Today’s submission comes from artist Nina Elisa Lola. She has completed this piece in colored pencil. At the time of this drawing, Nina had only been working with colored pencils for 8 weeks!! This is incredible for such a short amount of time with the medium!!  Your drawing is quite accurate so you’re starting with a solid foundation! One eye is larger than the other, but besides that it is right on! While I don’t normally like photos taken indoors where it’s so dark, this one works because you can see enough of the fur, the colors and there is some interesting backlighting hitting the cat.


Taking a look at some things we can adjust to improve on this one even more. First, let’s look at the direction of the fur. You’ve sort of followed how it is on the reference photo, but yours is much more blocky.


In the sample above you can see that you’re close, but off enough that it makes the fur a bit more stiff than it should be.

The next thing with the fur is that you’ve skipped over the mottled coloring that a torti colored cat would have. Her entire body is shaded as though she is a solid color cat. Even the markings on her face are more solid than they should be. Look at all those lights and darks in the fur. This is especially important when drawing pet portraits. Pay very very close attention to all those details. Brindle dogs and torti cats can be quite a challenge but you can’t skip or rush over those details or the coat pattern won’t be right. Just slow down and really focus on those tiny details.

For the feet, this is another area that was rushed, make sure to get your darks dark enough that you can see separation between the paw/leg/body.



This brings us onto the colors used. Now colors aren’t as big of a deal in most cases as your values, but both are missing here. You can go WAY darker on your darks. Without getting your darks dark enough and lights light enough your work will end up more flat than you want it to. Don’t be afraid of getting that contrast in there! It will make your work look so much more three-dimensional and realistic, which you said was your goal.

In the color swatches above, the first row was taken from your reference photo, the second row was taken from the same area of your work. There are to big things to notice. The reference photo darks are WAY darker. The next is that yours is very yellow/green compared to the more peach/brown tones of the reference. Switching from your yellow pencil to a peach would make a huge difference in making the drawing look more like the same cat.

My last tip is on the shadow under the cat. The shadow is sticking out in a way that draws the viewer off the paper. By cutting some of that shadow down and extending it horizontally instead of more diagonal/vertically this will help keep the viewer on the cat.


You are really doing a great job, I can’t believe you were only two months into colored pencil when you completed this! Keep it up!!