LEARNING TO DRAW A WOLF!
This image of a wolf took me several days to complete! I am not exactly an expert with drawing, but I followed a rather lengthy tutorial by Aaron Blaise and it came out looking pretty good. (I actually had to start over as it looked wrong to me on my first attempt.) Of course, it is not as good as his, but considering I have very few skills here, it was really fun to create something I like! That is why I am passing this on in my blog – if I can do this, you can do this!
Aaron Blaise is one of my very favorite illustrators and I have been following his blog for several years now. He worked for Disney Animation for a long time on many of their great movies (The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, and more). He has several videos on YouTube and many reasonably priced lessons on his website. The Youtube video followed here was called How to Paint Fur-Photoshop-Wolf Portrait. What I really liked about the video is that he breaks the whole process down into several sections (and layers) so it is easy to understand how the image is actually going together. He starts off with teaching how to draw a rough sketch of the wolf, continues on with refining the drawing, adding color, then shadows and highlights, and finally adding the fur textures. I felt like I learned a whole lot and this is just from a YouTube. Below is what the drawing looked like after finishing up the tutorial, and it sort of looks likes his since I followed the steps pretty closely. In this case I would watch for a few minutes, then try to do what he was doing – this is a great way to learn how to do this.
I liked how this image turned out too. There are lots of techniques Aaron shares on how to get the fur looking natural. One thing I did want to say is that you have to decide on a few favorite brushes and stick with them. It took me quite a ways into the video to decide which ones were giving me effects similar to what he created. A couple of his brushes I had, but they did not look right to me – he is using a Cintiq and I am using an older Wacom and it did seem to make a difference on how the strokes looked. I ended up creating a set of ABlaise Painting brushes to use and started by adding in just a soft round brush. He has a “go-to” brush that he always uses, but it seems too organic for me. For the actual drawing, my “go-to” brush is Grut’s I Qwillo brush – got used to it and always use it. Then for the local color and fur, a brush tip of one of Aaron’s brushes was used. Not sure which brush but it is basically a very solid color with Size 35 pixels, Opacity 100%, Opacity Pressure icon on, Flow 83% and Smoothing 10%. It was reduced down in size for the fur and and seemed to work pretty good. To get the ends pointed for the fur, the Pressure for Size was also turned on. It takes a little experimenting and several brushes were created to fit all the strokes he is teaching. He also talks a lot about values and how to light your subject – very interesting and practical since you can watch as he creates the lighting effects – the drawing sort of just pops! The last several minutes he is teaching how to finalize the image to make it look less drawn and more like an image.
One of my Corel Painter textures was added to the top image a couple times, set to Linear Light blend mode where the Fill slider was adjusted, and parts were brushed away in a layer mask to get a more artistic effect. It gave it that cold look that makes me think of wolves. It was so much fun to do this project, but it did take time. I would recommend you trying it if you have an interest in drawing animals and even if you do not – Aaron teaches a lot of little tips and tricks. It was a great way to stay inside when it is so hot and rainy! I am going to try to do a different one soon. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd