I am on a mission to do more art. Therefore, I have started setting up some smaller drawings. The first one I tackled was a Safe Haven piece of Jasper, an African Serval. I decided that I want to do this particular piece in graphite and carbon pencil (a medium that is in between graphite and charcoal). I loved the lighting in the reference photo I was working from and felt that black and white would be wonderful for this piece. I completed it in about a solid week. Something I am quite happy with 🙂
After the light outline is in, I start off with filling in the eye. Starting with a light hand, I go in with a 3B graphite pencil. This is a soft enough lead to get me the light and middle tones I want right now. I don’t press hard for several reasons, one of which is I want the carbon pencil to be layered on top of that graphite in some areas.
Now that the basic foundation of the eyes and nose is in, I layer in the background with a layer of carbon pencil. I wanted a darker black for this, so I used a 6B charcoal stick to layer in that black. When I go back to the face, it also helps me see where things need to be darker or lighter.
I really zone in on the face here. Starting off with a very light layer of graphite pencil (in this case a HB pencil) I cover the face of Jasper to dim that white down. I am using a blending stump to blend out the pencil. After using the same one for a while, that graphite builds up and is really helpful when you want to layer in a light coat of grey. In this case, I use this a lot when needed. Building up the fur is my favorite part here. I move in with the detail slow and steady.
Time to take the detail down towards the body. The same rules and techniques apply here as before. As tempting as it is to speed through, I take my time. What really helps me is concentrating on the direction of the fur. This is key.
Fur details galore! Well, as much as you can do in a small piece. I decided to do a small piece to really work on that small hair detail work. To finish this piece off, I pulled more of the lighter hairs out with an electric eraser. Before finishing, I went over the whole piece to make sure I liked the final piece.