Apr 10, 2015

Drawing Animals: What to do about Whiskers??!!


The Portrait is finished

Just need to do the whiskers


Alvin: Graphite, 8 x 10
Whiskers seem like an extra to be added on at the end of a drawing but that is not the case. They are an important feature that can bring my animals to life.  It takes careful planning at the beginning to get them right: they are a white space that has to be saved, it can’t be created later.
Alvin: Detail of Whiskers
There are two ways to create the whiskers; one is to use a dull point, like a darning needle.  The whiskers are drawn with the needle at the start, creating a deep groove in the paper. Thus allowing you to work over the lines and no graphite will go into them. 

Whiskers made with darning needle 
I personally don’t use that method very often.  I find that once those grooves are made there is no going back.  Sometimes when I get further into a drawing I want to make changes: add or take away whiskers; or lengthen or shorten them.  These options are not possible if I have made the groove in my paper. I also find that if I am making smaller drawings it is hard to make my grooves thin enough.  My embossed whiskers end up all the same width and too thick for a smaller portrait.

I like to “leave my whites” to create my whiskers.  This again requires pre-planning.  Once the drawing is transferred and the first layer is blocked in, I use a pointed white eraser to shape my whiskers.  This gives me a good sense of how they will look for the finish.  There is often bits of graphite still on them from the blocking in which also gives them a more realistic look.  (not a line of white but gray tones in places)  One note of caution, this method is a lot fiddlier, as you must continually save those whites as you build up the area around them.  

Alvin is my neighbour’s cat, a very friendly guy. He comes over often to hunt around our bird feeder.  So far he hasn't had much luck but he loves to try.  He has been a very obliging model for me so I have got some great shorts.  His thick fluffy hair makes him very fun to draw. 

On another note: Things are busy around here, packing today for the Vendel Festival Show tomorrow.   Saturday, April 11, 11-6pm, Beecher Place, 12160 Beecher St, Crescent Beach.  - Art, Wine, Ocean View & Chocolate - who could want for anything more!!??

Have a great day,

Contact me to create a portrait of your animal.  See more examples of my work on my Commission a Drawing Page. 


Brenda Hill CDM said...

Love your cat drawings!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

I was very excited with how Alvin turned out. He is a smoky gray colour and so quite a challenge to draw with a gray pencil!!