Drawing Whiskers With Pencil

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Lots of people have a hard time drawing hair, but its not impossible. If you have read my previous posts on the technique that i use, you will find that it can be done, at least make it easier. But other than “how do you draw the hair?”, one of the other most common questions is “How do you draw the whiskers?”  In this tutorial we will discuss step by step on how to go about drawing them.

Before we begin, lets look at what whiskers look like.  Ill be focusing on drawing cat whiskers, but this technique can be used to draw any type of whisker.

Drawing cat whiskers
Drawing cat whiskers

The first thing you will notice is  their thickness, they attach to hair follicle and are full of blood vessels and nerves that the cat used to sense their surrounding.

we’ll be focusing primarily on he muzzle and wont worry about the surrounding area such as the nose and mouth.

 

Materials:

Lets look at the materials that we’ll be using

 

From Left to Right

 

How to draw whiskers with pencil
How to draw whiskers with pencil

Kneaded Eraser

Shammy Towel

Stylus(needle)

Stylus(Pen with no ink)

Carpenters Flat Pencil

2H Pencil

6B Pencil

Color Shaper

 

Step 1:

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

We are going to start by drawing a rough outline with a 6B pencil.   Don’t worry if it doesn’t look like mine, we will be focusing on the technique and not on identical replication.  So in this outline i have one side of the muzzle, quick outline of nose and whiskers.

 

Step 2:

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

 

We will then add the layer guides.  This is where the whiskers will be growing from.  This will also indicate the layers once we start indenting.  So far, so good.  If you refer to the reference image at the beginning you will notice these layers.


Step 4

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

 

Now add hair guides.  We will be using this as a guideline once we start indenting.  Please pay attention to the way they curve.  Hair is never straight, it curls and overlaps, but its never straight.  Remember that when you are indenting.  Also pay attention to the layers, the next layer above overlaps the layer below it and we will be indenting in that manner.  Always indent from the bottom layer and then the above layer.  This gives the final drawing much more depth and realism.  If you are confused, just look at the image above and look at the flow of hair and try to copy that as reference.

Step 5

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

 

Hairs comes in different thickness, some are hair is thin and some is thicker.  We will start off the indenting using the needed.  The needle is primarily used to draw thinner, finer hair. its also great to suggest lots of hair.  If you are confused as to what “indenting” is, please read this so you can have an idea of the technique that im using for this tutorial.  Let’s continue.  Pay attention to the way i have indented the lines.  They are not straight or all parallel to each other, they overlap each other and curve.  This is what is going to give the drawing much more realism.  Above what i have there, i would start indenting the next layer,overlapping the previous layer, following the hair flow guides that we added earlier.  You can also follow the reference image as a guide.  We do this until we get to the top.

 

Step 6

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

If you were to be drawing a full cat, most likely you would have hair under the whiskers and we would indent those first before indenting the whiskers.  There is some planning that must go into using this technique because the the lower layers of hair will always be indented first.  Before you start indenting the whiskers, lets add some thicker hair over the thinner hair that we previously added.  These indentations should be quick and should not completely cover the previous indentations.  Adding these thicker lines make gives the drawing much more depth and makes the illusion of layers much more noticeable.  These lines look great along the edges.  The thicker lines also serve as a way to suggest that hair clump together, which does happen.   This time i have used a thicker stylus, a pen with no ink.  Please make absolutely sure that the pen has absolutely no ink.  The last thing you want is for ink to come out while you indenting.  Remember that the whiskers grow in layers, starting from the bottom.  That’s an important rule when using this technique.  Keep this in mind, because when you indent following the layers, the top whiskers will overlap the bottom ones, giving your drawing a bit more realism.  Again, look at the reference picture to see what im talking about.  Basically that’s it, we have out whiskers, you can add more whiskers, but you got the basic idea.  We will not start adding pencil to bring out the indentations.

 

Step 7

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

This is the fun part, its like magic!! Using a 6B pencil will bring out the indentations along the edge of the  muzzle.  The whole idea behind this technique is to cover the raised area with pencil leaving the white paper from the indentations.  For this part you don’t need to press hard, lightly going over the paper will reveal the hair.  Depending on the fur color, the next part will vary.  If it was a cat with brown or darker hair, we would also reveal the muzzle hair with the 6B pencil, but we will be using a flat HB pencil.  This pencil is perfect for this part because of its flat tip.  The flat tip covers a larger area and it goes over the indentations much easier without getting pencil into them.  Lightly go over the whole muzzle to bring out the indentations and you will begin to see the layers of hair. Using these layers we will slowly begin to darken the layers.  If you think about, the hair above will overlap the lower layer, casting a bit of a shadow where they overlap.  Using the 5H, you can start darkening the area where the layers begin.  Basically what you’re trying to do is bring out individual hairs.

 

Step 8

Drawing Whiskers with Pencil
Drawing Whiskers with Pencil

From this point on its all about the small details, the secret is in the indentations.  Indenting correctly will give you the best results.  By correctly, i mean indentation, following the hair flow, understanding the layers and mixing thick with thin hairs.   As you are adding pencil you will notice the layers and you will know where to darken in order to bring them out.  you can also add highlights by using the kneaded eraser.  By making a fine edge with the eraser you can make individual hairs stand out much more.  By tapping the edge along the indentation, you will remove pencil making it lighter. This method of drawing hair is all about practice and understanding hair.  Please read this tutorial to get a better idea behind the technique.  Please also know that this is a method i use and has worked for me, but its not the only way of drawing whiskers.  If this technique works with your style, then i’ve done my job. If it doesn’t fit your style, then at least you’ve learned something new.




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!!

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