Fammie writes:  I’m a beginner artist working in colored pencils and I started out by drawing faces (in graphite). Now the problem is, I can do very well on drawing human faces and still life but the detail in animal fur scares me. Even if I do try to draw animals, I can’t get the fur texture right. Your tutorials have helped me out a lot thank you so much and please keep making videos!

This is going to be one of those answers that you probably aren’t looking for, but it’s an honest one so we are going to go with that. Any single thing that you don’t do well is the thing you need to just jump in and do. A lot. Draw that thing until you’re amazing at it. There is no secret tip that will do it for you. Can’t draw eyes well? Draw eyes more. Can’t draw fur? Draw fur more. Can’t draw taquitos? Draw taquitos more. No matter what it is you’re struggling with, that is the answer!

What is happening is right now you aren’t noticing the detail of how the fur lays, how it clumps or doesn’t clump depending on the subject. How the shadow falls from within each of those clumps and how the light hits the top. You have to train your eye to notice those things and that happens from actually doing it.

Each time you make the attempt and it doesn’t look good, step back and really think about what specific things don’t look right to you. Don’t just throw it to the side and think “UGG I SUCK AT THIS!” That won’t help you. Look at it. Study it and other artwork of that subject that you want yours to look like. It’s about teaching your eye to see things as they are. To notice the things you normally would never notice.

I do have a few tips to help you draw fur in addition to just practicing.

  • Break it down into one small section. Don’t look at the animal as a whole, focus on one square inch at a time until that square inch is complete, then move to the next square inch.
  • Work upside down. Sometimes the problem is that our brain is insists it knows how fur should look and sort of overrides your reference photo. When you put your drawing upside down it forces your brain to look at the actual shapes in the reference photo instead of looking at fur as a whole.
  • Look at the fur clumps as abstract shapes. Don’t try to see it as fur but as the shape within that small area you’re working on.