New Colored Pencil Piece: The Process of Tiger Eye Part 1

Let’s start with another colored pencil piece! Here we have another Safe Haven resident, although I can’t tell which lovely tiger this is! *I’m sure I’ll find out soon* Anyways….I am using a combination of color pencil brands for this piece. Prismacolor Pencils & Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils. I’m really falling for the Polychromos! They are a harder lead, which mean excellent for the fine detail work & I don’t have to sharpen the pencils are often. Plus, the two brands work well together.

To start, here is the reference photo I am using for this piece. I will be doing this on some the paper, Stonehenge 11×14 white paper, the size of this piece is roughly 10×9. I am using a lot of colors, so I won’t list them off here. But…I will include a photo of them in the next post so you see exactly what I have at hand.

Let’s begin 🙂



I believe this is Gage, it’s hard to tell with such a close up photo. Hopefully the photographer will remember 🙂



Tiger Eye
Keep you lines nice and light when doing outlines. Another alternative to use is transfer paper, that way you don’t have to worry about all of the graphite lines.

 First thing I do is make a nice light graph on my drawing paper and lightly put in my outline. It’s hard to tell but I put in a lot more detail in the outline for this piece. Especially in the whiskers. Later on in the piece, this will become extremely helpful.

Tiger Eye 2
If you notice, I have a light layer of an orange color for the fur around the eye. I did this to better judge the color of the eye. I didn’t want the eye to be a solid green or yellow, by adding in some fur strokes and the black area I can better judge my colors and contrast of the whole eye.

Starting with the eye, I really focus on this area the most first. Since the eye has been considered the ‘way to the sou’, it helps me really feel a deep sense of life in the drawing by starting with the eye first. With this, I go in lightly. Once I get a good portion of the greeens and yellows in, I put in a soft layer of black and darken it over time with the rest of the eye before moving on.  After the first layer of the eye goes in, I blend it out with OMS (Odorless Mineral Spirits), and the next layer in. At times I do more than one layer of OMS, in this case I do that as well but with the black more than anything else.

Tiger Eye 3
I add in the black stripes lightly to make sure I don’t lose my outline of them. Also, always go in the direction of the fur. It’s very important to do so. There are times that you can’t tell which direction the fur goes, this is typically because the fur is very short and switches direction. Have a clear photo to work with to sort this out or look at your pet (if you have one) to see how their fur works.

Once the eye is finished, I spread my wings (so to speak) and add in more the fur colors. I also start the background as well. Just a light layer of blue to balance out the orange better. I am using more than just straight orange in this piece. It’s a combination of oranges, yellows, browns, and greys (specifically Prismacolor 70% French Grey). I go back and forth around the face to build up the colors. I work on the fur under the eye the most at first to really figure out the best way to use the colors I have. I keep my strokes light and in the direction of the fur.

Tiger Eye 5
During this point I tend to want to “rush” through the piece because it’s starting to come into view better. Bad idea! When I get like this, I walk away a lot throughout the piece. Always to go clear you mind and than come back with a stronger approach. If I’m still in “rush mode”, I put the piece away for the day and do something that distracts me completely. This is usually video games, reading, or exercise.

At this point more of the face has been put in. I have light layers in before I go in with the OMS to blend the colors out. I go back and forth to areas to balance out all of the colors. Since there are so many variations of colors and thickness, at this point I am still slowly building up my layers. Working from light to dark, as always. I also have better defined the background at this point. I have it fading to black so the blue isn’t to distracting.

Stay tuned for the finale! Hope to finish up this piece before the beginning of October. I always have a painting I am working on of a male tiger named Ifaw. I will be posting this process as well soon!

If you are interested in Tiger Eye, let me know! 40% of the price goes to Safe Haven. Details to follow in the next post.


2 thoughts on “New Colored Pencil Piece: The Process of Tiger Eye Part 1

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