If you’ve ever tried to draw fur only to have it come out looking flat, lifeless and not realistic, then today is your lucky day. Drawing fur can seem like an impossible task for beginner artists– but don’t worry! In this tutorial I’m going to take you through the process step by step, and you’ll be on your way to drawing realistic fur in no time. Let’s get going.
The first step when drawing fur is to decide the general shape and direction of the fur. For this example I’m going to be drawing a simple tuft of fur with each of the hairs pointing upward as you can see by the arrows.
Now that you have the basic shape of your fur mapped out, we need to define where our light source is. The light in my example is coming from the upper left corner, which means that I’ll be adding some dark tones to the bottom right side of the fur.
Shading is the most important part of the fur-drawing process. The trick to drawing fur is that you aren’t really drawing individual hairs at all. In reality, you’re drawing the shadows and dark tones that surround the hairs. Highlights in the fur are created by leaving areas blank and empty of dark values. This technique is called negative drawing, and it is the key to creating realistitc hair and fur.
At this point we will need to add a little texture to the highlighted areas of the fur. Keep in mind that the highlights should be free of very dark values, so make sure to draw with a light hand and build up lines gradually.
At this point you should really be starting to see some more realistic looking fur. Continue to build deeper tones where you want shadows, and leave the highlighted areas mostly free from deep values. Try to really use your wrist/elbow when drawing fur to keep your lines smooth an flowing.
The final step to draw fur is to polish some of the finer details by darkening the shadows even further, and using an eraser to gently pull up some of the graphite off of your paper to create more realistic highlights. You can also use your eraser to gently remove some graphite from the shaded edge of the fur to create some reflected light for a more realistic look.
For those of you who want to see this process in action, I’ve included a video from AndrewFisherArt where he walks us through drawing cat fur. Enjoy!