a full drawing of a tiger using what we’ve learned from these lessons. If you have any questions or you need something for me to explain please contact me or leave a comment. If you want you can now try Drawing Realistic Tigers with Pencil-Nose tutorial.
I hope this tutorial was helpful in improving your artwork. If it was, be sure to show support by sharing it with social media below. It would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for the amazing response!!