Fur Drawing Tutorial

Good morning everyone! So I have been trying to do a video all week so I can make this drawing fur tutorial. However I have needed to order some new equipment so we will have to wait. So I thought in the meantime I would do a photo and written description of my technique.

Lets first get started with some equipment that I use that doesn’t get spoken about. 

Gemma Whelbourn Equipment for drawing fur

Firstly my favourite can not do without is my Carl Angel -5 Sharpener. I cannot express how I love this little piece of hardware. Here are the reasons why I love it!

  1. It scrapes the smallest amount away. So instead of getting rid of all the wood, or lots of lead so you can get a decent point it keeps it. This means that not only are the points long and pointy 😉 but they are also strong and rarely break.

  1. SAVE MONEY!!!!! Because it shaves so little off you save a ridiculous amount of money on pencils. I actually feel bad for my local art shop because I am not buying as often as I used to.
  1. The point that you get is ridiculous. It has allowed me with this bear drawing to draw the hairs on the nose that are less than an mm long.



Showing Sharp pencil perfect for drawing fur

Now it is a little pricey, however you save that money on pencils. One thing that annoys me like crazy though, is that you can not get replacement blades. I am the idiot who keeps putting pastel pencils in it, which I know ruins the sharpener. But I am a slow learner. So that means I need to buy a whole new sharpener.

So what else do I use?

I use a kneadable eraser by faber castell. I imagine any kneadable eraser should be fine. Why do I have this? As I can knead it into different shapes I can make tiny adjustments to my drawing. Erase some lighter hairs or just get rid of the darkness a little bit.

Another eraser I use is a gum eraser. This is for when I need to get rid of a bunch of stuff, or erase really well.

My third eraser is an electronic one. This one is by Derwent. I use this if I need a miracle. It is small so it is very precise. So if I need to add an eye highlight, or oops that’s too dark moment.

The pencils I use are polychromos pencils by faber castell. I love them because I do not find them unnaturally vibrant, they have strong leads, and they have excellent variety of colours.

Fur Drawing Tutorial

Alright lets get into this fur tutorial!!

Firstly I like to work in sections. It gives me a sense of peace when I complete a section and get to move onto the next. So I put a base colour down. This colour is generally not crazy important. Try to pick the general colour that the subject is. This bear is all sandy browns so I chose Burnt Ochre 187. Because its one of my go to’s, and it is light enough to stay as the highlight but dark enough so I have a decent base.


fur tutorial photo 1

The next step of this fur tutorial is that I pick a slightly darker colour. I then mark out where all the shadows are. This bear has very tricky fur. As it is fluffy on the top of his shoulder. Then goes to clumped fur as it goes down. In some spots it’s also wet, and frizzy. And others it is drenched. So it is very helpful in testing your skill.

Try to get it close to the reference photo, so you can learn how fur is effected by its environment, pose, and how different it is all over the body. It is extremely important to get the direction of the fur correct. I cannot stress this enough. If you have trouble either print out an extra copy, or draw arrows on a second layer in photoshop to show you the direction of the fur.


Second photo showing fur drawing example

The next step to drawing fur, is to fill in some colours! Variety really is the spice of life. So here I bring in colours that I can find, and overlay them and put them down on the drawing. Look carefully at the photo, maybe one area has more Raw Umber 180 than another section which is mostly Brown Ochre 182.


The final step for the way I draw fur is the shadows. Here I take darker tones, and fill in the shadows. Starting first with colours like Burnt Umber 280, Van-Dyke-Brown 176 and Walnut Brown 177.  And then adding Dark Sepia 175. I only use Black 199 if the shadow is very very dark. And even then it is a small amount of black, and then one of the first 3 darker browns ontop of that. Black has extreme contrast against brown. Sometimes we want it, and other times we don’t. I want the black to recede as its pushed back as the fur is separated.

Do not worry if you tried your hardest but it still looks wrong. You might find you need to work more sections so that sections fits into place. 

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